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Thank you! 200+ take part in Annual General Meeting

Ron Reid at Annual General Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the Annual General Meeting. We felt your excitement – we felt your energy – for protecting nature for future generations!

We arrived early. We set up chairs for 100 people. We had heard many of our regular supporters would be away from the Annual General Meeting, so we set up fewer chairs than usual. We thought it would be enough. Then the doors opened at 2:00pm and a steady stream of supporters flowed in. As the room filled, we added more and more chairs. Even supporters assisted in adding more chairs! By the start of the meeting, we had a record 210 people in the room!

It has been an outstanding year for conservation efforts in the region. Jamie Ross opened the meeting by acknowledgement the traditional Chippewa Territory that we occupied during the meeting.

Together in 2017

we were able to protect

864 acres of beautiful wilderness,

thanks to your support!

Doug Christie, the president of the board, wasn’t able to be at the meeting, but had a pre-recorded message to share with supporters both thanking volunteers and donors and asking for support for monthly giving. Jack Booth, our treasurer, went through the financial report, explaining some of the ins and outs of the statement and impressing the importance of volunteers, whose hours of hard work and commitment do not show up in Canadian Dollars. Adam Thomson, representing the Past President’s Council, shared his reasons for making a legacy gift and gave an update on the Heartwood Fund which has now exceeded 2.1 million in funds and pledges thanks to the tireless dedication of our Past Presidents.

The Conservancy’s Executive Director Mark Bisset shared three stories with the crowd: the Volunteers, the Community and of course, the land. He discussed a shift in the way that our 40+ properties are stewarded and monitored in order for us to be able to care for more land more effectively. Mark announced a new easement donated by Peter Dale and Louise Calvert-Dale which brings 134 acres under protection in an important region with waters that flow into Georgian Bay. He also had the happy job of officially naming the 730 acre Black River property that was protected thanks to supporters like Joan & John Rosebush and the amazing community that surrounds us: The Ron Reid Nature Reserve. The name is a fitting tribute to one of our founders who has had a profound impact on conservation in Ontario.

Volunteers contributed an astounding 7500+ hours towards various activities across the region. The Passport to Nature committee was recognized for their efforts to pull together the Conservancy’s most important outreach program. Meagan Coughlin was also recognized at the meeting for her dedication to the water quality and citizen science programs, her dedication to local conservation is clearly reflected in her 541 volunteers hours worked in 2017.

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Photos of the Annual General Meeting:
March 3, 2018 Annual General Meeting


Dave Hawke stepped in as guest speaker to talk about the species of the Black River region and share how the 730 acre property fits into a larger wilderness corridor and provides an important habitat for numerous species including several species at risk. The talk was well received and of interest to members and supporters who helped the Conservancy purchase and protect of this beautiful piece of land.

The meeting was rounded out with art. Janet Grand drew the winner of an artwork painted by local artist Mary Ann Tully. It was a work she generously donated to our Black River campaign to raise funds. And finally Dave Hawke, talked about an exciting initiative for the 25th anniversary – Legacy Landscapes. This special exhibit will be in the Orillia Museum of Art and History starting November 2018 will see artists from the region visit our properties and paint the landscapes. It will be a wonderful showcase of local talent and natural beauty.

Of course there are more and more things that were mentioned, and people who were thanked and it is always difficult to fit a two hour meeting into a short article. But the main idea that we at The Couchiching Conservancy want to pass on to you is thankfulness. We are so thankful to the volunteers, supporters, donors and local community for all of their ongoing support that makes this work possible. Thank you, we are grateful.

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