We appreciate your interest in the work of landowners and other partners, like you, who are creating healthier Ausable Bayfield watershed communities. This newsletter is to let you know about opportunities for stewardship funding and technical support, programs, events, community news, the work of Ausable Bayfield Conservation and its partners, and ways you can help improve water quality, forest conditions, and habitat in your community - .to help protect soil, water, and living things.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority New Logo

Watershed Report Card CoverAusable Bayfield Conservation releases second Watershed Report Card

Second report card for watershed still shows grades ranging from A to F but there is reason for optimism, need for continued good work by community: ABCA

Ausable Bayfield Conservation has released its second Watershed Report Card. The document reports on five years of environmental monitoring to let people know the state of groundwater and surface water quality, wetland cover, and forest conditions in their watershed. This is the second time the local conservation authority has prepared a report card of this kind. It will be at least five years until the next one is published. “The Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card 2013 provides an opportunity to present environmental information to the community to help people, community groups, and agencies to protect and enhance our local water, wetland, and forest resources,” said Mari Veliz, Healthy Watersheds Coordinator with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “The 2013 grades suggest this is a watershed where improvements are needed but the report card also shows that improvement can occur and can be measured.”  
For more information visit:


Peter Darbishire honoured as Conservationist of the Year

Conservationist of the Year Award honours Peter Darbishire’s quarter century of volunteerism

Ausable Bayfield Conservation announced at the watershed’s annual conservation awards on Thursday, March 21 that this year’s Conservationist of the Year is Peter Darbishire. The Exeter-area man was described as a tireless worker for conservation, as a volunteer and landowner, for more than a quarter of a century. Darbishire, of RR 3 Exeter, received a framed, limited-edition conservation print of the Latornell Tree, by Bonna Rouse, one of 310 made for a special edition by Conservation Ontario. Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority will also make a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site. Ausable Bayfield Conservation Board of Directors Chairman Dave Frayne, and Vice Chairman Mike Tam, presented the Conservationist of the Year Award. “Peter Darbishire has donated his time, land, and talent to his watershed community for more than 25 years,” Frayne said, in presenting the award. Peter has planted trees on his land, and donated access to his land for a section of the South Huron Trail. Before there was a trail, and winters saw more sustained periods of snow, he donated access to his land for the use of cross-country skiers. Peter has supported the South Huron Trail wearing many hats. He has contributed to environmental education through his successful and tireless leadership of the Woodland Reflection Shelter construction and fundraising campaign, his service on the Conservation Dinner committee, and as a director of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (where he has served for a quarter of a century – since 1988).
For more information visit:

Conservation Dinner Early Bird Prize Print winner announced

Conservation Dinner committee announces prize winner

Louise Rether-Kopp is winner of limited-edition print Midday Pause by Elisabeth Tonner-Keats as prize for Early Bird Draw:

The Conservation Dinner committee has announced that Louise Rether-Kopp is the winner of the 2013 Early Bird Prize which was drawn on Monday, February 25.  The Exeter woman and long-time patron of the Conservation Dinner wins a limited-edition print by popular artist Elisabeth Tonner-Keats. The work of art is called Midday Pause and the framed print is number 168 of 475. Two members of the organizing committee, Larry Wein of the Exeter Lions Club and community volunteer Janet Clarke, presented the prize at Morrison Dam Conservation Area east of Exeter on Thursday, February 28.
The 24th Annual Conservation Dinner takes place Thursday, April 18, 2013 at South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter. To purchase a ticket, or to donate to this worthwhile cause, phone 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or visit Tickets are $60 each and buyers receive a charitable gift receipt for income tax purposes for $30 of that amount. For more information visit:

Betty and Norman Service enjoyed winning date night prize package

Exeter couple enjoys date nights won at Conservation Dinner last year
 The 24th Annual Conservation Dinner takes place Thursday, April 18, 2013

Betty and Norman Service have been married for more than 50 years and they say they still enjoy spending time together as much as they did when they were newlyweds. The Exeter couple may have been the perfect pair to win the Date Night special raffle package at last year’s Conservation Dinner gala charitable fundraiser. The Services have attended two Conservation Dinners and last year they were pleased when three people at their table won prizes. Betty and Norman, who had purchased special raffle tickets at the dinner, say they were thrilled when they were declared winners of the popular Date Night package, one of eight special raffle packages awarded that night. In fact, the Exeter couple has used almost every single one of the 18 prizes that were part of their winning package. “It just became an adventure for us,” Betty said. Find out more about this wonderful couple and the great prize package they enjoyed - and find out about the upcoming Conservation Dinner and how to get tickets. Visit:

Port Franks Turtle Monitoring Workshop to be held

Port Franks Turtle Monitoring Workshop to be held April 25

People in Port Franks and area are invited to a meeting to find out about the Turtle Monitoring Program for the Port Franks Area. This information evening takes place on Thursday, April 25, 2013
 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Port Franks Community Centre, Optimist Hall, 9997 Port Franks Road. Light refreshments will be provided. Please pre-register by calling Hope at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail by April 24, 2013. The meeting will include information about turtle biology and Ontario’s turtles species and the Port Franks Turtle Monitoring Program. Funding assistance and financial support was provided by the governments of Canada and Ontario.
VIA Rail Canada voucher one of Conservation Dinner coveted live auction packages

Conservation Dinner offers more than just gala auction

Charitable fundraiser offers live auction, silent auction, Super Silent Auction, dinner, fellowship, general raffles, special raffles, door prizes, fellowship – and much more: One of the coveted live auction items up for bidding at this year’s Conservation Dinner is courtesy VIA Rail Canada. The VIA trip has a full retail value of $2,079. The successful bidder will get a promotional ticket voucher certificate for a round-trip journey for two passengers for travel between London and Halifax, in Economy/Sleeper Class. Other coveted auction items this year include jerseys autographed by some of hockey's past and current stars; a Parliamentary Stay-Dine-and-Tour Package courtesy of Ben Lobb, MP for Huron-Bruce; a Scenic Champagne Hot-Air Balloon Ride Package for Four with $100 Keg Steakhouse Gift Card (courtesy Ellison Travel and Tours); original art pieces including the feature original Between Seasons by Madeleine Roske; jewelry; an LP by the late Stompin' Tom Connors, framed with a commemorative stamp; courtesy of Debbie and Craig Hebert and Bob Laye; Olympic clothing and dufflebag, courtesy of Trent and Hilary Stellingwerff; and a Beaver Valley Log Chalet Getaway for a Week for up to eight, courtesy of Gordon Baker; and much more.  The special raffle feature is just one of several highlights of the Conservation Dinner gala experience. The Conservation Dinner evening also includes general raffles, a wine tasting, door prizes, live auction, silent auction, and Super Silent Auction, a notable special guest, original art by an accomplished feature artist, not to mention the meal and great fellowship. The Super Silent Auction is a new feature introduced to the Conservation Dinner two years ago. Unlike a silent auction, where patrons can see the bids, a Super Silent Auction has a few highlighted items of special interest and the bidders’ names and bids remain a mystery until the winner is announced. Patrons are invited to bid as many times as they like to see if they are the winner. Items available for bidding through the Super Silent Auction include: A wine cooler (with some wine); a Driveaway Alert security system; four (4) Blue Jays tickets; a work of art; jewelry; and a Stihl grass trimmer. The Conservation Dinner is organized each year by the Exeter Lions Club, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, and other community members on the dinner committee. The support of businesses, donors, patrons, volunteers, and artists has helped the annual event raise more than $650,000, for local projects, in the event’s history which spans almost two and a half decades. The Conservation Dinner supports accessible trails for environmental health and human health, conservation education and recreation opportunities for young people and the young-at-heart, and commemorative woods that improve forest conditions and remember loved ones, among other important local conservation work that could not happen without this kind of public generosity.
Tickets are $60 each and buyers receive a charitable gift receipt for income tax purposes for $30 of that amount. The volunteer committee welcomes donations of financial support, art, sports and entertainment memorabilia, crafts and furniture, travel packages, jewelry, and other items. This year’s event should be very special indeed with Canadian theatre and television icon Peter Smith, interim artistic director of the Blyth Festival, as the special guest for 2013 and with Goderich artist Madeleine Roske, an acclaimed painter who has five works in the permanent collection of the Huron County Art Bank, creating this year’s feature piece of original art work, called Between Seasons. For more information visit
Popularity of summer nature day camp prompts ABCA to add second week

Public interest in Summer Nature Day Camp prompts Ausable Bayfield Conservation to add second week of nature education
 Nature day camp went from almost cancelled two years ago to more popular than ever thanks to public support

Early public interest in a summer nature day camp has been so great that the week is fully booked and Ausable Bayfield Conservation is adding a second week for children who couldn’t be registered in the first week of camp, the local organization announced. Parents and guardians can now register their sons and daughters, aged 6 to 9, for the second week of Summer Nature Day Camp. The second week of the conservation education program is to take place at Morrison Dam Conservation Area, east of Exeter, on August 12 – 16. (The July 22 – 26 week of day camps is fully booked as registrations came faster than ever this year.) “We continue to be thrilled by the enthusiasm parents and guardians have shown for this nature education experience,” said Denise Iszczuk, Conservation Education Technician.
Two years ago, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) wasn’t sure there were enough registrants to keep the camp going but parents and businesses in the community then stepped forward to keep the program alive and it has been more successful than ever since then. Individual donors and businesses are also showing their support for the nature day camp to keep it going and to keep the fee for campers as low as possible. Local residents are invited to contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation if they are interested in making a donation.
For more information visit:

First summer overnight conservation camp to be held at Sylvan

Ausable Bayfield Conservation hosts first Camp Sylvan Summer Nature Camp

Local conservation agency now offering summer program at Camp Sylvan so parents, guardians can give their sons and daughters overnight nature camping experience they had as school children: Generations of local people have fond memories of school field trips to Camp Sylvan where they slept in pioneer-style chuckwagons and participated in outdoor, active, nature-theme programming. Ausable Bayfield Conservation wants to give the Sylvan Conservation experience to a new generation this summer, even if the students are not visiting Camp Sylvan on a school trip this year. Camp Sylvan Summer Nature Camp is being held for the first time, according to Anne McBride, Conservation Education Assistant with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “We want to provide parents and guardians the chance to give their children the same great memories and experiences they had as children staying at Camp Sylvan,” she said. The camp takes place Sunday, July 14 to Friday, July 19, 2013. Camp Sylvan is located at 32098 Scout Road, between Parkhill and Thedford. Camp Sylvan is a Scouts Canada facility. Ausable Bayfield Conservation has been operating the Sylvan Conservation Program there since 1964. Camp Sylvan is home to Carolinian forest, wetlands, trails, Frontierland, and pioneer-style chuckwagons where campers sleep. Schools sometimes don’t have the resources to take classes to Camp Sylvan every year so the Summer Nature Camp is a great opportunity to make sure young people don’t miss out on this unique, local, overnight camping and educational experience. McBride said the Summer Nature Camp will provide a chance for children to be outdoors, explore, hike, have fun, make friends, and learn about nature. For more information visit:
Copyright © *|2012|* *|Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority ABCA|*, All rights reserved.