This newsletter is to let you know about the conservation work of people in the Ausable Bayfield watershed communities. News includes tree planting, events like family snowshoeing on Family Day WinterFest, an invitation to the March Conservation Awards, news about the gala dinner and auction called the Conservation Dinner, announcement of Ausable Bayfield Conservation's new General Manager, protecting children through the Spring Water Awareness Program (SWAP), and the exciting launch of a new local website where you can combat greenhouse gases. For more information visit

Help combat greenhouse gases

New, local website provides way for you to compensate for personal carbon footprint

Carbon Footprints to Forests Program - New Website with Carbon CalculatorMany people are concerned about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they put into the air through the day-to-day use of their cars or trucks, the fuel and electricity they use to heat and run their house, or flights if they travel on planes. Local citizens now have a way to compensate for that carbon footprint by donating to local tree planting through a new website. The Ausable Bayfield and Maitland Valley conservation authorities are launching a new website at This new and easy way to make a difference is the key action of the Carbon Footprints to Forests program, created with the financial support of the County of Huron. The project partners are holding an online web conference and telephone conference on Thursday, February 20, 2014 starting at 12:45 p.m. They will unveil the new website at that time. The public is invited to a short launch ceremony at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation office at 71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 Exeter. People can also conserve greenhouse gases and stay at home or their office and connect to the announcement event by telephone or computer. The partners who have made the website say the site features an easy-to-use carbon calculator. You can use the calculator to find out how many tonnes of greenhouse gases are produced by your activities. The calculator will also tell you how much it would cost to compensate for the impacts of your vehicle use, home energy use, and air travel. It will also tell you how many trees will be planted locally with the help of your donation. For more information visit these links: and and


You are invited to Conservation Awards

You are invited to Conservation Awards
Each March, Ausable Bayfield Conservation honours community individual or group as Conservationist of the Year at the Annual Conservation Awards

You and a guest are invited to the March celebration or contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. The evening takes place Thursday, March 20, 2014 at Ironwood Golf Club, 70969 Morrison Line, 2 km east of Exeter. This year is a special chance to celebrate your watershed achievements such as:

  • Ten Years of MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail
  • Twenty-Five Years of Conservation Dinners supporting watershed improvements
  • Fifty years of Sylvan Conservation Program at Camp Sylvan - the longest-running outdoor nature education program of its kind.

Please RSVP to Sandra Funk at sfunk(at) by Thursday, March 13, 2014 for meal numbers. For more information visit:

End of February last chance for spring tree orders

Spring tree orders end February 28

Snow is on the ground but spring isn’t far away as Ausable Bayfield Conservation takes spring tree orders:  Landowners can still make spring tree orders with payment until the end of February as part of the spring tree order program. Planting trees can offer many benefits, from preserving soil to reducing heating and cooling costs, to improving yields, to protecting livestock. Ausable Bayfield Conservation purchases the trees from private nurseries to offer for sale to watershed residents. The purchase price includes costs such transportation of trees to the administration centre east of Exeter, cold storage, and handling. Tree and shrub species that can be purchased include White Cedar, White Pine, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, Blue Spruce, Tamarack, Austrian Pine, Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Bur Oak, Black Walnut, Black Cherry, Sycamore, Tulip Tree, Red Osier Dogwood, Staghorn Sumac, Common Elderberry, and Serviceberry. Trees must be ordered in multiples of ten. Twenty is the minimum quantity for large stock. One hundred is the minimum quantity to order seedlings. Trees purchased through this program are for afforestation, windbreaks, erosion control and other stewardship projects, and not for landscaping.  
Landowners pay the full costs of the trees in many cases but there are often cost-share programs to help local people with some or all of the cost of planting projects. Grant programs are available for projects such as windbreaks, watercourse buffers and larger scale reforestation projects that cover between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of the project costs, depending on the type of project and availability of local funding programs. Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff will work on behalf of landowners to access funding programs where applicable. For more information see this link:
Notice of Service Disruptions - Office is closed for Family Day

Office closed Holiday Monday

Ausable Bayfield Conservation's office will close Holiday Monday, February 17, 2014, for Family Day holiday. We wish you all the best on this day of family. Notice of service disruptions like this one are on the Ausable Bayfield Conservation website at Simply click on the 'Service Disruptions' icon.

Special early bird draw prize for 25th Conservation Dinner

Special prize for 25th Dinner
 Conservation Dinner committee offers special Early Bird Draw prize worth $250 this year to mark 25th gala charitable dinner and auction

A gala charity dinner and auction is celebrating 25 successful years supporting local conservation work in the community. A prize worth $250 is being offered this year, to recognize this important anniversary, to the winner of the ‘Early Bird’ draw. Those people who buy their Conservation Dinner tickets early will be the only ones eligible for this draw. Conservation Dinner Chairperson Janet Clarke said the winner of this year’s Early Bird Draw will receive ten $25 gift certificates that can be used at the Hensall District Co-op Gas Bar in Exeter. She said this year’s prize was generously donated by Barb and Bob Laye. The ten gift certificates are each a 25-dollar value to reflect the 25 years the community has been making the dinner a success. The Conservation Dinner has raised more than $870,000 in net proceeds over the past quarter of a century for projects in the community. This charitable event has supported local conservation efforts such as accessible trails, conservation education, commemorative woods, stocking of fish for a family-friendly fishing derby, and other community conservation projects in the watershed. The annual dinner is hosted by the Exeter Lions Club, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, and other volunteers. The success of the dinner is only possible thanks to donors, patrons, and volunteers, according to Clarke. For more information visit or

Spring Water Awareness Program (SWAP) in local schools

Keeping away from fast water

Students learn about dangers of thin ice, high water at this time of year through Spring Water Awareness Program (SWAP): Ausable Bayfield Conservation offers program free to about one dozen schools each year; wintertime is good time to learn as melting snow leads to high water. Canada’s famous albino groundhog, Wiarton Willie, predicts there will be about six more weeks of winter before we can expect the signs of spring such as sunshine, wildflowers, robins, and rain. Winter is a great time to enjoy activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tobogganing, and skating. When the snow starts to melt, however, water levels rise and so does the speed of water moving in local rivers, creeks, and other watercourses. The dangers of high water prompt Ausable Bayfield Conservation to bring spring water awareness to local students. Elementary-grade students in local schools are learning about the dangers of high water and thin ice because of the Spring Water Awareness Program (SWAP). Ausable Bayfield Conservation is providing the safety awareness program free-of-charge for the ninth consecutive year. The SWAP program gets funding support from Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and member municipalities of the Ausable Bayfield watershed. Ausable Bayfield Conservation offers the program on a first-come, first-served basis and conservation education staff often visit about half of the 24 elementary watershed schools each year. The program runs from early February to early March. For more information, or to book the Spring Water Awareness Program, please contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail info(at) For more information visit: and
Friends of the South Huron Trail snowshoeing at WinterFest

Enjoy free family snowshoeing at WinterFest
 Friends of the South Huron Trail volunteers bring back free family snowshoeing to Family Day Holiday Monday WinterFest celebration

The Family Day Holiday Monday is almost here. Thanks to volunteers, this is a great opportunity to try out free family snowshoeing. Visit for schedule of events including Friends of the South Huron Trail free family snowshoeing, Lions Club Family Breakfast, snowshoeing, public skating, Euchreama, Scavenger Hunt, movies, fireworks, and more. For more information visit Family Day WinterFest South Huron or

New General Manager at Ausable Bayfield Conservation

Board of Directors names Brian Horner to replace Tom Prout, the long-serving general manager who has retired from post after 32 years of service to conservation authority: The Chairman of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Board of Directors, Dave Frayne, is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Horner as the conservation authority’s new General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer. Horner received his Chartered Accountant designation in 1992. He spent about 20 years in public accounting before joining ABCA as Financial Services Supervisor on October 6, 2008. He started in his new role as General Manager on January 6, 2014 and he takes over the job from Tom Prout, who has retired after 32 years of service to ABCA.
Prout announced his pending retirement in September of 2013.The ABCA then interviewed people from both inside and outside the organization for consideration for the position. The search and interview process attracted applicants from across Canada. The Human Resources Committee then recommended the hiring of Brian Horner and the board approved the recommendation at the December 19 board meeting. Horner was born and raised in Zurich, Ontario and now lives in Exeter. He attended South Huron District High School and the University of Western Ontario before entering a career in public accounting. He and his wife Suzanne have three sons: Justin, Brock, and Drew. The new general manager has been actively involved in his watershed community. He has been involved with minor baseball and hockey coaching for 15 years. He has been a member of the South Huron Minor Hockey Executive for about 10 years including serving a term as president of the executive. He has also served as a past member of the Exeter United Church Finance Committee and the Conservation Dinner Committee.
Horner combines strong credentials in financial management with knowledge of the area and experience in the work of the conservation authority, said Frayne. For more information visit:
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