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Sign up now for Professional Activity Day nature day camps this autumn.Nature Day Camp on PA Days this Autumn


Ausable Bayfield Conservation has provided popular summer nature day camps – conservation authority hopes to offer day camps during Professional Activity Days on three Fridays this fall

You have heard of summer camp. How about autumn camp? How about day camp in December?

Ausable Bayfield Conservation plans to host “rain, snow, or shine” nature day camps on three Professional Activity Day (PA Day) Fridays this autumn: on September 28; November 2; and December 7.

The camps take place at Morrison Dam Conservation Area, east of Exeter, and are for young people ages 6-10 and the cost is $35 per day.

The day camps run from 9 a.m. in the morning to 4 p.m. in the afternoon with ‘before and after’ care available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To find out more, or to register, visit or call Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. You may also email Nina Sampson at

Campers will explore and discover the natural world through active outdoor play, and learn more about the wonders of autumn in September; all about birds in November (to complement the November 3 Owl Prowl); and winter adaptations in December.

This program is ideal for young people who love being outdoors and who enjoy hiking and exploring, according to the conservation educators.

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until camp is full and can be dropped off to Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s Administrative Office, at 71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 Exeter, or you can register online.

Space is limited so conservation educators encourage you to register today. Programs are run indoors in the case of severe inclement weather such as heavy rain, thunderstorms, snowstorms, or high winds.

To learn more visit the Nature Day Camps page:

Act now to order trees through fall tree planting program.Act now for fall tree orders


Tree orders through fall tree order program can add to tens of thousands of trees already planted in 2018


Fall tree order form is available online; Orders accepted in September; Autumn is good time to plant trees when crops are off, weather cools

Autumn is here and there are only a few days left to order trees through Ausable Bayfield Conservation's 2018 fall tree order program.

Tree orders accompanied by payment in full are accepted until September 28, 2018. 

To order trees, visit the tree order page at this link: Or, call Ian or Nathan at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

To find our more click this link: Tree planting crews, working with local landowners and other partners, planted more than 56,000 trees this past spring, achieving Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s highest spring total in ten years.

Local landowners will be helping to build on that success by planting even more trees this autumn.  

The fall tree order program is now underway for those interested in taking advantage of another good tree planting window, according to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).

Autumn is also a good time to order trees and think ahead to the spring season, according to Ian Jean, ABCA Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist. 

Autumn is a good time to plant ball and burlap evergreens and potted deciduous trees, Ian said. If you are planting trees next spring, site preparation is best done in September and October.

Grants may cover up to 100 per cent of the cost of reforestation projects. Cost-share funding may be available for establishing field windbreaks, treed buffers, and other tree planting projects.

Staff members can help agricultural producers and other rural landowners with project design and grant applications. Staff members can also help you with many aspects of land stewardship, including planting plans, site preparation, forest management plans, and erosion control advice.

Ball-and-burlap species available through the fall tree order program include White Cedar; Norway Spruce; Blue Spruce; White Spruce; and White Pine. Potted trees available include Silver Maple; Sugar Maple; Red Oak; Bur Oak; Tulip Tree; and Sycamore.

“Two-foot balled and burlap Spruce and Cedar are ideal to create shelterbelts and windbreaks on fields and farms,” according to Ian.

To download the tree order form visit the website at this link:

Easter Screech Owl file photo by Paul ArmstrongYou can learn about amazing local nocturnal animals at annual Owl Prowl near Exeter on Saturday, Nov. 3


Hundreds of people to call for owls, learn about nighttime creatures; Conservation Halton to bring live owls; Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation is sponsor 

Owls are amazing nocturnal animals. The Owl Prowl is a local chance to learn about these special nighttime creatures and even meet them.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation hosts the annual Owl Prowl event at Morrison Dam Conservation Area, east of Exeter, on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Those who attend can meet live owls from Conservation Halton’s Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

There are two sessions.

The first session is recommended for families and starts at 6 p.m.

The second session starts at 7:30 p.m.

Each 90-minute session begins with a short talk from Ausable Bayfield Conservation educators on owls. After the talk, attendees are sorted into two groups.

One group stays in the workshop to meet live owls and ask questions about them, or dissect a pellet, or have their picture taken with Otis the Owl (human-sized costumed owl).

The second group ventures on a night hike, with trained Ausable Bayfield Conservation educators to call in and look for owls that live in the conservation area near Exeter. During this hike, past participants have seen and heard Eastern Screech Owls but it’s not guaranteed to see or hear them any given year.

The annual Owl Prowl takes place two kilometres east of Exeter, just south of Highway 83, at 71108 Morrison Line. The event happens at the conservation area’s workshop behind the main public office of the administration centre building.

This event lets people get outside in the evening, go for a walk with friends and family, and put senses to the test by listening and looking for owls. 

Admission is by donation.

Net proceeds from the event will go to Jones Bridge – a project to make the community safer and more active by building a new pedestrian bridge on the South Huron Trail so people don’t have to walk by the roadway beside vehicle traffic to enjoy both trail sections.

Space for seating is limited. Organizers ask attendees to dress for the weather and to leave pets at home. Also, the event hosts ask you to please ‘Lug-a-Mug’ to enjoy a hot chocolate.

Hundreds of people have learned about owls and their amazing nocturnal adaptations over the years through engaging multimedia presentations at this yearly moonlit guided hike to call for owls.

To learn more, contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or email

“This is a great chance for people of all ages to learn about owls,” said Denise Iszczuk, Conservation Educator with Ausable Bayfield  Conservation. “This is a rare chance for people to get outside, get active in the evening and learn about amazing local nocturnal animals and how they adapt to life in the night.”

The photo above is by Paul Armstrong.

Special thanks go to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation for sponsoring the event, she said.

A flyer about the event is posted online at at this link: To learn more visit the Owl Prowl page at this link:

Office closed October 8

Office closed on Thanksgiving Monday, October 8, 2018

The public office of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), at the Administration Centre at 71108 Morrison Line, 2 km east of Exeter, is closed on Monday, October 8, 2018 for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Notices of service disruptions, such as this one, are posted online at at this link:

Source protection committee meets on September 26

The Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley (ABMV) Drinking Water Source Protection Committee (SPC) has its next meeting on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

The meeting takes place at the White Carnation Hall in Holmesville (79867 Parr Line) starting at 9:30 a.m. (The meeting is scheduled to run until 2 p.m.)

To find out about this work to protect municipal sources of drinking water please visit the local source protection website at this link:

Help protect Ontario's endangered freshwater turtlesHundreds attend third turtle hatchling release event at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA) east of Exeter

Huron Stewardship Council released turtle hatchlings back into wild; popularity of turtle release education event grows each year 

A fun learning event for the public, to observe the release of turtle hatchlings back into the wild, keeps growing. There were 925 people who attended the third year of the turtle release event, held on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA) east of Exeter. The turtle event attracted 250 people in its first year in 2016 and 550 people the next year in 2017.

Huron Stewardship Council (HSC) supervised the release of the native Snapping Turtle hatchlings. Hundreds and hundreds of people were there to watch, learn, and take photos of, and with, the turtles. “We are overjoyed with the level of interest and support of turtle conservation today,” said Rachel White, HSC Coordinator. “People from near and far joined us to learn about these special creatures and to raise funds for the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.”

She thanked all the volunteers “who made this event a huge success.” She also thanked Huron Stewardship Council’s co-hosts at Ausable Bayfield Conservation and HSC’s other partners in the event including Pinery Provincial Park; Huron County Library – Exeter Branch; and Scales Nature Park.

The turtle release event raised $1,200 to be donated to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), home of Ontario’s largest turtle hospital. The money raised will go towards rehabilitating the many injured turtles currently at the turtle centre.  

Trained personnel released the turtle hatchlings at the turtle release event in order to keep these species at risk safe, and to minimize stress on these wild animals. People young and young at heart got a chance to meet the animals up close without touching them and to have their photos taken with them. Hundreds of people also got the chance to meet turtles up close at the Scales Nature Park tent and even to hold snakes.

“We were excited to co-host this event and give the public a chance to engage with species-at-risk conservation work,” said Cristen Watt, Species at Risk Technician for the Huron Stewardship Council. People had fun meeting the turtles and the snakes but it was also a great way to learn about Ontario’s reptile species and about how to protect them.

“Ontario’s turtles face many threats, so the opportunity to get young people excited about their conservation is invaluable,” Cristen said.

Ontario’s freshwater turtles face many threats including habitat loss and road mortality (death by cars and other vehicles). Thousands of Ontario turtles are hit by cars and other vehicles each year. In the spring, most of those turtles are pregnant females looking for a place to lay their eggs. In the summer and autumn, the majority are males looking for new ponds and new mates.

Turtles play a vital role in the local ecosystem helping to control aquatic vegetation as well as providing other ecosystem benefits, said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “Turtles help clean our creeks and wetlands by eating algae and dead and decaying fish and other organisms,” Hope said. 

The turtle release event helps people learn about turtles and the role people can play in protecting turtles, according to Hope.

Huron Stewardship Council trained personnel released the Snapping Turtle hatchlings. (Event organizers remind people never to place invasive non-native turtle species – such as the Red-eared Slider – into local watercourses). All the turtles at the release event were hatched from eggs that had been laid in unsuitable locations or were from female turtles hit and killed by cars. HSC then collected the eggs and incubated them to save the turtle hatchlings.

To learn more visit and the turtle web page at or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 to find out more about turtles. Local people help turtles by creating nesting habitat on their properties, monitoring turtle sightings, helping turtles cross the road in the direction they’re headed, helping to arrange transport of injured turtles to a turtle rehabilitation centre and working with their local communities and municipalities to build eco-passages and to erect turtle crossing signs.  


71108 Morrison Line,
RR 3 Exeter, ON
N0M 1S5


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Notices of service disruptions are posted at

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