This newsletter is to let you know about some great ways to be part of the local work taking place to improve watershed health.
For more information visit This content is intended for local educational and information purposes only. Every effort has been made to ensure the correctness of information as at the publication date (September 2015). Subject to change.

Tree orders

Landowners purchase trees through fall program

International Year of Soils great time to plant trees; Agricultural producers and other rural landowners preserve topsoil, improve forest conditions by planting trees ordered through spring, autumn programs: The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 is the International Year of Soils. This year is a perfect time to plant trees on your property, said Ian Jean, Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “Topsoil is easy to lose and hard to get back,” he said. “Tree planting is one of the ways to preserve that valuable resource.”
Orders may be placed in person at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Administration Office, accompanied by payment in full, until September 30, 2015. Read more at fall tree orders or visit the Order Trees page now.

Lots new at Bannockburn Fall Hike

Bannockburn Fall Hike is October 4, 2015; Guided hikes return to annual Bannockburn Fall Hike; Autumn hike offers new twists in 2015 with soil activities to celebrate the International Year of Soils; plus intro to Go Global tree monitoring program: A popular fall event, that has been an autumn tradition for more than four decades, is bringing back guided hikes. The Bannockburn Fall Hike features activities about soil health. This is fitting because the 68th United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. Pick up your ‘Soil Scavenger Hunt’ sheet before you head out on the trails. Measure trees and learn about a new program called ‘Go Global.’ The free, family-friendly Bannockburn Fall Hike takes place on Sunday, October 4, 2015 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Bannockburn Conservation Area. The three guided hikes are to leave from the parking lot at 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. Bannockburn Conservation Area is located at 76249 Bannockburn Line, two kilometres north of Huron County Road 3, near Varna, roughly between Bayfield and Brucefield. For information visit or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. There is no fee to attend. For more information visit Bannockburn Fall Hike News and Bannockburn Fall Hike.

Thousands raised for bridge

The 2015 South Huron Trail Charitable Golf Tournament raised more than $4,200 towards proposed pedestrian bridge: The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) has announced that golfers, donors, contributing businesses, and volunteers have helped the 2015 Friends of the South Huron Trail Charitable Golf Tournament raise more than $4,200 towards the project to create a new pedestrian bridge downstream of Morrison Dam. The community has now raised more than $54,000 towards the estimated $175,000 cost of the pedestrian bridge project.
The golf tourney has raised more than $44,000 towards the South Huron Trail since community members started the tournament a decade ago. This year the net proceeds go towards a project to create a new pedestrian bridge. This bridge would be located west of Morrison Line and link the north and south sides of the South Huron Trail so people would not have to walk along the roadway over Morrison Dam. The speed limit along Morrison Line has been reduced and trail crossing signs have been installed on that roadway but the creation of a pedestrian bridge would give an alternative to people using the trail. The 2015 tournament was held on August 31. This was the first time the date switched from a June date to an August date and organizers say that golfers showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the change to August. There were 13 teams of golfers taking part at this year’s charitable golf tournament. The winning team of golfers was: Peter Darbishire, Berny Nymeyer, and Darren Scrimgeour. For more information visit or Friends of the South Huron Trail Golf News.

Keeping Water Clean
– New Micro Website

Two local conservation authorities create micro website with tips on protecting drinking water sources in vulnerable aquifers and recharge areas; easy-to-remember name with ideas on how to help protect drinking water: There are four types of areas in Ontario where municipal drinking water sources are considered most vulnerable to contamination. A new website focuses on protecting water in two of those areas. The Ausable Bayfield and Maitland Valley conservation authorities have created a new micro website called This is one way staff members in the two watersheds are sharing simple ways to keep drinking water clean and safe in vulnerable aquifers and groundwater recharge areas. For more information visit Keeping Water Clean new website and keeping water clean.

Owl Prowl is November 7, 2015

Two start times offered this year; Hundreds of people to call for owls, learn about nocturnal creatures at annual event: Each year, hundreds of local people turn off the televisions and computer devices and step out into the fresh air to enjoy nature and listen for owls. This is not some strange ritual. It’s the Owl Prowl. This year, two start times are offered. People have a choice of a 6 p.m. start time or a 7:30 p.m. start time. Each session is to begin with a short presentation about what makes owls unique. After this, those taking part may join in a moonlit, guided night-hike owl ‘hoot.’ This year’s free event takes place on Saturday, November 7, 2015. The annual event is to take place at Morrison Dam Conservation Area Workshop. It is two kilometres east of Exeter, just south of Highway 83, at 71108 Morrison Line. “Most years, the people taking part have seen and heard Eastern Screech Owls,” said Melissa Prout, Conservation Educator with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “The Owl Prowl is a great event for people of all ages to experience the world of a nocturnal animal. They learn about the amazing ways that owls adapt.” In short, the event is a “hoot.” Space is limited. The planners of the event ask you to please dress for the weather and leave your pets at home.
For more information, visit and Owl Prowl News and Owl Prowl web page.

Source Protection Committee to meet at White Carnation Hall in Holmesville on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Several new members of drinking water source protection committee to attend their first meeting; implementation of approved source protection plans continues to progress: The Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Drinking Water Source Protection Committee (SPC) next meets on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, starting at 9:30 a.m. The committtee for this region meets in Holmesville. The location of the meeting has been changed to the White Carnation Banquet Hall at 79867 Parr Line, Holmesville. The meetings are public and you are invited to observe and to meet your committee members. This will be the first meeting for several new members of the local committee, who have been appointed as part of a scheduled rotation of about one third of the membership. Short biographies of your committee members can be found here: Your Committee.  The newest members of the committee are: Kerri Ann O'Rourke; Myles Murdock; Mark McKenzie; Bruce Godkin; Philip Keightley; and John Graham.An agenda is posted online at For more information visit meeting on September 30.

New nature camp was WILD

Releasing Snapping Turtles into local waters among highlights for local young people at Wonder, Investigate, Learn, and Discover (WILD) camp held for first time in 2015; Nature day camps wrapped up for summer but campers likely to cherish memories for years: The last day of nature day camps in Ausable Bayfield watersheds took place in August and summer has now turned to autumn but camp leaders say the young people who took part will have memories to last for a long time. A few years back, Summer Nature Day Camps almost faced cancellation from lack of interest. The community then pulled together to bring back the nature camps. Now the camps are more popular than ever. Ausable Bayfield Conservation hosted three weeks of day camps in 2015 (July 20- 24; July 27-31; and August 17-21). For more information visit: Lasting memories at summer nature day camps.

Measure locally, report globally

Ausable Bayfield Conservation issues call for volunteers to measure trees as citizen scientists; Volunteers to monitor tree, species changes at forest plot in Bannockburn Conservation Area as conservation authority encourages community to measure locally, report globally: A new program aims to track and report on changes in local forest conditions and species diversity in the long term. Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff members have created a one-hectare forest plot at Bannockburn Conservation Area as part of the Go Global program. The conservation authority invites local volunteers to be part of this work to ‘measure locally and report globally.’ “By measuring what is changing in our forests and calculating the rate of change, we can begin to understand more about climate change and forest pests,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “This will help us to understand climate change impacts on local biodiversity. This monitoring will also allow us to make the best possible decisions to protect the future of our local forests.” Staff members and citizen scientists are to set up a Go Global monitoring quadrat at the Bannockburn Fall Hike on Sunday, October 4, 2015. Those who attend the fall hike have a chance to learn about the new Go Global program. Volunteers are to demonstrate how to measure trees. Event hosts invite you to try to measure the trees as well. For more information visit: Go Global.

Joining forces to fight Phragmites

Meetings helped rural landowners find out how to control Phragmites in drains and roadside ditches: The Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group (LSPCG) has devoted the past several years working to control the invasive grass Phragmites australis (European Common Reed) in coastal wetlands and is now taking the fight upstream from Port Franks and Grand Bend thanks to a grant from the Grand Bend Community Foundation. Two information nights were held in early August in Grand Bend and Thedford to educate local residents about controlling Phragmites in agricultural areas, municipal drains, and roadside ditches.
For more information visit: News on fighting Phragmites.

Exeter-area student learns about water, soil, living things as Junior Conservationist

Stirling Iredale, of RR 3 Exeter, Ontario, shares memories of his two-month experience as Junior Conservationist with Ausable Bayfield Conservation: By Stirling Iredale: My first day, when I arrived to work as the new Junior Conservationist at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, I did not know what to expect. That first day I took part in fire safety training and I got to put out a controlled fire with a fire extinguisher. That was exciting. Each day after that, for two months, I was never quite sure what each new day would bring working at the conservation authority.
During my eight weeks in this summer position I have had many new and positive experiences. I took water samples in order to monitor the quality of water in Lake Huron and streams running through ravines and into the lake. (Going to the beach in the summer may sound like an excellent day at work but in late August when the weather turned colder and there were four-foot waves, taking water samples from the lake wasn’t as much fun as it sounds.) I trimmed trees and brush along local trails, such as the South Huron Trail and Bannockburn Conservation Area, to make sure the trails did not get overgrown. I was able to see tree planting and wetland restoration projects and I was able to do some planting in a wetland. I assembled spill kits for local people protecting municipal drinking water sources, I helped sample local fish populations, and I applied mulch to soil around trees on conservation lands. For more information visit: My Junior Conservationist Experience.
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