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A record number - 1,500 - attended the fourth turtle release event in the past four years
Fourth turtle release event draws record crowd in 2019

About 1,500 people visit Morrison Lake east of Exeter to observe release, into wild, of turtle hatchlings from recovered, incubated turtle eggs in area

A public education event to release turtle hatchlings back into the wild was held east of Exeter for the fourth year in a row and it drew a record crowd of about 1,500 people.

Huron Stewardship Council, and community partners including Ausable Bayfield Conservation, hosted the Shellabration turtle release event at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA) on Thursday, August 29, 2019. The event drew hundreds of people in its first two years (2016 and 2017) and last year (2018) the event drew more than 900 people. Organizers say 2019 is the first year the event has surpassed 1,000 visitors.

The Huron Stewardship Council (HSC) supervised release of Painted Turtle native hatchling turtles at the event on August 29. (Organizers remind people never to place invasive non-native turtle species – such as the Red-eared Slider – into local water bodies). All the turtles at the release were hatched from eggs laid in locations at Morrison Dam Conservation Area that were unlikely to allow the eggs or hatchlings to survive on their own. Staff of the HSC collected the eggs in June and incubated them to save the turtle hatchlings.

Turtles were released every 20 minutes. Many visitors took photos as HSC staff released turtle hatchlings and shared facts about these important Ontario freshwater species, the role they play in the ecosystem, and ways we can protect turtles – from monitoring, to helping them across the road, to protecting and enhancing their habitat.

The event gave people of all ages a rare chance to meet local wildlife up close and to learn about local reptiles.

“We were amazed by the public support shown for this event and some of Ontario’s at-risk wildlife,” said Cristen Watt, Species at Risk Technician with Huron Stewardship Council. “I want to thank all the people who took part, everyone who donated, all the volunteers and community partners, and everyone who is helping to save these species.”

Ontario’s turtle populations are declining and the turtle release event is one way to raise awareness about local species-at-risk, according to Watt. “Educational displays by several local organizations showed the many ways people can help these important animals, their habitat, and the environment,” she said.

New this year was a short survey about turtle habitat. Some people took the survey at the August 29 event. Anyone who attended the event but who did not take the survey is invited to complete it online at this link: People taking the survey can get a free turtle bookmark (while supplies last). The bookmark explains how “turtles need your help to protect their habitat” and offers ways you can help, such as: create and protect local wetlands; ‘use your voice to speak up for turtles’; and to learn about protecting water, soil, and living things in your watershed community. It also explains some things that impact turtle habitat – from loss of wetlands; to water quality impairment; to properly managing activities we do and where.

There were reptile and environmental displays, reptile-themed merchandise for sale, a guided walk, and fun, active learning stations. Staff from Scales Nature Park, of the Oro-Medonte area, brought turtle species. Pinery Provincial Park, Hullett Marsh, the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, Green Goderich, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, and Huron Stewardship Council had interactive educational displays.

A turtle-themed story along the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail remained posted throughout the long weekend. (Those interested in the Storytime Trail should park at the MacNaughton Park kiosk entrance, and the story begins at the 0.4 km sign post.) 

The turtle release event was free to attend but donations by attendees supported conservation of Ontario’s turtles. Hundreds of dollars were raised for Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), raising “much-needed funds” for Ontario’s largest turtle hospital. 

Ontario’s native freshwater turtles face many threats. Road mortality (death by cars and other vehicles) and habitat loss are some of those threats. Thousands of turtles in Ontario are hit by cars each year. In spring, most of those turtles are pregnant females looking for a place to lay eggs. In summertime and autumn, most are males looking for new ponds and mates. People can help turtles by creating nesting habitat on their properties, stopping to help turtles cross the road in the direction they are heading, and working with their local municipalities and communities to erect turtle crossing sings and build eco-passages. People can stop for injured turtles and help arrange their transport to the turtle hospital. 

Turtles play an important part in a healthy local ecosystem, according to Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. Each species of animal plays an important role to keep the system healthy. Turtles “help to clean our creeks and wetlands by eating algae and dead and decaying fish and other organisms,” she said. “Turtles help to control aquatic vegetation.”

To learn more about protecting turtles, and the release event, visit and or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
Car show is September 21, 2019.

Family-friendly Bruce Redman Antique Car Show in Arkona is at Rock Glen Conservation Area on Saturday, September 21, 2019

Bruce Redman Antique Car Show offers rare mix of vintage cars, nostalgic music, natural surrounding

Community event by Arkona Lions and Lioness Clubs combines classic cars, nature setting at beautiful Rock Glen Conservation Area

There are many car shows but there aren’t many that take place in the natural surroundings of a park, trails, and a museum. This one does.

People can view classic cars in a beautiful nature setting as the Arkona Lions and Lioness clubs host the Bruce Redman Antique Car Show on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The car show takes place at scenic Rock Glen Conservation Area, 8680 Rock Glen Road, Arkona, Ontario, Canada. The conservation area is home of Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

To find out more visit this link: The car show often attracts 150 or more classic cars. “This is a great way to enjoy a Saturday on the last weekend of summer,” said Stan Hladki, of the Arkona Lions Club. “People can get out, enjoy vintage cars, grab a bite to eat, hear classic music, and enjoy everything that Rock Glen Conservation Area has to offer,” he said.

Those who are entering classic cars for show pay only $5 per car and they don’t have to pay the gate fee for the conservation area.

The first 100 cars receive a dash plaque. To enter a car, or for more information, contact Stan at 519-828-3261. 

The first 125 visitors to attend the car show get free entry into the conservation area and don’t have to pay the $4 fee to visit the park.

There is to be food for sale, at the event, by the Arkona Lioness Club. 

People attending the show will be able to view rare and lovingly maintained vintage cars. Visitors will also be able to enjoy majestic Rock Glen Falls waterfall; accessible hiking trails, boardwalks, and look-outs; and rare fossils, artifacts, and minerals at the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

The museum attracts visitors from around the world to see its extensive displays of fossils (many donated by Ted Baxter) and artifacts. The conservation area also has two playgrounds. 

To learn more visit
Owl Prowl is Saturday, November 2, 2019

Save the date!

Saturday, November 2, 2019 is Owl Prowl

Each year Ausable Bayfield Conservation hosts an Owl Prowl at Morrison Dam Conservation Area Workshop, 71108 Morrison Line, 2 km east of Exeter, just south of Highway 83.

It’s a chance to hear an interactive presentation about owls and to take part in a night-hike owl ‘hoot.’  Conservation Halton's Mountsberg Raptor Centre will be bringing live owls to see up close and personal.

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

Some people have seen and heard Eastern Screech Owls during this distinctive and educational evening event.

The Owl Prowl this year is Saturday, November 2, 2019

Watch for more details in the coming days.

In the meantime, please visit the Owl Prowl web page: Seating is limited. Please dress for the weather. Please leave your pets at home. Admission is by donation.

Details are subject to change.

Take some time to 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.

The Eastern Screech Owl file photo is by Paul Armstrong and we thank him for letting us use it here.

Mark your calendars for the 2019 Owl Prowl!
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2019 Student Environmental Award winner
MEGHAN GLAVIN WINS $1,000 STUDENT ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD FOR 2019: Dave Frayne, Chair of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF), presents the $1,000 Student Environmental Award bursary to Meghan Glavin, of the Mt. Carmel area. She is the tenth local student in the past decade to benefit from this award given to the winning candidate pursuing post-secondary studies in a conservation-related field. This award is only possible thanks to the community people who donate to the Foundation and who support its charitable fundraising activities.

Meghan Glavin is tenth winner of $1,000 Student Environmental Award from Conservation Foundation

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation first presented $1,000 student bursary prize in 2010; Ten local students have benefitted in past decade

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) has presented the $1,000 Student Environmental Award for the tenth year. The tenth local student to benefit from this student bursary prize is Meghan Glavin, of the Mt. Carmel area.

Conservation Foundation Chair Dave Frayne presented the $1,000 prize to the 2019 winner at a brief ceremony on August 15, 2019. The award winner is also recognized at an annual partner appreciation event.

“The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation is supporting youth in our local area by offering this award,” said ABCF Chair Dave Frayne. “I want to thank the students for being interested in this bursary and taking time to pursue their goals.” He said he hopes the Foundation will be able to offer this award for years to come. “The Conservation Foundation is local and we believe addressing environmental concerns in the future is important and this is a way to support the future environmental education of our young people.”

Meghan is entering post-secondary studies at the University of Guelph this autumn studying geography and agriculture and she hopes to pursue a career that combines both those interests. She is working this summer at Pinery Provincial Park with the discovery team at the Visitors’ Centre, and teaching people about local ecosystems. 

“On behalf of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, I’m happy to present to you this cheque for $1,000 as a bursary for your future education,” said Chair Frayne, in presenting the award.

“I’m very honoured to be receiving this award,” the winner said at the presentation ceremony. “I’m very honoured that I was even considered for this award and I will be using this award to help me out with my education,” she said. 

She said she learned about water and soil issues during her secondary school co-op placement at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “It was a great experience,” she said.

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation recognized Ryan Finnie in 2010 with the first Student Environmental Award. Other winners have included: Raina Vingerhoeds (2011); Greg Urquhart (2012); Ryan Carlow (2013); Connor Devereaux (2014); Barb Alber (2015); Samantha Bycraft (2016); Marina Lather (2017); Ethan Quenneville (2018); and Meghan Glavin (2019).

The entire amount of the bursaries is raised through community fundraising and donations. People can get a charitable gift receipt, for income tax purposes, for their donations to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. People can also support the student award, and other Foundation charitable activities, through fundraising events such as the Conservation Dinner and annual South Huron Trail Golf Tournament.

The Conservation Foundation awards this bursary to the winner of an application process. The successful applicant must be a graduating secondary school student or student currently enrolled in university or college pursuing education in a conservation-related (environmental) course of study such as biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, agriculture, or outdoor education. Interested students write a creative two-page essay on their personal involvement with a conservation or environment-based project or organization. Eligible students are between the ages of 17 and 25, and have a permanent address in a municipality of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) watershed. Municipalities in the ABCA watershed are: Adelaide Metcalfe; Bluewater; Central Huron; Huron East; Lambton Shores; Lucan Biddulph; Perth South; Middlesex Centre; North Middlesex; South Huron; Warwick; and West Perth.

To find out more visit the website at this link:
2019 winners of South Huron Trail Golf Tournament
WINNING TEAM AT 14th SOUTH HURON TRAIL GOLF TOURNAMENT 2019: From left to right in photo, Dave Frayne, Chair of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF), congratulates Terry O’Rourke, Bernie Howorth, and Henry Winters, the winning team at the 14th Annual South Huron Trail Golf Tournament. The winning team had a score of -9 at the charity tourney held on August 26, 2019 at Ironwood Golf Club east of Exeter. The 2019 South Huron Trail fundraising event, by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and community partners including volunteers, golfers and event sponsors, raised more than $5,500 towards the project to replace boards on Stirling Bridge. The golf tourney has, with the support of donors, golfers, and community volunteers, raised more than $63,000 for the South Huron Trail over the event’s 14-year history.

South Huron Trail Golf Tournament 2019 raises $5,500 for project to replace boards on Stirling Bridge

Annual golf tourney has raised more than $63,000 for South Huron Trail over 14 years

The South Huron Trail Golf Tournament was held at Ironwood Golf Club east of Exeter on Monday, August 26, 2019. This year’s charity golf tournament raised more than $5,500 towards the project to put new boards on Stirling Bridge on the South Huron Trail.

The community golf tournament, started by local volunteers and now hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation with volunteer support, has raised more than $63,000 for the South Huron Trail over the fundraising event’s history dating back 14 years. 

“I would like to give my personal thanks to all the golfers, the event sponsors, and volunteers who made the 2019 South Huron Trail Golf Tournament another success,” said Dave Frayne, Chairman of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF). “The generous supporters of this golf tournament have supported the South Huron Trail for 14 years through this fundraising event and the tournament is still going strong,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing everyone at next year’s tournament in August of 2020,” he said.

Visit and for next year’s date and then “mark it on your calendar.”

The winning team at the 2019 charity golf tourney was Terry O’Rourke, Bernie Howorth, and Henry Winters with a score of -9.

The putting contest winners were: Gary Campbell, first; and Joe Laurie, second.

The winner of the women’s longest drive contest was Julie Datars. Tom May was the men’s longest drive winner.

Karel Hodgert won the women’s closest-to-the-pin competition and the men’s closest-to-the-pin winner was Kevin McCarthy.

To donate to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, for the South Huron Trail, visit or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
It's September - time to place your fall tree orders!

Autumn is almost here - it's time for fall tree planting!

Submit your mailed or faxed tree orders by September 15, 2019

Orders are taken, accompanied by payment in full, until September 30, 2019

The fall tree order form is now online for 2019 for Ausable Bayfield watersheds.
Autumn is a good time to plant ball and burlap evergreens and potted deciduous trees, according to Ian Jean, Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “There are some advantages to planting trees in autumn,” Ian said. “The trees can get used to the new conditions and be ready to grow the following spring. Rainfall is also more reliable which helps with the survival.” 

To order trees, visit the tree order web page: Grants can help with the cost of projects, that help conserve soil and water, such as: field windbreaks, treed buffers, and other tree planting projects. Staff members can help rural landowners with project design and grant applications. They can also help you with many aspects of land stewardship, including planting plans, site preparation, forest management plans, and erosion control advice.

A variety of funding programs are available. Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) recently announced the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) is back for 2019 and 2020. To be eligible for the program, farm businesses must have a 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan and Action Plan verified complete by OSCIA. Other programs such as the Huron County Clean Water Project, or the federal Habitat Stewardship Program, are available to farm or non-farm rural landowners. ABCA staff will work with you to match your project with current funding programs.

The fall tree order form is ready online for free download at the website at this link:  Mailed and faxed tree orders must be received by September 15, 2019. Orders are taken, accompanied by payment in full, until September 30, 2019. The trees can be picked up in mid-October. 

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; and Tulip Tree. Prices range from $16-24 per tree.

“Two-foot balled and burlap Spruce and Cedar are ideal to create shelterbelts and windbreaks on fields and farms,” according to Ian. Fall often provides for good access for planting fencerow windbreaks adjacent to harvested wheat or beans.  

Springtime is the most popular time of the year to plant trees and Ian encourages landowners to start planning next year’s project. If you are planting trees next spring, site preparation is best done in September and October, he said. 

To find out more visit or call Ian or Nathan at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.


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


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