June 2023 conservation updates for Ontario Nature’s 150 member groups and their members.
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June 2023 conservation updates for Ontario Nature’s 150 member groups and their supporters. Together, we are the voice for nature. Please share this monthly newsletter with members of your group.

conservation awards 2022 winners


Conservation Award Winners Announced

We are pleased to share the winners of the 2023 Ontario Nature Conservation Awards, announced at last weekend’s Annual Gathering. We want to extend our deep gratitude to all the winners and nominees for the great work that they do to help wild species and wild spaces in this province. Please see our website for more details on the awards and the wonderful natural legacies of the award recipients. Congratulations to the winners!

  • Conservation Leadership Award: Bernie VanDenBelt, London
  • Education Award: Margaret 'Marg' Paré, Waterloo
  • Media and Conservation Award: The Narwhal (national)
  • Natural History Award: Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association
  • Public Service Award: Blu and Douglas Mackintosh, Thousand Islands
  • Corporate Award: rare Charitable Research Reserve, Waterloo/Wellington
  • The Steve Hounsell Greenway Award: Mark Schwarz, Woolwich Township
  • Lee Symmes Municipal Award: City of Windsor, Parks and Recreation Department
Post fire effects data study northern Ontario


Quetico Foundation Ecosystem Research

Each summer, the Quetico Foundation sends a team of biology research students alongside the park biologist to monitor and evaluate the complex and diverse ecosystems within the park. This summer, we’re excited to announce that Lyle Novella, a freshwater biologist from Guelph University, will be leading this year's research team alongside Quetico Park Biologist, Jared Stachiw. They will be monitoring and collecting data on invasive crayfish, contributing to the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, monitoring salamander populations, partnering with MNRF to evaluate the effect of forest fires on plankton and aquatic ecosystems, and monitoring and determining the spread of white nose syndrome in bat populations throughout the park.

You can follow the research on their Instagram and Facebook pages (@queticofoundation), and their website queticofoundation.org.

Youth Summit 2019 group photo


Youth Summit

We are excited to announce the details of Our annual Youth Summit! The Summit brings together young people aged 14–20 for a weekend of nature exploration, environmental learning and fun outdoor activities.

For the 2023 Youth Summit, Ontario Nature, the Indigenous Environmental Institute at Trent University, Plenty Canada, and Walpole Island Land Trust will be partnering with leaders on the Youth Council and Youth Circle for Mother Earth’s Coordinating Circle to offer a unique, cross-cultural event for youth from across Ontario.

The 2023 Youth Summit for Mother Earth will be held in-person at Camp Wahanowin, Longford Mills, Ontario from September 22–24, 2023. Attached you will find a save the date to send to youth in your community.

Please consider sponsoring a local youth to attend, at a cost of $450. This covers the full cost of a young person’s participation in the summit, including workshops, meals, accommodations and staffing. You can find more information in the package. This year, as we transition back to in-person programming, we have spots for 90 youth.

Please visit our website or contact Maya at mayad@ontarionature.org for more information and sponsorship inquiries.

wood ducks


Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

Interested in birds? Your help is integral to the success of the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Atlas-3)! This enormous community science project is achievable only through the mass participation of the province’s birders. You can help by sharing Atlas-3 details with your members and networks and encourage birders of any skill level to participate. This Atlas-3 promotional package contains links, graphics, articles, social media posts and more to make sharing with your networks easy.

Young birders can join our youth-led birding hike June 17 at Paletta Park in Burlington.

Halton Hills, Carolinian East


Regional Director Needed

We need your help to ensure that Ontario Nature is there when nature needs us most! We are recruiting a Regional Director for Carolinian East. Working as a member of Ontario Nature’s Board of Directors, the Regional Director’s role is to foster a close relationship between Ontario Nature and regional Nature Network groups.

The perks:

  • Be there when nature needs you most by contributing to the protection of wild species and wild spaces.
  • Volunteer alongside a dedicated and fun team of people who care about nature.
  • Influence provincial policy and priorities for nature conservation.
  • Ensure your region’s environmental priorities have a voice.
  • Set the strategic direction for a leading conservation organization that is there whenever and wherever nature needs us most.
  • Invitation to enjoyable and educational board retreats and annual gatherings.

Regional Director candidates should be an active member of one or more groups in the Carolinian East region which includes Peel, Halton, Hamilton, Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara. If you are interested, know a good candidate or would like more details, please see our volunteer listing and contact Lesley Rudy, Nature Network Organizer, at lesleyr@ontarionature.org.

Mashkinonje Provincial Park wetlands

Resources and Links

  • The deadline has been extended for our Action Alert on proposed Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan changes. If you haven’t already signed, please do, and circulate it widely!
  • The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is hosting a webinar TONIGHT, June 15 at 6 p.m., on what we do next with Bill 23.
  • Our primer on Wetlands as Nature-Based Climate Solutions is now available.
  • New study shows protective impact of green and blue spaces on Parkinson’s disease. 
  • Great article in The Pointer about the Government of Ontario’s track record on environmental degradation and misleading messaging.
Fritillary butterfly Misery Bay Jim Griffin


See our events calendar for a complete listing of events organized by Ontario Nature and Nature Network groups. 

To submit your public events for the online calendar, send them to noahc@ontarionature.org and allow up to a week for posting. Please send only events that are open to the public and no more than three per month.

Submit and Share!

We want to include more content from the network and will feature a story or two each month from network groups, as well as other resources. We encourage you to share your stories and links by emailing them to naturenetwork@ontarionature.org.

Ontario Nature publishes the Nature Network News monthly with contributions from our member groups and staff. We grant permission for use of the information above in member group newsletters. Please credit either Ontario Nature or the member group or the photographer when appropriate.
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Photos © Noah Cole, Brian Jackson, Noah Cole, Noah Cole, Moosin Around CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Vanessa Denov, Jim Griffin