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MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY

VOLUME 23 NUMBER 1

SPRING 2014

Announcing new Muskoka Conservancy Photo Contest Winner to be honoured with Michael Foster Award Muskoka Conservancy is proud to announce the launch of the Muskoka Conservancy Photo Contest. Winners of this contest will be given the Michael Foster Award, named in memory of local photographer, and Muskoka Conservancy supporter, Michael Foster who was integral in the creation of the contest. The contest will run annually and the award will be given to the photographer whose image best represents Muskoka’s natural or built environments in a way that demonstrates the beauty of the area. The contest, which is open to all amateur photographers, includes youth and adult categories. It will be judged on creativity, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The judging panel is looking to honour photographs that provide unique insight into the natural, built and cultural elements of Muskoka and the surrounding area. The deadline for the contest is April 1, 2014 and the winner will be announced at the Muskoka Conservancy Annual General Meeting on June 7th in Gravenhurst. “Michael was a very accomplished photographer and Muskoka Conservancy has been blessed with many of his stunning images of our nature reserves,” said Kristie Virgoe, Executive Director with Muskoka Conservancy. “Michael had an eye for the beauty of Muskoka and a love for our natural landscape. We are so pleased to be offering this award in his memory.” Michael passed away on November 13, 2013 following a year-long battle with cancer. A professional photographer and artist in Toronto prior to moving to Muskoka in 1994, Michael was a strong supporter of both the visual arts and nature.

Over the years, Michael contributed to the Muskoka Conservancy in many ways. For many years, he was on the Board of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation, Image copyright Carol Marino one of Muskoka C o n s e r v a n c y ’s predecessor charities. He was also a volunteer in the Technical Advisory Group, who assess the ecological significance of land offered to the Muskoka Conservancy, helping us with photo-documenting the properties we were assessing and those we are protecting. His commitment to Muskoka was such that he and his spouse, Lola Bratty, permanently protected a portion of their property by donating the Foster/Bratty Nature Reserve to Muskoka Conservancy in the fall of 2012. The property is surrounded on three sides by the Loon Lake Wetland Conservation Reserve and more than half of it is classified as provincially significant wetland. Michael was passionate about protecting the property as habitat for other species, so that future generations would still be able to enjoy the experiences that he and Lola had enjoyed of seeing otters, moose and other wildlife. For more information about the Muskoka Conservancy Photo Contest and to read the official contest rules, visit www.muskokaconservancy.org/photocontest or call 705645-7393.


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Remembering Jim Gardner The Stewardship Committee of the Muskoka Conservancy (formerly the Parry Sound Muskoka Stewardship Network) lost a good friend on January 7, 2014. Jim Gardner passed away after Photo by Ted Gardner a difficult struggle with a rare disease. It was the end of a long and rich life devoted to family and nature. Born in Richmond Hill in 1937, when it was deep in the countryside, Jim became fascinated with wildlife in all its forms. This interest lead to studies at Guelph in wildlife biology, graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1961. He ultimately found his calling as a biologist with MNR in Pembroke, Kirkland Lake and Parry Sound. Over the years, he worked with black bear, lynx, beaver, geese, fish and almost everything else that flies, walks or swims. Having retired to Hurdville, near Parry Sound, Jim spent many enjoyable years cutting firewood, gardening, birding and photographing wildlife. He was locally famous as the “bluebird man” for maintaining a line of bluebird boxes. Over the last decade Jim has been a great friend to Muskoka Conservancy, providing support for youth and stewardship programs, such as Envirothon, management ideas and advice for our nature reserves and conservation easements and, of course, fantastic photographs for articles. All of us will forever miss “the big man with the big spirit”. If you have one of Jim’s bluebird boxes, please clean it out and watch for birds this spring. Memorial donations can be made to Muskoka Conservancy, specifically the Charlie Esson Stewardship Bursary and the Private Landowner Stewardship Fund by calling 705-6457393 ext 200. MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY OFFICERS PRESIDENT ALLYN ABBOTT PAST PRESIDENT JOHN FINLEY VICE PRESIDENT ISOBEL HEATHCOTE TREASURER KATHY RISTIC DIRECTORS CHRIS BLAYMIRES CARL CORBETT KIM HORRIGAN MARGARET MCLAREN ROB PURVES CYNTHIA SMITH

TOM CLARK BILL DICKINSON MARIE JANISSE NORM MOFFAT LORI SILD

HONOURARY DIRECTORS RUSS BLACK WILLIAM CLARK PETER GOERING ELIZA NEVIN GEORGE SNIDER

MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY STAFF

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KRISTIE VIRGOE PROPERTY & VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR KRISTEN CALLOW STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR JENN HEAD COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS TECHNICIAN CHRISTINA BOSSART

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SAVE THE DATE! February 22nd - Snowshoe Tracks & Signs Nature Quest Hardy Lake Provincial Park March 26th - Working Around Water Symposium Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road, Bracebridge, Ontario May 10th - Native Tree and Plant Sale Order online at muskokaconservancy.org/plantsale June 28th - Forest Flower Walk Nature Quest Upjohn Nature Reserve, Bracebridge July 18th - Summer Cottage Tour Exploring new stretches of Lake Muskoka for 2014 Tickets on Sale May 1st To learn more or register for any of these events, call 705-645-7393 ext 200. To stay on top of the latest news from Muskoka Conservancy, visit the Events section of our website www.muskokaconservancy.org/events

WELCOME JENN! We would like to welcome Jenn Head to our team. Jenn started in January at the Muskoka Conservancy as our Stewardship Coordinator. Jenn was trained in Environmental Studies and has experience working for Ontario Parks as a Naturalist and Interpreter and has also spent time working as an Outdoor Educator. She has a passion for the outdoors and is very excited to be a part of the organization in this new role! You can reach Jenn at 705-645-7393 ext 206 or by email to jhead@muskokaconservancy.org


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Turning Passion into a Legacy In the past 5 years I’ve developed a passion for running. For me, it is a way to challenge myself, burn stress, and stay in shape so I can keep up with my seven year old son. My proudest moment was in 2012 when I ran the Scotia Waterfront Marathon (42.2 km). I lagged toward the end of the crowd (I said I loved running, I didn’t say I was good at it) with a finishing time of just over 5 hours. I was completely exhausted! The next day, I slid down the stairs on my rear end because I couldn’t convince my legs to face that challenge. By day two, however, I was out running a light 5km just to stay loose.

operations of Muskoka Conservancy. Over the summer of 2014 I commit to running 100km of competitive races to raise money for our Legacy Endowment Fund. I’ll put my passion to work to help raise funds so that our organization is strong and vibrant as we move into the future and deliver on our promise of protecting Muskoka’s natural spaces FOREVER.

In 2014, I’ve decided to turn my passion into a Legacy. Muskoka Conservancy protects our beautiful landscape to ensure that nature has a place in Muskoka in perpetuity. That’s a long time! There will be many challenges that Muskoka Conservancy will face over the many generations we will be here to protect this spectacular countryside. Our Legacy Endowment fund is established as a protected fund that will ‘forever’ provide interest income to support the core

I invite you to be part of this exciting future by supporting my Legacy run. All donations over $20 will receive a charitable tax receipt. Donations can be made by cheque to our office or by going to our website www.muskokaconservancy. org/run to donate on line or call us at 705-645-7393 ext 200 to donate by credit card. All donations will go to the Legacy Endowment Fund. I’ll be posting my race schedule on our website soon! Thank you for being part of our success!

Kristie

It’s not to late, renew today!

Don’t have any stamps handy? Renew online at www.muskokaconservancy.org/membership

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their membership!


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Are you planning on working around water this spring or summer? Mark your calendar for our “Working Around Water Symposium” on Wednesday, March 26th. In the last couple of months there has been a great deal of discussion and buzz around the shoreline program that the Muskoka Conservancy launched as a joint project with MLA’s water quality monitoring program late in 2013. In the New Year, we are looking ahead to focus on offering various workshops across Muskoka, as well as visit individual property owners to discuss their shorelines. Workshop topics will include Shoreline Erosion, Canada Geese, Water Quality, and Shoreline Permitting (among others). If you are planning on doing some work around water in the spring or summer season, you may want to contact the Muskoka Conservancy’s Stewardship Coordinator to

MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY Box 482, Bracebridge, Ontario P1L 1T8 T: 705-645-7393 F: 705-645-7888 E: info@muskokaconservancy.org www.muskokaconservancy.org

visit your property and make some recommendations before beginning your work! There are a number of factors to consider before you begin shoreline projects. Early this spring the Muskoka Conservancy is hosting a professional symposium for landscapers and contractors who spend time working around water in the Muskoka region. The purpose is to aid in getting valuable conservation information to the professionals who you rely on to protect and care for your property. During the symposium, professionals will receive information on the newest trends, techniques and best practices to use while working around water. For those professionals interested in attending, please contact our office at 705-645-7393 ext 200 or visit www. muskokaconservancy.org for registration information.


Muskoka Steward - Spring 2014