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MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY

WELCOME TO THE MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY

VOLUME 22 NUMBER 1

SPRING 2013

Get out and enjoy spring in Muskoka After having a winter that couldn’t make up it’s mind, I’m sure we are all looking forward to some warmer weather. Spring is such a delightful season in Muskoka, watching the lake ice breakup, hearing the riotous joy of the birds as they return, and watching the trees as they shake off their winter coating of snow and start to turn Muskoka back to the vibrant green that draws us to this area. To welcome spring, Muskoka Conservancy is sharing our favourite ways to get out and enjoy the season. Allyn Abbott, Muskoka Conservancy Board President, “When Rob and I worked, we never really noticed April. Now that we’re retired and living in Muskoka, it’s one of our favourite months. There’s something new every day; plants coming to life, birds returning. And we can see through the forest, so we’re more likely to catch a glimpse of our resident moose or fox. So one of our favourite activities in April is to walk through the forests and enjoy watching Muskoka come back to life.”

Kim Horrigan, volunteer, “I enjoy walking on the Wilson’s Falls Trail in Bracebridge, it is a great place to see Spring come to life” Kristen Callow, Property Monitoring and Volunteer Coordinator, “I like getting out kayaking and just listening to the frogs and birds.” Hiking and kayaking, birding and photography are just a few of the ways to enjoy the bountiful and beautiful season that is spring in Muskoka.

Do you know a person or place that best reflect the built, cultural and natural heritage in Muskoka? Nominate them for a

2013 Muskoka Conservancy Heritage Award Learn more, or make a nomination, at our website www.muskokaconservancy.org/heritage-awards


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Executive Director’s Message I would like to personally thank all of you who have renewed your membership for 2013. You are the heart and soul of our organization. Your time, energy and financial support are what keep us going, and ensure that we are able to help protect Muskoka’s legendary landscape forever. 2013 holds great adventures for us as we continue to protect and steward Muskoka’s special places. We have some new projects and of course our everpopular favourites from our 25 year history. If you haven’t renewed your membership - it’s never too late! You can fill out the form or go online and renew through our refreshed website, www.muskokaconservancy.org. As we head into our first year as the Muskoka Conservancy I am inspired by the dedication of our members and volunteers. You are what makes MC a vibrant and robust organization. Thank you for supporting us for so many years, and welcome to the Muskoka Conservancy.

Kristie

2012: A Big Year for Conservation 2012 was been a big year for land protection in Muskoka. Together we are now protecting over 1,800 acres and 34,000 feet of shoreline in Nature Reserves and Conservation Easements. Over the course of the year, we welcomed two new Nature Reserves, a expansion of an existing Nature Reserve and four new Conservation Easements. Our continued success is only made possible by the generous donors who entrust their land to our protection and the numerous volunteers who help with all the site visits, paperwork and logistics that go on behind the scenes. If you have property and are interested in protecting it as a Nature Reserve or Conservation Easement please contact Kristie Virgoe at 705-645-7393 ext. 204 or email kvirgoe@muskokaconservancy.org to learn more about land donation.

New Species at Risk Habitat Protection Program for Georgian Bay Residents Muskoka Conservancy is proud to be working with the Township of Georgian Bay on a project that will help ensure more species at risk of extinction are protected by bringing information about the Provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA), 2007 to local landowners and developers. The ESA protects “at risk” species and their habitat by prohibiting harm to both. Much of the Township offers excellent habitat for species at risk, especially reptiles. Twenty-six of the species currently listed as “at risk” in Ontario are found there including, Eastern Foxsnake, Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake and Butternut. The Muskoka Conservancy and Township identified a specific problem to solve: there is no trigger for landowners and developers working under a building

permit to consider the ESA even though it applies to them. Several documents, including a fact sheet that will be handed out along with the building permit application package, as well as web site content were compiled. The Township provided $5,000 of in-kind support in senior staff time, equipment and meeting space. Involvement of Muskoka Conservancy staff was made possible by a Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk Stewardship Fund grant.

Photo of a Common Five-lined Skink by The Couchiching Conservancy


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Volunteer with the Conservancy

The Muskoka Conservancy continues to thrive on volunteer contributions as did the Foundation and Trust. Our organization could not function without your tireless efforts. It is especially important to note the length of time and level of involvement many of you have had with the organization, you have provided continuity through this time of transition – Thank you! Looking ahead into the coming months, there are many opportunities to get involved as listed here: •  Planning or administering events, •  Helping with mailings, •  Monitoring held properties or assessing potential properties as part of the Technical Advisory Group, •  Planning or administering restoration projects •  Participating on a committee. There is always plenty of room for new volunteers, so please come join our team! It is a rewarding experience that allows you to build skills, get outdoors, socialize with like-minded people and contribute to a great cause. We welcome feedback and ideas for training and unique volunteer opportunities – we will work with you to build a customized experience that is mutually beneficial. Contact Kristen Callow by phone, 705-645-7393 ext. 205, or email, kcallow@muskokaconservancy.org, to inquire.

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OLTAP supports acquisition of Foster/Bratty Nature Reserve The Muskoka Conservancy has recieved over $5,500 in funding from the Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program (OLTAP) to help support the acquisition of the Foster/Bratty Nature Reserve in Muskoka Lakes. The 72 acre property, adjacent to Loon Lake and featuring a spectacular wetland complex, was acquired in late 2012 as a donation from Michael Foster and Lola Bratty. “There are very real costs associated with receiving donated land,” said Kristie Virgoe, Executive Director. “Lawyer’s fees, surveys and appraisal costs can be significant. In many cases OLTAP Funding gives us the support we need to accept these generous gifts.” The Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program assists eligible recipients with costs associated with land securement and management planning to help conserve Ontario’s biodiversity. OLTAP is an initiative of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, supported in partnership with Environment Canada.

Try Muskoka Roastery’s

Northern Lights “This roast is subtle, with shimmering layers of taste. The Kenyan gives the coffee brightness and distinctive winey taste, with a sweet, zesty finish and a beautiful aroma.” Northern Lights is the new favourite blend of Kristie Virgoe, Executive Director. Coffee is a very important part of Kristie’s day, and she likes Northern Lights because it makes her mornings a little brighter. Northern Lights and four other Heritage Roasts are available at the Muskoka Conservancy offices at 11-B Taylor Road in Bracebridge.

A volunteer helps with the restoration planting done last fall at Dyer Memorial Nature Reserve.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of the Muskoka Roastery coffee supports stewardship and conservation in Muskoka.


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Mark Your Calendars

Cross Border Conservation Now Recognized with Tax Benefits

May 11th Native Tree and Plant Sale

We are happy to announce we have expanded the options for American donors wishing to support the Muskoka Conservancy. A benefit of our merger is the expansion of our Cross Border Conservation program with the American Friends of American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (AFoCLT).

June 8th Annual General Meeting and Awards Ceremony July 19th Summer Cottage Tour Lake Rosseau August 19th Golf Classic Mark O’Meara Course MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY OFFICERS PRESIDENT ALLYN ABBOTT PAST PRESIDENT DAN BROOKS VICE PRESIDENT ISOBEL HEATHCOATE TREASURER ROB PURVES HONOURARY DIRECTORS RUSS BLACK WILLIAM CLARK PETER GOERING ELIZA NEVIN GEORGE SNIDER DIRECTORS CHRIS BLAYMIRES TOM CLARK BILL DICKINSON JOHN FINLEY CECIL HAYHOE MARGARET MCLAREN ROB MILLIGAN KATHY RISTIC CYNTHIA SMITH

MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY STAFF

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

AFoCLT is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Seattle, Washington which support land trusts across Canada. AFoCLT works to support American donors who wish to donate to Canadian land trusts, including the Muskoka Conservancy. If you would like to learn more about the AFoCLT or donate, please contact either Kristie Virgoe with the Muskoka Conservancy by phone at 705-645-7393 ext. 204 or by email at kviroge@muskokaconservancy.org. Or speak with Sandra Tassel, the American Friends’ Program Coordinator by phone at 360515-7171 or by email at info@afoclt.org.

www.muskokaconservancy.org With our transition to the Muskoka Conservancy, we have launched a new website, www.muskokaconservancy.org This site is your one stop shop to find out about the latest and greatest about the Muskoka Conservancy and our properties and events. We would like to thank the Ontario Land Trust Alliance for their support of our new website.

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WELCOME KRISTEN We are happy to let everyone know we have a not-so-new member on the team. Kristen Callow started in mid-October as the new Property Monitoring and Volunteer Coordinator for the Muskoka Conservancy. Kristen was trained in ecosystem management and has five years experience in multiple positions with both the Magnetawan Watershed Land Trust and Couchiching Conservancy. We are excited to have Kristen on board and in the few months she has been here has made an immense contribution to the organization.

The Muskoka Steward newsletter is published by the Muskoka Conservancy

11B Taylor Road, Box 482, Bracebridge, Ontario P1L 1T8 T: 705-645-7393 F: 705-645-7888 E: info@muskokaconservancy.org www.muskokaconservancy.org


Muskoka Steward - Spring 2013