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MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY

Monitoring program launches at Nelson Head Nature Reserve As the late afternoon the sun cuts through the hemlock forest at the Nelson Head Nature Reserve in Huntsville, gleaming off the deep green of the hemlock’s needles and the water of the cattail marsh below. It was here that staff and volunteers gathered to celebrate the launch of a new program made possible by a $33,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Norm Miller, joined Ontario Trillium Foundation representative Kay Tod in congratulating the Muskoka Con-

Parry Sound - Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, Muskoka Conservancy Executive Director Kristie Virgoe and Ontario Trillium Foundation Representative Kay Tod.

VOLUME 22 NUMBER 2

SUMMER 2013

servancy staff and volunteers at the program launch on May 3rd. This grant will cover staff time and resources to establish a universal monitoring protocol for volunteers and streamlined information tracking systems. By doing so, our efficiency and accountability in protecting Muskoka’s wild spaces is improved. This is especially important as the number of properties and acres, currently 33 properties and over 1,800 acres, under perpetual protection by the Conservancy continues to grow.

New home for the Muskoka Conservancy about 1870 with a modest structure built from timbers and sided in clapboard. By the late 1800s there had been several addtions including the prominent two-storey brick section to the east. The first owners of the building were Robert P. Perry and his wife Urina Ellis. Mr. Perry was the Bracebridge postmaster and his father, Robert Ebenezer Perry, was one of Bracebridge’s leading citizens, owning a grist Starting in June you will find the staff and volunteers of mill and general store, and in 1875 he became the first the Muskoka Conservancy in a new spot. We are mov- Reeve of the Village of Bracebridge. ing into the Perry House, located at 47 Quebec Street in This new space will allow us to grow and expand, as well Bracebridge. as be part of the amazing built heritage of Muskoka. While the location is new to us, it is one of the oldest homes in Bracebridge and we are excited to launch our We will be moving throughout the month of June you can always find us at 705-645-7393 or online at next phase from this incredible location. www.muskokaconservancy.org. Our mailing address will The Perry House was built in three phases beginning in remain, Box 482, Bracebridge, ON, P1L 1T8.


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Executive Director’s Message

Spring has finally come to Muskoka and we are all filled with anticipation as the weather warms and the landscape comes to life. It’s hard to believe that it has been just over a year since I joined the Muskoka Conservancy. Looking back, it has been a fantastic year filled with a lot of great accomplishments for our group. Looking forward, we have so many things to be excited about. As you’ve read in this edition, we’ve got new support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and new offices in one of Muskoka’s oldest residential buildings. On June 8th, we’ll hold our first Annual General Meeting as the Muskoka Conservancy. Later in the year, we will be working with some funding from the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to develop a new over-arching Strategic Plan and a detailed 5-year work plan. It is a truly invigorating time! The focus of Muskoka Conservancy is broad, and combines the land protection and monitoring activities of the Trust and the built heritage, stewardship and community outreach programs of the Foundation. Developing a new Strategic Plan will help Muskoka Conservancy stay true to our roots and ensure that all these important programs are maintained and strengthened. As always, we believe in working with our members, volunteers, and community partners to build and support a vibrant Muskoka that respects the natural environment and the traditions of our communities. Muskoka Conservancy’s activities are at their peak in the summer months, including our signature events, our community outreach programs, and our property monitoring activities. Tickets are now available for our much-anticipated Summer Cottage Tour (July 19) and our Annual Golf Classic (August 19th). This year, we also have a wonderful opportunity for the golf enthusiast to attend a wine and cheese reception with internationally acclaimed golf course designers Doug Carrick and Lorne Rubenstein on August 16th. We kick off our Nature Quest series on June 8th with a guided hike at Torrance Barrens to explore the night sky with Robert Dick, with other guided hikes planned throughout the season, including birding, mushrooms, and many others. Of course, our Technical Advisory Group of volunteers continue to provide their energy and expertise in monitoring and evaluating properties for acquisition. With their help, we were able to acquire an additional 8 properties last year, bringing our total of protected land to just over 1,800 acres on 33 properties – making Muskoka Conservancy the fourth largest land trust in Ontario! In short, it’s been a terrific year, with so many exciting changes, new opportunities, and remarkable accomplishments – and we couldn’t have done it without you. I want to thank each and every member, supporter, volunteer, and staff member for your unflagging support, and dedication to nurturing, protecting, and conserving the natural and cultural heritage of Muskoka. Together we will continue to do great things in Muskoka, for Muskoka.

Kristie

Members of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) out on McLeans Nature Reserve during a monitoring visit. The group found a Nodding Trillium, which is rare in Muskoka.


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Muskoka Roastery Partners to Protect Muskoka Muskoka Conservancy is teaming up with the Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co to steward over 250 acres of nature reserves in Muskoka. Muskoka Conservancy (MC) is a charitable land trust that works with the community to protect sensitive lands, provide private land stewardship, and educational outreach throughout Muskoka. The Muskoka Conservancy continues to build a “stewardship reserve” fund to ensure the long term management goals of each property can be met.

acres that is surrounded by and managed as part of the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve. It was donated to Muskoka Conservancy in 2001 by Club Link. “As part of the Dark Sky Reserve, Musquash Road Nature Reserve is a spectacular place to visit and see the night sky.” says Virgoe. “The generous support of the Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co will help us manage this property for the many visitors it receives through the year.”

Muskoka Roastery and Muskoka Conservancy have Muskoka Roastery Coffee is available for purchase at the already identified one property that will be “adopted” Muskoka Conservancy offices with 100% of the proceeds for the year. The Musquash Road Nature Reserve is 195 going towards the stewardship of our properties.

Muskoka Watershed Council is leaving the nest You may have heard that the Muskoka Conservancy better for the MWC to be related to a not-for-profit that has ended its involvement with the Muskoka Watershed is not a charity. Council. I wanted to explain why this is a good thing A new not-for-profit, Friends of Muskoka Watershed for both the Muskoka Conservancy and the MWC. has been created that will take over the role of the The Muskoka Watershed Council started as a joint effort Muskoka Conservancy in the MWC. Because Friends of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and the District is not a charity, the MWC will be free to advocate for the of Muskoka. The MWC has grown and provides many environment. good programs that help educate us about the environment in Muskoka. The Muskoka Conservancy is also It is not unusual for a successful program to be spun off bigger and has more programs than the MHF did when into a new not-for-profit organization. Ontario Nature (formerly the Federation of Ontario Naturalists) has the MWC was started. had several programs that have lead to the creation of Like most charities, the Muskoka Conservancy applies other not-for-profits, including the Nature Conservanto different funding agencies, such as the Trillium Foun- cy of Canada, the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain and dation, to help fund some of its programs. Because the the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment. MWC and the Muskoka Conservancy were related, they were viewed as the same entity by these funding agen- I’m sure that the Muskoka Conservancy will work with cies. There are usually limits to the number of funding the MWC in the future and we wish them continued applications that you can submit, so we have had to take success in providing programs for the Muskoka enviturns applying for funding over the years. As both the ronment. Muskoka Conservancy and the MWC grow, it is better if we can both apply for funding of our programs. Allyn Abbott As a charity, the Muskoka Conservancy is allowed to President do only a very limited amount of advocacy. The MWC Muskoka Conservancy is interested in advocating for the environment so it is


Celebrate Summer M

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Summer Cottage Tour Friday, July 19th Windermere House, Lake Rosseau This summer we will be experiencing the beauty of Lake Rosseau and two spectacular cottages. Travelling on the Wenonah II, we will be departing from, and returning to, Windermere House; we will enjoy a fantastic lunch and admire the view from the legendary resort. Morning $150

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An Evening with Carrick and Rubenstein Friday, August 16th Muskoka Bay Club, Gravenhurst Join Muskoka Conservancy for an intimate and interactive wine and cheese reception with Doug Carrick and Lorne Rubenstein at the Muskoka Bay Club. This is your opportunity to hear from two leading figures in golf course architecture on how golf course design can reflect and honour the environment in which they sit. Reception $95 Golf Packages Available

Golf Classic Monday, August 19th Grandview Golf Club, Huntsville

Tour

MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY OFFICERS

Come out and play the 18 holes of the Mark O’Meara course at the Grandview Golf Club in support of the Muskoka Conservancy.

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

With a shotgun start, lunch on the course and a prime rib dinner, it is sure to be a great day. Join us and support the conservation of Muskoka’s legendary landscape while enjoying one of Muskoka’s legendary courses.

PRESIDENT ALLYN ABBOTT PAST PRESIDENT DAN BROOKS VICE PRESIDENT ISOBEL HEATHCOATE TREASURER ROB PURVES

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

Golfer $275 or Foursome $1,000

Call Christina to reserve your spot at any of our Summer Events 705-645-7393

MUSKOKA CONSERVANCY

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 - Summer 2013