Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Support Dave in the 2020 Carden Challenge!

2020 05 23 towhee2Hello to all the dear readers of my stories,

This is a unique column as I am asking you for a financial donation towards a very special environmental organization. The Couchiching Conservancy is a land trust that acquires and looks after land throughout the north end of the Lake Simcoe Watershed. There are almost 50 properties now designated as Conservation Land, which together compromise just under 14,000 acres. And it takes a whole heap of money to look after these properties.

The usual annual fundraiser, called the Carden Challenge, has been severely altered this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. It has traditionally been a friendly challenge between birdwatchers to ‘compete’ against each other to find as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period, while being sponsored by people who would donate a certain amount per species found. This event often brought in $20,000 or more a year to support stewardship activities on the Carden Plain.

This year, this important event is continuing but with a few ‘pandemic’ rule changes: teams can go birding with family members only and will stay within a five-mile radius of their own backyard.

With that preamble, let me introduce you to Team Ivory-billed Woodpeckers! We are three couples who have been involved with the Couchiching Conservancy since its inception 27 years ago! Like the legendary ivory-billed woodpecker, we are sometimes hard to find these days but still hammering away and getting things done in the background.

Our team consists of:

David and Juliana Hawke

Jamie and Anne Ross

Gord and Jane Ball

Starting at 6 p.m. on May 29 and going to 6 p.m. May 30 we will be observing and tallying every critter we can find that is living near our backyards (this year we will be looking not only for birds, but also for mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibian species as well).

Now the really important part: how to sponsor us!

Step 1: Determine how you would like to sponsor our Team… so much $$ for each species we can tally… or a flat rate sponsor.

Step 2. Let me know via email to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. that you are supportive of this challenge and the manner of your pledge ($ per species or $ flat rate).

Step 3. I will e-mail you our results on June 1 and let you know at that time how to submit your pledge. Tax receipts will be sent out.

If you would like to know more about The Couchiching Conservancy, please check out the website at:

THANK YOU for considering to donate… I look forward to hearing back from you!

Dave Hawke

Photo: Towhee by David Hawke



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