Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Ontario Nature, one of the province's most prominent conservation organizations, held a Rally for Nature at Queen's Park Wednesday, Sept. 21, where the organization announced its Charter for Biodiversity.

More than 6,000 people across Ontario have signed onto the charter, asking the provincial government and all candidates running in the October election to stop the ongoing loss of biodiversity in Ontario.

Speaking at the Rally for Nature were Tim Grant of the Green Party, Rosario Marchese with the NDP and Sarah Thomson of the Liberal Party in addition to Caroline Schultz, executive director of Ontario Nature. Each candidate described what actions their party would take on behalf of endangered species and important habitats.

Over the past two centuries, southern Ontario has lost more than 70% of its wetland habitats, 98% of its original grasslands and approximately 80% of its forests. More than 200 plant and animal species in Ontario are now classified as species at risk. Habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, pollution and over-consumption of natural resources drive the decline of biodiversity, understood as the variety of all life on earth.

"As a society, we cannot allow the ongoing degradation of Ontario's important landscapes, plants and animals," Schultz said. "The health of our population depends on the health of our ecosystems. We need decision makers to take meaningful steps towards the conservation of our woods, water and wildlife."

The Biodiversity Charter for Ontario outlines 10 ways the province can stop the loss of wild species and wild spaces by 2020. These steps include supporting the establishment of a network of natural areas across southern and eastern Ontario; adopting an approach to conservation so that common species remain common; and reducing the release of contaminants through meaningful implementation of the Toxics Reduction Act and the Toxics Reduction Strategy.

Courtesy Ontario Nature

In a few weeks, Lake Simcoe area residents have the opportunity to tell the Ontario Liberal government what we think of their environmental stewardship, and whether we think another party would do any better in power.

What questions would you like to ask the candidates in the Lake Simcoe area?

Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and they will be posed to the candidates in ridings around the Lake Simcoe Watershed.

Great Lakes United says plans that would have expanded shipping in the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes have been scrapped.

Ontario Streams has launched a new environmental program called “Adopt-A-Stream” with a $165,300 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The initiative has been designed to raise environmental awareness and engage the public and area businesses in local stewardship.

Local MPP Dr. Helena Jaczek and Ontario Trillium Foundation volunteer Paul Howe joined staff and Board of Directors from Ontario Streams, which is heading up the initiative, for the launch Aug. 17 at the Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve, a 108-hectare area just northwest of Newmarket, in King Township, York Region.

"Ontario Streams has done a great job in raising awareness and engaging the public in the importance of environmental stewardship. This Trillium grant will allow them to continue the great work they do for our community and for our environment," said Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham.

With this three-year grant, Ontario Streams is now actively seeking out 25 partnerships and Adopt-A-Stream groups within the first year of the initiative to spread environmental awareness and education throughout communities in York Region and Simcoe County. Funds from the grant are being used to hire a program coordinator, help with key program costs and to help with the cost of equipment for staff.

"Today starts a new chapter in Environmental Stewardship in Ontario. In three years we are confident that we will be announcing the expansion of the Program across Ontario, thus fulfilling the "Ontario" Streams mandate. We must all remember the adage, 'We all live downstream!' " said Bob Giza, an Ontario Streams board member and co-founder of the Adopt-A-Stream program.

Established in 1995, Ontario Streams is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of streams and wetlands, through education and community involvement.

Since its inception, it has worked closely with numerous communities, landowners and school groups to develop lasting partnerships in education and environmental stewardship. It regularly has several projects on the go which include tree planting, debris and garbage clean-up, habitat creation, bio-engineering, biological monitoring, mitigating fish barriers as well as restoring and creating wetlands.

For more information on Ontario Streams, please visit the website at:

Background info:
Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve,
York Region, Ontario, Canada
Description of the woods:
The Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve is located just northwest of Newmarket in King Township, York Region. It is 108 hectares or 268 acres and is 50% woodland. Just north of the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve’s rolling hills and forested ridges are a refuge for wildlife.

Under the protection of Ontario Nature since 2003, the property is a valuable green space in a rapidly developing area of Ontario. It is identified as being a key natural area in the York Region Greening Strategy. The reserve also falls within the context of the Ontario government’s new Greenbelt system.

Surrounded by intense agricultural and urban development, the reserve provides refuge to a variety of wildlife. The most notable feature of this property is the diversity of habitats it encompasses. The property hosts a large tract of mature hardwood and mixed forests. Enormous beech trees rub shoulders with tall maples and hemlock. A small wetland area, dominated by birch trees and larch, is part of the larger Ansnorveldt wetland complex.

Part of the West Holland River watershed, the property boasts two creeks. White-tailed deer, red fox, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks and great horned owls are just a few of the residents that call this nature reserve home.













Ontario Streams officials accept a plaque from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The people in the photo (left to right) are: Township of King Mayor, Mr. Steve Pellegrini; Ontario Streams’ Field Supervisor, Doug Forder; Ontario Streams’ President, Michael Giza; MPP for Oak Ridges - Markham, Dr. Helena Jaczek; and Ontario Trillium Foundation Representative, Paul Howe.



The Town of Innisfil launched its third solar project on Thursday, Aug. 18, throwing the switch on a 10-kilowatt, free-standing solar panel that tracks the sun during daylight hours.

The electricity generated by the solar panel, located behind the town’s old administration building at 2147 Innisfil Beach Rd., will be purchased from the town by the Ontario Power Authority for 64.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. This will create an estimated $9,000 in profits for the town every year, which will be added to general revenue and will help subsidize local taxes.

The panel was installed through the partnership between Innisfil Hydro and the Town of Innisfil.

“This forward-thinking solar power project, in partnership with Innisfil Hydro, is a great step towards long term energy sustainability for the Town,” says Barb Baguley, Mayor of Innisfil, who attended the switching on ceremony.  “This project shows that the town is clearly actively going ‘beyond the hour’ which was Earth Hour’s challenge for all 2011 participants.”

The solar project was funded by a dividend declared by Innisfil Hydro’s affiliate company, Innisfil Energy Services Ltd. Grasshopper Solar Corp. was awarded the project in a tendering process.

George Shaparew, president of Innisfil Hydro says: “We’re excited to be partnering with the town of Innisfil on this initiative.

There are about 35 solar projects hooked up in Innisfil — there were only 27 mid-July. There are also more than 100 applications to install solar projects, compared with just 70 in mid-July.

This is Innisfil's third solar project: the other two are the Hwy. 400 sign at Innisfil Beach Road and an installation at the Cookstown branch of the Innisfil Library.

Pictured below at the switching on ceremony are:
(L- R) Councillor Bill Loughead, Councillor Maria Baier, Mayor Barb Baguley, Councillor Doug Lougheed, Innisfil Hydro president George Shaparew and Shamor Paul of Grasshopper Energy. Photo courtesy Town of InnisfilInnisfil_solar

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