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'Innovative' approach nets Couchiching Conservancy Freshwater Hero award

'This army of dedicated environmentalists is critical to work of the Conservancy,' noted officials in awarding local group's citizen science volunteers
Meagan Coughlin and Jamie Ross with Freshwater Hero award
Board President Jamie Ross and Volunteer Meagan Coughlin are proud that the Couchiching Conservancy has been awarded the 2019 Freshwater Heros award.
Freshwater Future, a cross-border organization working to protect the Great Lakes, has awarded The Couchiching Conservancy the 2019 Freshwater Heros award for their, “innovative and progressive approaches to land and water conservation and stewardship.”

“Whether it’s collecting water samples from area creeks, listening for evening frog calls on a nature reserve, or attending community events as ambassadors, this army of dedicated environmentalists is critical to the work of the Conservancy,” wrote Freshwater Future in their spring newsletter.

“We are honoured to accept this award on behalf of our citizen science volunteers,” said President of the Board, Jamie Ross.

“The program was developed in 2015 so we could treat the Nature Reserves like research stations: What is happening in our region? What species are present? Which ones are absent?” Ross said. “It has been an important land stewardship tool for the Conservancy and has become an important pathway for volunteers to actively participate in conservation efforts,” he added.

In 2019, the citizen science program is funded through the generous support of Environment Canada, The Yousseff-Warren Foundation, the estate of Sheila MacFeeters, the Angela Rehhorn Citizen Science Fund, and Canada Summer Jobs.

There are currently 150 citizen science volunteers participating in seven monitoring activities at 38 Conservancy Nature Reserves throughout Simcoe County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Freshwater Future is the only watershed-wide organization dedicated solely to supporting the needs of community-based groups and actions working to protect and restore Great Lakes land and water resources.

About The Couchiching Conservancy:

The Couchiching Conservancy is one of the leading regional land trusts in Ontario. A non-government, charitable organization, it has helped protect over 13,000 acres of important natural habitat in the Lake Couchiching region since 1993.

Wherever possible, the lands are accessible to the public for the responsible enjoyment of nature. Learn more at

About Freshwater Future:

Freshwater Future’s vision is a strong and effective environmental community working to protect and restore the Great Lakes and its many waters by involving residents in civic decision-making. This community will be coordinated among citizens, community groups, state/provincial, regional and national groups in a way that creates synergy for the protection and restoration of our Great Lakes region.

Learn more at



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