Our vision is an Ontario where nature inspires and sustains us for generations to come. We are the voice for the protection of wild species and wild spaces in the Ontario.
Our success today is due to the hard work of the men and women who realized the need for an organized conservation group in Ontario. The idea began to take shape thanks to the dedication of A.F. Coventry, Henry Carl Nunn, J.R. Dymond and T.F. McIlwraith. On February 17, 1931, Dymond proposed founding the group (then called the Federation of Ontario Naturalists) to the Brodie Club – at the time the leading naturalist organization in North America.
The Federation of Ontario Naturalists was officially created on May 15, 1931 with a total of 7 affiliated clubs and 28 individual members. We have come a long way since then and are proud of how our legacy has shaped conservation in the province.
Ontario Nature and its Youth Council play a lead role in convincing the provincial government to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, a group of pesticides known to be harmful to pollinators.
As part of a broad collaborative effort, Ontario Nature helps to secure the passing of the Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015, aimed at stopping strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).
Ontario Nature’s Youth Council releases two videos highlighting pollinator conservation.
In partnership with ALUS-Canada and community groups, Ontario Nature engages over 40 farm families in new wildlife habitat creation projects in Elgin, Grey-Bruce, and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties.
Ontario Nature ensures that the revised Provincial Policy Statement 2014 includes a requirement to identify natural heritage systems across southern and eastern Ontario.
As part of the Cornerstone Standards Council, a voluntary certification system, Ontario Nature works with industry leaders, environmental organizations and community stakeholders to approve the Responsible Aggregate Standard, setting the bar for sound environmental and social practices.
Ontario Nature’s Youth Council launches its pollinator campaign and delivers over 1,200 signed postcards to Queen’s Park.
Ontario Nature adds 40 hectares to its Lost Bay Nature Reserve, a biodiversity hotspot of mature forests and provincially significant wetlands on the Frontenac Arch.
Ontario Nature’s Boreal office team successfully secures a place for forest and freshwater food in Ontario’s Local Food Act, recognizing the value of ‘wild’ foods such as berries, fiddleheads and venison.
Together with Wildlands League and Ecojustice, Ontario Nature launches a lawsuit against the provincial government in opposition to industry exemptions under the Endangered Species Act that was ultimately unsuccessful.
Ontario Nature secures two new properties that together protect almost 80 additional hectares forever: Sauble Dunes Nature Reserve at the base of the Bruce Peninsula, and Reilly Bird Nature Reserve in the upper Ottawa Valley. These acquisitions bring the total number of Ontario Nature Nature Reserves to 24.
Ontario Nature works closely with the provincial government to draft effective policies and regulations to support implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007.
Working in partnership with the Boreal Songbird Initiative and other conservation groups, Ontario Nature helps collect 60,000 signatures petitioning the federal government to protect the boreal forest, described as a songbird nursery.
As part of Campaign Lake Simcoe, Ontario Nature helps to secure passage of the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008 to curb urban development and improve the water quality of the lake.
Ontario Nature plays lead role in the formation of the ALUS Alliance, to create broad support for the Alternative Land Use Services approach to incentivizing habitat creation on farm land.
As part of the Save Ontario Species Coalition, Ontario Nature plays a lead role in securing the new Endangered Species Act, 2007.
Ontario Nature publishes a series of brochures on the Greenbelt and Your Health in partnership with the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
Ontario Nature proudly celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Ontario Nature plays a lead role in securing the new Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006.
Ontario Nature collects 1,500 letters asking the Province for a new Endangered Species Act.
Ontario Nature submits 1,200 postcards to the provincial government asking for boreal forest protection.
Members submit more than 2,300 postcards to the Premier, urging full protection for Ontario’s provincial parks, conservation reserves and aquatic areas under the anticipated provincial parks legislation.
FON’s work results in the passage of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, protecting almost 195,000 hectares of land on the moraine from urban development.
FON represents more than 20,000 members and supporters and over 110 community-based naturalist clubs and environmental groups.
Seasons wins its first National Magazine Award (Gold).
FON’s nature reserve system doubles in size in one year with the expansion of Altberg Nature Reserve near Peterborough and the acquisition of Baptist Harbour on the Bruce Peninsula.
FON expands its campaign to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine and submits a joint application with other groups for a review of the laws and policies applicable to the development of the moraine.
More than 2,500 people respond to the Oak Ridges Moraine campaign by joining FON, making a donation or becoming an Advocate for Nature.
The Nature Network increases to 105 member groups.
The Partnership for Public Lands campaign protects 2.4 million hectares in 378 new parks and conservation reserves in northern and central Ontario.
FON launches a campaign to protect and restore southern Ontario’s woodlands.
The Ontario Forest Accord balances environmental conservation interests with the long-term well-being of northern communities and the forestry industry.
FON participates in the largest conservation purchase in Ontario’s history with acquisition of 16,000 hectares (6,000 acres) of Manitoulin Island’s alvar coast.
As part of this purchase, Quarry Bay becomes FON’s 18th nature reserve.
FON plays a lead role in securing the cancellation of Ontario’s spring bear hunt.
Howard Krug bequeaths Kinghurst Forest, southwest of Owen Sound, to FON. At 240 hectares, Kinghurst is the best remaining fragment of old-growth upland forest in southern Ontario – protected forever as the 17th FON Nature Reserve.
FON wins an award for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Education from the Ontario Society for Environmental Education.
More than 1,500 people arrive at Queen’s Park to participate in the Portage for Wilderness, a call to encourage the government to create new parks and protected areas in northern Ontario.
FON, Wildlands League and World Wildlife Fund-Canada join to form the Partnership for Public Lands to campaign for the completion of the provincial parks system.
More than 2,000 members participate in FON’s natural history trips.
FON joins the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment in a campaign to eliminate aggregate mining from the escarpment.
FON is instrumental in putting pressure on the government to cancel the duck hunt in Point Pelee National Park.
FON’s joint proposal results in the passage of “Untaxing Nature,” a policy that gives landowners a fairer tax structure if they opt to preserve private lands, and which will encourage agencies and non-governmental organizations to acquire land.
FON reaches 15,000 members – a 33 percent increase in one year.
FON grows to 10,000 members
The Young Naturalist’s circulation totals nearly 26,000, and the magazine’s three editorial board members are all volunteers.
FON’s paid staff totals two – Jim Woodford and Gerald McKeating.
The Ontario Naturalist publishes an editorial titled “Polar Bear National Park,” which eventually leads to the creation of the provincial park.
FON’s Ban the Wolf Bounty campaign calls for the full protection for wolves inside provincial parks.
FON launches the Battle of the Bulldozer campaign and raises $20,000 to purchase one of its first nature reserves, Dorcas Bay, on the Bruce Peninsula.
FON’s volunteer-run Nature Reserves Committee leads to the creation of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
A FON committee leads to the creation of the Bruce Trail Association.
FON has 3,500 members.
FON launches The Young Naturalist magazine.
Membership hits 3,000.
The Bulletin (successor to Circular) advocates for the protection of wetlands.
FON champions the protection of natural heritage on Lake Erie’s shore leading to Long Point, Turkey Point, and Hawk Cliff provincial parks.
FON’s Nature Network grows to 32 affiliated clubs and 1,650 members.
Along with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Conservation Council of Ontario, FON begins action to protect all birds of prey in the province.
The Ontario Parks Act is passed, largely due to the efforts of FON.
FON’s first executive director, Dr. Bill Gunn, a biologist and sound recordist, is hired.
At the “Guelph Conference,” FON leaders, along with the Ontario Conservation and Reforestation Association, launch the Conservation Authority system in Ontario.
FON distributes its first publication to Ontario schools urging the protection of wildflowers.
FON launches its first nature camp at Camp Franklin on Franklin Island in Georgian Bay.
FON publishes a study of the Oak Ridges Moraine, calling for its reforestation.
FON persuades the Government of Ontario to restore protection for eagles and ospreys.
FON begins to document the decline in wetlands in southern Ontario.
FON is incorporated on July 12.
FON proposes the establishment of a complete system of parks and nature reserves in Ontario.
Sanctuaries and the Preservation of Wildlife in Ontario, an FON report, leads to the designation of wilderness areas in Algonquin Park and a nature reserve at Point Pelee National Park.
At the first field day in Hamilton, participants identify 67 bird species.
Clark and Nora Locke build Locke House, FON’s future home, on old Leslie Street in Toronto.
Circular, FON’s newsletter, published to educate members and provide information about projects.
Through the hard work and dedication of early naturalists – especially A.F. Coventry, Henry Carl Nunn, J.R. Dymond, and T.F. McIlwraith – seven clubs and 28 members create the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (FON).
FON’s first president, W.E. Saunders is selected.
A special committee urges that wildlife – game or otherwise – be considered the property of all citizens and that wildlife reserves be established.
Show us that you value nature from behind your lens. Submit an original nature photo of an Ontario species or natural area for a chance win. The top three finalists will be featured in in our award-winning magazine, ON Nature.