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15th Annual Carden Challenge

May 24 - May 25

Birding, biodiversity, binoculars…these all come together in the 15th annual Carden Challenge, an event in support of our conservation efforts of the Carden Alvar.

The Carden Challenge will take place from Friday, May 24 at 6:00pm to Saturday, May 25 at 6:00pm.


The goal of the Carden Challenge is simple:

Raise funds to support the stewardship of Carden’s alvar and habitats by counting as many species as possible during a 24-hour period.

  • Competitive Category for the keeners: count as many bird species as possible
  • Recreation Category for the easy going folks: count as many bird species as possible
  • Biodiversity Category: counts birds, mammals, herptiles, butterflies and dragonflies, with bonus points for species at risk.

Fowler Construction will once again be providing lunch for participants at the Cabin on Wylie Road!

The Challenge finishes off with a well-deserved dinner, care of the Lake Dalrymple church ladies. Not to be missed – they make the best pies!

Please register your team with Tanya Clark – tanya@couchconservancy.ca

What is an Alvar?

In an area east of Orillia and northwest of Lindsay, a flat limestone landscape called the Carden Plain harbours rare habitats known as alvars. Alvars occur only on limestone bedrock with little or no soil, where spring floods and summer droughts create harsh conditions. Many of the wildflowers, native grasses and invertebrate species found on alvars normally occur in the western provinces, and many are rare. These habitats are globally imperiled, occurring only in the south of Sweden and scattered around the Great Lakes Basin. Carden Township’s alvars are thought to be among the richest in the province, with a great diversity of alvar species.

Highlights of the 2018 Carden Challenge

  • Almost 230 species counted overall
  • Competitive Birding: Golden-winged Warriors, with 128 species
  • Recreational Birding: Let’s Wing It, with 106 species
  • Biodiversity: Green Snakes on the Plain, 193 points  (99 birds, 12 mammals, 16 herptiles, 16 butterflies, 14 dragonflies, TOTAL 157 species)
  • Over $22,000 raised!


Couchiching Conservancy