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Ontario Nature Staff and Volunteers Plant 750 Trees

For Immediate Release

Tree planting event, Sydenham River Nature Reserve © Alyssa Stephens

Sydenham, ON, October 24, 2022 – During the weekends of September 24th and October 1st, Ontario Nature and volunteers have successfully planted 750 trees at the Sydenham River Nature Reserve. Their restoration efforts will help transform agricultural fields into Carolinian forest habitat. Joined by Hon. Monte McNaughton (MPP of the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding), Ontario Trillium Foundation, members of the Lambton Wildlife Inc. and Sydenham Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature celebrated another year of conservation success at the nature reserve. This was also an opportunity to recognize the $53,000 SEED grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that supported this initiative.

“I applaud this award from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to Ontario Nature to restore a forest ideally located to establish Carolinian tree species that are becoming rare in our Province,” said Monte McNaughton MPP Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. “The Sydenham River Nature Reserve is found in a part of Lambton County quite close to where I grew up. I look forward to the day when the trees are well-enough established to allow Ontario Nature to make paths through this bush so that everyone might have the opportunity to learn from and enjoy this unique landscape.”

Ontario Nature acquired 195 acres of ecological significant property on the Sydenham River in 2016 to establish the Sydenham River Nature Reserve. In 2021, the charity’s members and supporters rallied once again to support the acquisition of a 100-acre property, expanding the nature reserve and protecting more mature forest and wetlands. Ontario Nature has been working to restore the property to its natural state.

This spectacular property protects one of Ontario’s most biodiverse waterways. The Sydenham River hosts the richest collection of freshwater mussels in Canada and functions as an important refuge for many species at risk, such as endangered cerulean warblers and red-headed woodpeckers. It saves a ribbon of extraordinary diversity of plants and animals in a region that is under intense pressure from development driven by hosting 25 percent of the Canadian population.

“The astounding biodiversity remaining within the Sydenham River watershed – despite intense development pressures – is a testament to the resiliency of nature. But it needs our help. Restoration work will increase connectivity within the region and increase habitat for rare species. By engaging the community every step of the way, this area will be a haven for future generations of humans and wildlife alike,” said Smera Sukumar, Conservation Science and Stewardship Director.

The habitat restoration project was undertaken with the financial support by the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Lambton Wildlife Inc., Sydenham Field Naturalists and Ontario Nature members.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Since 2020, OTF has supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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For more information or media inquiries, contact:

John Hassell, Ontario Nature
Director of Communications and Engagement
johnh@ontarionature.org | 416-786-2171

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. A charitable organization, Ontario Nature represents more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 155 member groups across Ontario.