Dear fellow nature lover, 

Don’t forget to get outside with us this summer! From a Digital BioBlitz to raising your voice for protected areas to celebrating nature’s conservation heroes, it’s a busy summer with Ontario Nature that you won’t want to miss. And thank you, as always, for being a member!

New snake project – get involved today

Thanks to the more than 400,000 records submitted to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas by members and nature lovers like you, we have noticed a number of trends that we plan to investigate further. Some critical knowledge is lacking for two species in Haldimand-Norfolk – the eastern foxsnake and the gray ratsnake. Ontario Nature and Natural Resources Solutions are partnering to explore the current habitat and range for these species. You can help by submitting your sightings of these and other species, using the new atlas app. Your observations are sent directly to the team in the field! Through this project, researchers hope to understand the full distribution of foxsnakes and ratsnakes within the Haldimand-Norfolk sub-population. Download the app today!

What do we want? More protected areas!

When do we want them? Now! Our government has promised to protect 17% of our land and inland waters through well-connected networks of protected areas by 2020. And today, we’re only at 11%. It’s time for leadership and action! Stand with Ontario Nature today – and the species you love – and call on our government to create more protected areas! Creating protected areas helps maintain clean air and water, conserve species diversity, secure places to explore nature, capture and store carbon and buffer the impact of climate change. Please add your voice by making your gift today. Thank you!



Taking action in the boreal 

Special thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting our conservation initiatives in northwestern Ontario. Our Boreal Program has received a seed grant to explore and expand approaches for engaging local people in ecosystem conservation efforts. We are sharing information on the benefits of forest certification (e.g., Forest Stewardship Council) and the importance of setting some areas aside from industrial development as part of managing lands sustainably. Our focus is on providing opportunities for direct, hands-on involvement in identifying species, collecting data, and making decisions about the values and areas that should be protected. So far, we have connected with over 2,500 people! 

Join us in Jamaica – new dates added! 

Due to the popularity of our first tour, we are pleased to offer a second adventure in Jamaica with Quest Nature Tours November 29 – December 7, 2017! Join us in this ideal destination to discover the flora and fauna of the tropical Americas. As a Caribbean island, it has its own special flavour punctuated by many endemic species found nowhere else. Expect to encounter many North American breeding songbirds, endemic plants and various reptiles and frogs as well. Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s executive director and Ann Haynes-Sutton, a conservation ecologist who has spent her working life in Jamaica, will be the tour leaders. This special small group tour promises an intimate and eye-opening view of a Caribbean gem. Space is limited so book now!

A year in review

As we continue to forge ahead with our conservation work this year, in June we celebrated the achievements from the past year at our 86th Annual Gathering at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre in Innisfil. With many members and nature lovers in attendance, it was a great weekend enjoying time outdoors, and reflecting on the past year’s achievements thanks to Ontario Nature members and supporters. Read our 2016-2017 Report to Donors with highlights from our work over the past year and what lies ahead. The weekend was also an opportunity to recognize the 2016 Conservation Award winners!

 Ontario government releases updated land use plans

On May 18 Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro, released the newly updated Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Greenbelt Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. While the province is moving the yardstick in the right direction, we have identified some significant concerns. Check out our blog to see a recap of what we’re pleased with, what we’re disappointed with and what’s coming next. Thank you to everyone who raised their voice to help us speak up for nature during this process! Sign up to receive our Action Alerts and stay informed as we continue our campaign to protect the region’s water, nature and communities.

 Open now – Youth Summit registration

The Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership is fast approaching on September 22-24. Taking place at YMCA Geneva Park on Lake Couchiching, this is an engaging event for young people to participate in interactive workshops and activities, leadership forums and connect with like-minded peers from across the province. It is a fun, enriching and memorable weekend that youth love. Registration is now open! Please share this opportunity with youth in your community so they can participate. If you’re a youth looking to share your love of nature and enjoy time outdoors with friends, please join us this year! If you would like to sponsor a young person to attend, please contact Sarah Hedges, conservation and education coordinator, at or 1-800-440-2366 ext. 241.

Join our Digital BioBlitz! Just download the new atlas app, look for reptiles
and amphibians in your backyard and beyond, snap a picture and submit your sightings to help reach
our goal of 6,000 submissions by July 31st! Happy herping!



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Images top to bottom: Joe Crowley, Laura Paxton, D Kaposi CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Noah Cole, Joe Mabel CC BY SA 2.0, Brendan Toews