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Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation was incorporated in 1974 as a registered, charitable, non-profit organization whose aim is to promote conservation projects in the Ausable Bayfield watershed. As such, the Foundation is a self-governing body with a membership comprised of volunteer watershed residents governed by nine Board of Directors.


  • Dave Frayne, Chair
  • Charles Miner, Vice Chair
  • Bob Radtke, Past Chair
  • Anne Melady
  • Janet Clarke
  • David McClure
  • Robert Norris
  • Roger Lewington
Staff and Advisors
  • Tina Crown, Treasurer
  • Abigail Gutteridge, Secretary
  • Sharon Pavkeje – Foundation Assistant
  • Brian Horner, ABCA General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation seeks the support of individuals, groups and corporations who are interested in contributing toward special conservation projects that will benefit the residents of the watershed.

These donations are greatly appreciated and acknowledged by a charitable receipt.

To make a donation call us at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Donate now:

Mandate - Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation

Download the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) Mandate document:

Conservation Dinner

The Conservation Dinner each year supports the work of the Foundation.

To learn more go to 'Projects' page on this website or visit the Conservation Dinner website:

Coming soon in 2023!

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) is updating the content on its web pages.

Watch for content, coming soon, including:

  • About Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
  • Donations
  • Projects 
  • Commemorative Woods
  • Conservation Education
  • Junior Conservationist Program
  • Student Environmental Award/Bursary
  • Conservation Dinner
  • Accessible Nature Trails and Facilities
  • Environmental monitoring and restoration
  • Morrison Dam Fishing derby
  • Land Acquisition
  • Commemorative Woods Program
  • Fundraising
  • Annual Conservation Dinner and Auction
  • American Friends of Canadian Conservation
  • Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy
  • Introduction/About/Connection between ABCF and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA)/Governance
About Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) is a charitable organization that raises funds to support programs and projects that protect and improve ecosystem health, and all living things in the Ausable Bayfield Watersheds.  

Founded in 1974, the Foundation works closely with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), and other organizations throughout our watershed.

The Foundation is a self-governing body, with Director Membership comprised of up to nine volunteer watershed residents.


Dave Frayne, Chair
Charles Miner, Vice Chair
Bob Radtke, Past Chair
Janet Clarke
Roger Lewington
David McClure
Anne Melady
Robert Norris

Staff and Advisors

Tina Crown, Treasurer
Abigail Gutteridge, Secretary
Sharon Pavkeje, Foundation Assistant
Brian Horner, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer

Contact information:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 
Exeter, ON 
N0M 1S5
519-235-2610; Toll-free 1-888-286-2610

To find out more about the Foundation, its history and initiatives, please download the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) Mandate document:


To donate online, follow the link and choose where you would like your donation to be directed:

 You can also donate by phone or in person.  

Contact Sharon or Abbie at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, or visit us at 71108 Morrison Line.

Cheques should be made payable to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, and  mailed or delivered to: 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 
Exeter, ON 
N0M 1S5

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation accepts donations by e-Transfer. 

If you would like to receive a charitable receipt for income tax purposes please be sure to include your mailing address and/or email address in the e-Transfer message box. 

Please specify if it is for the Foundation and if the donation is for a specific project.

Send your payment to:  

Options for making donations

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation appreciates all donations and provides receipts for income tax purposes for donations of $20 or more. 

There are several reasons and ways to donate: 

  • One-time, monthly or annually; 
  • To celebrate life’s milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or Christmas;  
  • In memory of loved ones. 

Your donations can be put to work quickly for immediate projects or designated for a future project. Donors can also identify a specific project, program or conservation area, or allow the donation to be used as needed.

Here are some ways to donate:

  • Monetary donations are accepted by cash, credit card, debit, cheque or e-transfer. 
  • The Foundation also accepts pledges or donations of property, stocks, bonds, life insurance annuities, or bequests in estates. 
  • The Conservation Foundation and Exeter Lions Club hosts an annual fundraising dinner and auction and seeks donations of services, merchandise or cash. You can support foundation projects by donating to the event or purchasing the items for sale. 
  • Organize a special event to support Foundation projects. 

You can also leave a local legacy through planned giving. Individuals are encouraged to think about a charitable gift through a pledge, will, life insurance, annuity, or publicly-traded securities. Planned giving comes in all sizes, from a few dollars to much larger bequests, yet all are needed to make a lasting difference in your community.

Discuss your wishes with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, financial or estate planner.

Giving Tuesday

We know Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been popular days for shopping and to buy things. As those retail mega-days wind down, we ask you to consider a different kind of day – Giving Tuesday. Giving Day is not a day to buy things ... but to give a gift of a different kind, a gift to nature and to your community.  

Find out more about Giving Tuesday:
Projects supported by the Foundation

As a locally-based organization, donations are used to support local projects. Donation can be used right away or be designated for a future project or endowment fund. Funds raised by the Foundation support many efforts in our watershed, including:

Commemorative Woods 

The Foundation has six commemorative woods across the watershed. These areas are a place for family and friends, as well as funeral homes, to sponsor trees as a living memorial and legacy. Planting a tree can also commemorate special occasions such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays or other events where a long-lasting natural tribute is appropriate. Commemorative woods sites are open year-round for the public to visit. 

Please visit the Commemorative Woods page (pending) to learn more.

Conservation education

The Foundation is a strong supporter of conservation education for youth. Funds contribute to student nature programs, subsidize bussing costs for field trips to conservation areas, and not-for-profit group presentations. These programs teach youth about water, soil, and habitat for living things, and the natural world around them. 

Junior Conservation Program

The Junior Conservationist is an eight-week summer job with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), funded by the ABCF. The student interested in pursuing a career in the environmental field works with each ABCA department to gain a greater understanding of the knowledge, skills and opportunities in the environmental field. 

Student Environmental Award

The $1,000 scholarship is for a graduating secondary school student(s) or enrolled University or College students who will be, or are currently enrolled in post-secondary studies in a conservation field (e.g., biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, outdoor education, etc.). Visit the Student Environmental Award page for more information including the application form. 

Accessible nature trails and facilities

Spending time in nature is important for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Since the 1980s, the Foundation has helped fund accessible nature trails, boardwalks and bridges at several conservation areas. Recent projects include re-decking bridges and boardwalks at Bannockburn Conservation Area and Jones’ Bridge at Morrison Dam Conservation Area. This funding is matched by the Conservation Authority, service clubs, various levels of government and donations. 

Environmental monitoring and restoration

The Foundation provides funding to help several environmental and habitat monitoring programs in partnership with the ABCA.  Some of the programs supported include species at risk turtle monitoring in Port Franks, species at risk fish monitoring in the ABCA watersheds and habitat monitoring in the Old Ausable Channel.  The Foundation has also provided funding for tree planting initiatives, the most recent being the restoration of the Triebner Tract at Hay Swamp.

Morrison Dam Fishing Derby 

Each year the Foundation and Exeter Lions Club contribute financially towards stocking the Morrison Dam Reservoir with rainbow trout for the annual Fishing Derby in April or May. The event is well-attended and is fun for anglers of all ages.

Land Acquisition

The Foundation contributes funding to help purchase environmentally-important lands. The foundation is also able to receive land donations and protect the land in perpetuity. 

American Friends of Canadian Conservation

Are you an American citizen living in Canada? Or a resident of the United States? The ABCF is a partner of American Friends of Canadian Conservation that enables charitable donations to be directed to our local projects. The American Friends organization can provide receipts for income tax purposes. 

Please click here to find out more:

Financial Gifts

Donate online at American Friends’ secure site using your credit card. Set up a recurring gift or simply make a one-time contribution.

You can avoid U.S. capital gains taxes and receive a tax deduction for the current value of your securities by donating stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares to American Friends. (Contact Sandra Tassel at 360-515-7171 or to find out how!)

You may also mail a cheque, in U.S. funds, to:

American Friends of Canadian Conservation
336 36th Street #717
Bellingham, WA 98225

Please print, fill out, sign and send a Grant Recommendation with your cheque to request that American Friends use your donation to make a grant to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. To ensure your gift is tax-deductible in the United States, the language in this recommendation document is needed:

Thank you for your support of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation through our partnership with American Friends.

Gifts of Land

You can conserve your Canadian property through a gift that is tax deductible in the United States of America.

Even if you are a taxpayer of the U.S.A., be sure to know the effects of Canadian taxes. You can learn about bi-national tax incentives by downloading Save Some Green: A Handbook for U.S. Taxpayers  from the Resources section of the American Friends’ website at

To learn more about American donations of land to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, please contact Brian Horner at or phone 519-235-2610, extension 234 (or toll-free 1-888-286-2610).

American Friends of Canadian Conservation contact info:
336 36th Street #717
Bellingham WA 
Phone: 360-515-7171

Conservation Dinner Page

The Conservation Dinner will return to an in-person event on April 20, 2023 at the South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter.

Each year the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation is pleased to partner with the Exeter Lions Club to hold the Conservation Dinner and Auction. The Conservation Dinner fundraiser supports needed projects in local communities. 

The Exeter Lions Club has been a partner for more than three decades in the Conservation Dinner. The Exeter Lions Club, chartered in 1937, is part of the world’s largest and most active service organization. It is a group of service-minded men and women banded together to do things which cannot be done by individuals working alone. The club has actively fundraised for projects including development and maintenance of South Huron Trail, MacNaughton Park, and other nature and conservation projects. These are just some of the examples of their service in action.

This dinner and auction charitable fundraising event started in 1990. Net profits are split evenly between community conservation projects of the Foundation and community conservation projects of the Exeter Lions Club.

The event has raised more than $1.255 million for the community over more than 30 years.

Projects supported by the Dinner include parks and conservation areas; accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; outdoor nature education; a student environmental bursary; a summer job at Ausable Bayfield Conservation; turtle monitoring in Port Franks and Ailsa Craig; aquatic habitat studies in Old Ausable Channel at Grand Bend; and many other projects!

For more information on the 2023 Conservation Dinner as it becomes available, please visit

  • Fundraising Page (Coming soon!)
Raising Funds to Support our Community

Check back soon to find out about Fundraising Events hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation!

South Huron Trail Golf Tournament

For many years, The South Huron Trail Golf Tournament was a charitable fundraiser hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF). Since 2005, the golf tournament raised more than $67,000 towards trail improvements and maintenance. 

Thanks go to sponsors, donors and community volunteers who have made it possible for the tournament to support the popular trail’s health, social, environmental, and recreational benefits. 

For more information on fundraising events in support of South Huron Trail phone 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or email Sharon Pavkeje at

Student Environmental Award

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) offers a $1,000 Student Environment Award for a graduating secondary school student or a student enrolled in university or college.
Picture of Dave and Kirsten

For most recent submission criteria, please consult the most current application form and flyer poster on our page.

Past winners are: Ryan Finnie (2010); Raina Vingerhoeds (2011); Greg Urquhart (2012); Ryan Carlow (2013); Connor Devereaux (2014); Barb Alber (2015); Samantha Bycraft (2016); Marina Lather (2017); Ethan Quenneville (2018); Meghan Glavin (2019) and Kirsten McIntosh (2022).

Eligible students must be between the ages of 17-25, have a permanent address within a municipality of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) watershed, be currently enrolled in university or college, or graduating secondary school and pursuing a post-secondary education in a conservation/environmental related course of study (e.g., biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, agriculture, outdoor education). 

Only students who have a permanent address in the following municipalities are eligible to apply for the ABCF Student Environmental Award: Adelaide Metcalfe, Bluewater, Central Huron, Huron East, Lambton Shores, Lucan Biddulph, Perth South, Middlesex Centre, North Middlesex, South Huron, Warwick and West Perth. 

Submissions can be mailed, faxed or hand delivered to: 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
71108 Morrison Line,  RR 3 Exeter, ON  N0M 1S5
Tel: 519-235-2610; Fax: 519-235-1963 

NOTE: The Selection Committee is the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) Board of Directors. It is at their discretion to award the successful student up to $1,000 based upon the quality of applications and essays received. The ABCF reserves the right to not present the award in any given year. 

Only successful applicants will be contacted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. 

Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy

The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC) was created in 2011 by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, a registered Canadian charity.

The HTLTC is a volunteer organization with a separate board of directors. The Conservancy gives people in the historic Huron Tract area a way to make a positive difference by helping protect and restore land, water, and nature. The Trust owns four properties and is interested in acquiring more. 

The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy gets its name and geographic boundaries from the days of early settlement in this part of Ontario. The Huron Tract was purchased by the Canada Company, an agent of the British government, to be distributed to colonial settlers of Upper Canada.

Land trusts, also known as land conservancies, are charitable organizations that, as all or part of their mission, actively work to conserve land with natural, recreational, scenic, historical or agricultural value. Land trusts accept donations and bequests of land and conservation agreements and in some cases, may purchase land or conservation agreements.

The land is then permanently protected to preserve its conservation, heritage, or agricultural values. Acquisition of properties is subject to board approval and negotiation of management agreements.

Visit for more information.

Commemorative Woods Program Page (Coming soon!)

In 1988, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation established commemorative woods in several communities throughout the watershed, to provide a place for loved ones and events to be remembered by planting native trees.  There are six areas for family and friends to plant trees as living memorials:

  • Clinton Conservation Area – Clinton
  • Klondyke Commemorative Woods – Grand Bend 
  • Klopp Tract Commemorative Woods – between Zurich and Hensall
  • Morrison Dam Conservation Area – east of Exeter
  • Parkhill Conservation Area – Parkhill
  • Rock Glen Conservation Area – Arkona

A sign designates the site and memorial plaques are placed on a signboard for specific donation levels. Plaques are also placed at trees upon request. 

The funds raised contribute to the signage, tree, planting and perpetual care of the area. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is entrusted with maintaining the areas.

Donors can choose from native species of trees such as Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Oak, Pine, Black Cherry, Spruce, Beech, Basswood, Sycamore, and Carolinian species that would do well in the specific area. 

$200 Donation

With a $200 donation, a tree with a minimum 1 inch diameter is planted (or sponsored), and the memorial name is mounted on a signboard at the Commemorative Woods site of your choice.

$750 Donation

With a $750 donation, a tree with a minimum 1 inch diameter is planted with a 4 x 6 inch bronze plaque mounted beside the tree on a metal stake.

A registry book of all memorial donations to the Commemorative Woods is on display at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Administration Centre.  Additionally, a letter acknowledging your donation is sent to the memorial’s family.

Trees planted or sponsored can be chosen from a number of native tree species including: sugar maple, red maple, oak, pine, black cherry, beech, sycamore, spruce and tulip tree.  Staff at Ausable Bayfield Conservation are entrusted with planting and caring for the memorial forest trees.  Trees are typically planted in the spring when the survival rate is highest.

Each year, a Tree Dedication Service is held on the third Sunday of September at 2:00 p.m. at Morrison Dam Conservation Area. This event is held in partnership with Haskett Funeral Homes. Families and friends are invited to this outdoor service, followed by a casual reception under the white pines.

Woodland Reflection Shelter

The Woodland Reflection Shelter at Morrison Dam Conservation Area near Exeter, is a place where one can remember loved ones who are gone, loved ones who are with us, and reflect on nature and pause during a visit to the South Huron Trail. There is a seating area for visitors who wish to spend some time in the tranquil surroundings.

The Woodland Reflection Shelter features a special oak-tree-inspired wall to recognize donors and to commemorate loved-ones on individual oak leaf plaques. Donations cover the cost of the plaques and perpetual maintenance of the area.

The metal tree sculpture and leaves were designed and were produced by local high school students. Thanks to the volunteers, donors, generous local businesses, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation supporters who made this dream a reality. 

Download Woodland Reflection Shelter brochure now to find out about how the community made this project happen – and enjoy the Woodland Reflection Shelter today! 

How to donate:

Donations to Commemorative Woods can be made at a funeral home, or by mail, phone, e-transfer or at the office.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
71108 Morrison Line, R.R. #3
Exeter ON  N0M 1S5