skip to main content

Foundation Projects

Commemorative Woods

In 1988 the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) established five commemorative woods across the watershed. These areas are a place for funeral homes and family and friends to plant trees as a living memorial and legacy. Groves are located at:

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

A sign designates the site and memorial plaques are placed on a signboard for specific donation levels. Planting a tree can also commemorate special occasions such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays or other events where a long-lasting natural tribute is appropriate.

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. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is entrusted with maintaining the areas.

Donation Options

Individuals can make donations for any amount through a funeral home or directly to the ABCF for the Commemorative Woods. An acknowledgment is sent to the family and a charitable gift receipt for income tax purposes is forwarded to the donor.

General Donation

Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted and can be specified for any Commemorative Woods site. These general donations are used to provide care and support at the site in perpetuity. 

$200 Donation

A minimum one-inch diameter tree is planted with the name of the recipient mounted on the sign at the Commemorative Woods location of your choice.

$750 Donation

A minimum one inch diameter tree is planted with a bronze sign mounted by the tree on a metal stake.

Haskett Funeral Homes (Exeter, Lucan, Zurich, Seaforth)

As part of their commitment to the families they serve, a contribution is made to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation to plant memorial trees throughout the Ausable Bayfield watershed area as a lasting tribute and living legacy. A tree dedication service is held on the third Sunday in September at Morrison Dam Conservation Area for families and friends.

A complete registry of all donations is on display at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority administration office located at Morrison Dam Conservation Area, 71108 Morrison Line, east of Exeter.

Conservation Dinner

Conservation Dinner Committee sets April 7, 2022 as date for local fundraiser next year 
Committee asks you to put date in your calendars, watch for more information in new year on event

The Conservation Dinner Committee held the community fundraiser as an online event, in 2021, for the first time. The Dinner Committee hopes guests will be able to gather in person again in 2022.

The Conservation Dinner has supported projects in local communities for more than 30 years. The Dinner Committee has scheduled the fundraising event for Thursday, April 7, 2022. The committee invites you to mark this date in your calendar and to watch for more information in the new year. 

The Chair of the Conservation Dinner Committee is Dave Frayne.

“We encourage people to put the April 7, 2022 date in their calendars,” he said. “We will work towards an in-person gathering,” he said. “We also want to keep everyone safe so we will follow public health and municipal direction and have the Dinner in person only if and when it is safe to do so.”

The 2021 #VirtualConservationDinner was a success, Frayne said, having raised $40,000 for conservation programs in the community. He said the Committee is looking forward to the prospect of fundraising and fellowship together in person in 2022. There is a continued need to raise funds for community projects of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and Exeter Lions Club, the Dinner Chair said.

“We encourage people to donate to the work of the Dinner,” he said. “The Conservation Dinner supports parks and trails and conservation areas; conservation education for local youth; job experience and bursary programs for youth; turtle habitat and much more.” Personal donations made now, this year, can be made and charitable gift receipts for income tax purposes provided for the 2021 tax year. 

The 2022 Conservation Dinner is scheduled to take place on April 7, 2021 at South Huron Recreation Centre at 94 Victoria Street East in Exeter. Holding the event in person will require pandemic adaptations and it will depend on the status of public health rules in 2022 and will also depend on municipal rules at that time.

The Dinner Committee will post information at and in the new year, closer to the date, as more details are confirmed.

The Conservation Dinner fundraiser supports projects in local communities. Projects include parks and conservation areas; accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; outdoor nature education; a $1,000 student environmental bursary for students in local communities; a summer job at Ausable Bayfield Conservation for a senior secondary school student; turtle monitoring in Port Franks and Ailsa Craig; aquatic habitat studies in Old Ausable Channel at Grand Bend; and other projects.

This dinner and auction started in 1990. The Exeter Lions Club joined as co-partner in 1991. The net profits are split 50-50 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 over more than 30 years. The annual charitable event features auctions of art and other distinctive items including travel packages and sports and entertainment memorabilia. The Dinner also includes special raffles, general raffles, appetizers, wine tasting, fun and fellowship, and a wonderful meal.

The Conservation Dinner Committee thanks all the creative people who have been feature artists over the year in media ranging from paintings to ice sculptures to metal art to culinary arts to other creative disciplines.
You may find out more at and or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Leave a Local Legacy

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation believes in planting trees and protecting, through ownership, the lands identified as important wetlands, Carolinian forest areas and areas of natural and scientific interest.

Individuals are encouraged to think about a charitable gift through a 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 and in our watershed's environment. Discuss your wishes with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, financial or estate planner.

Fishing Derby

Each year the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and Exeter Lions Club contribute financially towards stocking the Morrison Dam Reservoir with between 700 and 800 rainbow trout for the annual Fishing Derby in April or May.

The event is well-attended and is fun for anglers of all ages.

The 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled.

For changes to dates and Notices of Service Disruptions visit this web page:

South Huron Trail Golf

The South Huron Trail Golf Tournament is a charitable fundraiser hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF).

Local volunteers started the golf tournament which has raised more than $50,000 towards creation, improvements, and maintenance of the South Huron Trail. Community volunteers have continued to be vital to the tournament’s success since Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation took over the reins.

Thanks go to sponsors and donors who have made it possible for the tournament to support the health, social, environmental, and recreational benefits of the popular trail. The organizing committee invites businesses or groups to be event sponsors. Organizers of the tourney say the golf tournament is a “FUNdraising event” with an emphasis on fun.

For more information visit: and South Huron Trail Golf Tournament.

For more information phone 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or email Sharon Pavkeje by visiting our staff contact page.


Jones Bridge - New Pedestrian Bridge along the South Huron Trail

Building a bridge to a safer, more active community became a reality in late 2018 when the Jones Bridge was installed downstream of Morrison Dam. This new pedestrian bridge offers walkers and cyclists an alternative to using the busy two-lane municipal road when on the trail.

In the spring of 2019 a pergola, with benches, stairway with deck and connecting trails were built to access the bridge, thanks to generous community donations. When crossing the bridge, stop in the pergola and read through the names of the generous donors who contributed more than $300,000 towards the capital fundraising goal. 

A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held on April 28, 2019 to officially open the Jones Bridge. 

Future donations made to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation will support the Jones Bridge legacy preservation fund and are eligible for charitable gift receipts for income tax purposes. 

The bridge is called Jones Bridge as it is dedicated by Donna Jones, in loving memory of Ted Jones, who was a long-time community volunteer, conservationist, Exeter Lions Club member and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation director.

Conservation Education Fund

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation is a strong supporter of conservation education for youth. Funds that have been raised by the Conservation Foundation have contributed to the success of the former Sylvan Conservation Program at Camp Sylvan and Nature Day Programs offered to students of all ages. 

Special opportunities to support conservation education are available. Through generous donations you help maintain and operate terrific, active programs, teaching youth about water, soil, habitat for living things, and the natural world around them.


Student Environmental Award

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) is offering a $1,000 award for graduating high school student(s) or enrolled University or College students who will be, or are currently enrolled in post-secondary studies in a conservation field (i.e. biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, outdoor education, etc.

Students must be between the ages of 17-25, have a permanent address within the boundaries of the Ausable-Bayfield watershed, be currently enrolled in University or College, or graduating High School, and pursuing a post-secondary education in a conservation/environmental related course of study (i.e. biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, outdoor education, etc.). 

Immediate families of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Staff, Board of Directors and Foundation members are ineligible.

Only students who have a permanent address in the following Municipalities, who live within the boundaries of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed are eligible to apply for the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation Environmental Award:


Accessible Nature Trails and Facilities

Development of accessible nature trails began at Rock Glen Conservation Area with the 'Wheels to Nature' project. Since then, there have been accessible boardwalks and fishing docks built at Morrison Dam and Bannockburn. 

The Annual Friends of the South Huron Trail Golf Tournament continues to maintain the MacNaughton Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail, which was a major project of the community, supported by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.

Junior Conservationist Program

The Junior Conservationist is an eight-week position with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). It is funded by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) and offered each summer to a selected student interested in pursuing a career in the environmental field.

Woodland Reflection Shelter

The Woodland Reflection Shelter 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.

Thanks to the volunteers, donors, generous local businesses, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation Supporters who made this dream a reality.