skip to main content

Foundation Projects

Commemorative Woods

In addition to providing scenic greenbelts and aesthetic landscapes, commemorative tree groves have long been recognized by family and friends as living memorials of the departed.

Commemorative plantings also provide a lasting reminder of occasions such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays or other events or occasions where a long lasting natural tribute is appropriate.

Working in harmony with funeral directors of the area and through an agreement with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) has established five commemorative planting areas throughout the watershed. Haskett Funeral Homes Ltd., M. Box & Son Funeral Home and J.M. McBeath Funeral Home have partnered with the Foundation to contribute to this fund.

Ausable Bayfield Commemorative Woods are located at:

  • Clinton Conservation Area - Clinton
  • Klopp Commemorative Woods - between Zurich and Hensall
  • Rock Glen Conservation Area - Arkona
  • Morrison Dam Conservation Area - Exeter
  • Parkhill Conservation Area - Parkhill

An attractive sign is at each site designating the grove. The trees are planted by conservation authority staff in the spring, when the survival rate is highest. Donors can choose from native species of trees such as Sugar Maple, Ash, Oak, Pine, Cedar, Spruce, and Carolinian species that would do well in the specific area. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority is entrusted with maintaining the areas.

Individuals can direct donations for any amount through a funeral home or directly to the Conservation Foundation for the Commemorative Woods fund. An acknowledgment is sent to the family and a charitable receipt forwarded to the donor. A dedication service is held annually for families and friends at Morrison Dam in cooperation with Haskett Funeral Homes and at Klopp Commemorative Woods in partnership with J. M. McBeath Funeral Home.

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.

Other donation options for the Commemorative Woods are:

  • $200 Donation
    A minimum one-inch calliper 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 calliper tree is planted with a bronze sign mounted by the tree on a metal base.
  • Tree Groves
    The Morrison Dam Commemorative Woods is expanding and we are looking for sponsors to establish tree groves. Talk to us about this unique opportunity by phoning 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610.


Conservation Dinner

The Conservation Dinner has raised more than $1.2 million for nature, recreation, and conservation projects in local watershed communities.

The success of this local community charitable auction is thanks to you, thanks to generous local businesses and donors, to patrons and guests, to artists and volunteers.

Contact us for tickets or to become a donor and/or patron by phoning 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail us through our contact form or or write to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, 71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 Exeter, ON N0M 1S5.

For more information visit: Conservation Dinner  page or

The Conservation Dinner is a project of the Exeter Lions Club and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. The net profits are shared 50:50 with the Exeter Lions Club.

The annual charitable gala live and silent auctions of art, hand-crafts, sports and entertainment memorabilia, travel and accommodation packages, experience packages, jewellery, and much, much more are in addition to special raffles and general raffles. It makes for one of the social events of the season.

This is a community event of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and the Exeter Lions Club. 

Each year the Dinner Committee coordinates more than 250 donations and 400 patrons as guests for the event.

Local projects supported by the Conservation Dinner include parks and conservation areas; accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; busing for students to experience outdoor nature education programs; a $1,000 student environmental bursary benefitting students in local communities; a summer job at Ausable Bayfield Conservation for a senior secondary school student; turtle monitoring and events in Port Franks and Ailsa Craig; aquatic habitat studies in Old Ausable Channel at Grand Bend; and other projects such as nature day camps, Owl Prowl; and a popular, family-friendly fishing derby offering recreation and nature appreciation for youth.

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.

Friends of the South Huron Trail Golf Tournament

The Friends of 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 MacNaughton-Morrison Section 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 Friends of the South Huron Trail Charitable Golf Tournament.

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

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation was incorporated in 1974 as a registered, charitable, non-profit organization that promotes accessible trails and other conservation projects in Ausable Bayfield watersheds.

New Pedestrian Bridge along the South Huron Trail

Building a bridge to a safer, more active community

The use of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron trail has increased and vehicle traffic on Morrison Line seems to have increased as well. This two-lane municipal road was the only way for people to link the north and south sides of the MacNaughton-Morrison and Morrison Dam Conservation Area sections of the South Huron Trail. The speed limit has been reduced and trail crossing signs have been installed. Safety has been increased even more with the creation of Jones Bridge, a new pedestrian bridge that was built downstream of Morrison Dam.

From 2015 to 2018, the Friends of the South Huron Trail Charitable Golf Tournament funds supported project for a new pedestrian bridge on the South Huron Trail.

This generous watershed community reached the capital fundraising goal of more than $300,000 for this project. More is still needed to make this dream a reality.

The pedestrian bridge was installed downstream of Morrison Dam in late 2018 and it is open for use. The donor recognition pergola is now in place to thank you for your generosity. The Brian Clarke memorial stairs have been built. Donations are still welcome to support the legacy preservation fund for Jones Bridge.

Donations to the Jones Bridge project, made directly to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, 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 dedicated community volunteer, conservationist, Exeter Lions Club member and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation director.

Conservation Education Fund

The Foundation is a strong supporter of conservation education for youth. Funds that have been raised by the 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, hands-on environmental programs, teaching youth about 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.