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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to return to live auction in 2023
Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 20, 2023.
The Conservation Dinner Committee looks forward to returning to an in-person live auction and dinner on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at the South Huron Recreation Centre.
Give gift of community in 2022 Christmas season with tickets for Conservation Dinner on April 20, 2023
Conservation Dinner returns in 2023 as live in-person event after two years of online auctions; Organizers announce tickets available; Volunteers invite you to buy tickets as gifts
The Conservation Dinner Committee has announced the Conservation Dinner is to be in person in 2023 after two years of holding the event as an online virtual auction.
“We are extremely excited to be returning to a live auction and dinner in 2023,” said Dave Frayne, Chair of the Conservation Dinner Committee. “We appreciate the support of the public during the two years of online auctions but it will be wonderful to see people in person again and to enjoy the fellowship of the Conservation Dinner.”
Tickets are now available for purchase, according to organizers. The Dinner committee encourages you to give ‘the gift of community’ this Christmas holiday season by buying tickets for the Dinner. Tickets are $100 each. Patrons receive a charitable gift receipt, for income tax purposes, for a portion of that amount.
The Conservation Dinner takes place on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at South Huron Recreation Centre at 94 Victoria Street East in Exeter.
“When you give the gift of a Conservation Dinner ticket, you are giving a ticket to one of the most enjoyable events of the year,” said the Committee Chair. “You and the person receiving the ticket also know you are helping your community.”
There have been 30 Conservation Dinners in person since 1990 and two virtual Conservation Dinners in 2021 and 2022. The Conservation Dinner auction event has raised more than $1.285 million for the community over 32 years.
To buy tickets for yourself, or as a present, or to donate to the 2023 Conservation Dinner, phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Ausable Bayfield Conservation office east of Exeter at 71108 Morrison Line (just south of Highway 83).
About the Conservation Dinner
The Conservation Dinner is a gala charitable auction and dinner. It started in 1990. The event has raised more than $1.285 million over more than three decades for projects in local communities. These projects include accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; making it possible for more students to experience outdoor nature education; 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, Grand Bend; and projects like nature day camps, fishing derby and Owl Prowl, and parks and conservation areas.
The Exeter Lions Club has been co-partner, with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and the watershed community, on the Dinner since 1991. Net profits are split 50-50 between community conservation projects of the Conservation Foundation and community conservation projects of the Exeter Lions Club.
The annual charitable event features live and silent 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 donors, patrons and guests, and volunteers who have made the event a success both in person and, during 2021 and 2022, online.
The committee also thanks all the creative people who have been feature artists over the year in media ranging from paintings to ice sculptures to quilting to metal art to culinary arts to other creative disciplines.
The Conservation Dinner is a partnership of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and Exeter Lions Club.
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 $1.285 million for the community over more than 30 years.
The Conservation Dinner fundraiser supports needed projects, by Exeter Lions Club and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, 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.
Projects supported by the Dinner include community work by the Lions Club and community work by the Conservation Foundation.
These projects, supported by auction sponsors and donors and bidders and volunteers, are many. They 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.
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.
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.
The event is well-attended and is fun for anglers of all ages.
It was great to co-host this event in person again in 2022 and we look forward to 2023.
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 $67,000 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 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.