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Conservation Foundation celebrates 50 years

The logo wordmark for Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation with wave and Oak leaf and motto slogan tagline, 'Fostering Partnerships, Supporting Action.'


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation celebrates 50th anniversary in 2024
Local conservation foundation celebrates 50th anniversary on June 1, 2024; Community makes Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation’s work possible thanks to donations, support for fundraising events, volunteering 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) is celebrating 50 years of sustaining healthy watersheds, through active community partnerships, in the Ausable Bayfield area.

The Conservation Foundation received its charter (Province of Ontario Letters Patent) on June 1, 1974. It is the 50th anniversary of ABCF on June 1, 2024. During this 50th anniversary year, the Foundation thanks all the people who support its work.

Dave Frayne is ABCF Chair. “On behalf of the ABCF Board of Directors, I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the work of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation over five decades, to everyone who has supported our fundraisers, and to all the volunteers who have provided their time,” he said. “I would also like to thank the current board of directors and all the community members who have served as directors over the years.”

The ABCF is its own organization with a community board of directors. It is a sister organization to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). The ABCF also supports conservation in Ausable Bayfield watersheds and shares, along with ABCA, the values of protecting water quality, soil health, and habitat for all living things.

Marissa Vaughan is ABCA Chair. She says the Conservation Foundation raises money for conservation improvements in watershed communities and makes many important programs possible that could not happen otherwise. 

“I would like to congratulate Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation on 50 years of support for conservation of watershed resources,” she said. “Our watershed is healthier thanks to the contributions of the Conservation Foundation and everyone who supports its work.”

The ABCF mandate is to raise funds and to provide funds for conservation in the watershed and to acquire and preserve conservation lands and to foster partnerships. The Conservation Foundation’s mission is to foster financial partnerships supporting watersheds. Its vision is one of active community partnerships sustaining healthy watersheds.

The Foundation raises funds for local conservation through fundraisers including the Conservation Dinner, a 34-year partnership with Exeter Lions Club. The ABCF has also established five commemorative woods sites across the watershed area.

The ABCF created the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC), which has its own board of directors, in 2011. Land trusts permanently protect the natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or agricultural importance of properties that are donated by generous donors. The HTLTC permanently protects five properties in the historic Huron Tract area within Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, and Perth counties. These five important natural areas are:  Mayhew Tract, near Holmesville; Bayfield River Flats Natural Area; Woodburne Farm, near Goderich; Heaman Tract, near Ailsa Craig; and Warner Preserve, Grand Bend.

The ABCF has supported many conservation programs over its 50-year history. These programs include subsidies for conservation education programs, a student environmental grant bursary for a local student, a summer conservation job experience program for a local student as Junior Conservationist, and support for habitat improvements and accessible trails and conservation areas. The Conservation Foundation also partners with Exeter Lions Club to stock Rainbow Trout in Morrison Reservoir (Morrison Lake) for the annual family-friendly fishing derby.

We would like to extend our thanks to all the people who have donated to the Foundation and have supported its important fundraising work. 

We also want to thank the current members of the Board of Directors: Dave Frayne, Chair; Charles Miner, Vice Chair; Bob Radtke, Past Chair; Janet Clarke; George Irvin; David McClure; Anne Melady; Roger Lewington; and Robert Norris. 

We would also like to acknowledge the first Directors, of the Conservation Foundation, in 1974: Elgin Thompson (Tuckersmith); Richard Edward Pooley (Exeter); Frederick Lyle Heaman (McGillivray); William John Amos (McGillivray); John Anthony Stephen (Blanshard); Ivan Hearn (Lucan); Freeman Hodgins (Parkhill); John Tinney (Hay); and Roylance Westcott (Usborne). 

We also thank all the other community members who have served on the ABCF Board of Directors over the years. 

f you would like to donate to the work of ABCF, please visit the donation page or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. You may also donate by e-Transfer using the email address.

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