When Nature Canada’s executive director, Ian Davidson, learned about Ontario Nature’s joint venture with the Bruce Trail Conservancy to acquire more than 405 hectares on the Bruce Peninsula to create and permanently protect the Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve, he had a wonderful idea.

Some years ago, Nature Canada received a very generous bequest from Hugo Germeraad to establish the Mrs. Sietske Germeraad Memorial Fund for purchasing land to create a nature reserve. Nature Canada itself does not acquire conservation lands, so it was seeking the best opportunity to put this fund to work. Davidson and Nature Canada’s board of directors agreed that Malcolm Bluff Shores was the right project at the right time and allocated the entire fund to Ontario Nature for the acquisition.

“Nature Canada is extremely proud to support its sister organization, Ontario Nature, in securing an important piece of land in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the Bruce Peninsula. This land acquisition is supported through a generous gift in the will of Hugo Germeraad, in which he expressed a strong wish that the family’s monies be used to secure habitat of exceptional importance for Canadian biodiversity.”

– Ian Davidson, executive director, Nature Canada

This gift from Nature Canada, along with funds from the Ontario government’s Greenlands Program and another very generous bequest to Ontario Nature from Jean Schneider, meant Ontario Nature was able to purchase a 233-hectare parcel – the largest of three spectacular adjoining properties that together constitute the Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve. Fundraising is now in full swing to ensure that Ontario Nature and the Bruce Trail Conservancy acquire the remaining two properties.

Says Davidson, “As the Canadian co-partner in BirdLife International, we are particularly thrilled that the area acquired by Ontario Nature forms part of a major flyway providing important habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors heading to and from their northern breeding grounds.”

Ontario Nature has a long history of partnership with Nature Canada. This recent major contribution toward the protection of Malcolm Bluff Shores is a wonderful symbol of the relationship between our two organizations.

For more information about the Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve project, contact Ontario Nature’s director of development, Kimberley MacKenzie, at 1-800-440-2366, ext. 236, or by e-mail at  kimberleym@ontarionature.org.

Our Member Groups

To date, we have collected more than 2,000 signatures on our Biodiversity Charter, an outline of what the Province can do to stop the loss of biodiversity in Ontario. That so many people have signed the charter is thanks in large part to the efforts of our tireless member groups.

At press time, seven Ontario Nature member groups had collected 341 signatures: the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club submitted 80 names; the Kitchener- Waterloo Field Naturalists, 70; the Nipissing Naturalists, 67; the Stratford Field Naturalists, 49; the Orillia Naturalists’ Club, 29; the Midland-Penetang Field Naturalists, 28; and the West Humber Naturalists, 18. These efforts bolster the call in the charter for all levels of government to stop the loss of the plants, animals and ecosystems on which all of us depend.

At Ontario Nature we believe that the growing number of signatories demonstrates that many people feel passionate about protecting biodiversity. According to the Ontario Biodiversity Council’s 2010 report, The State of Biodiversity in Ontario, species are declining and habitat loss is increasing, especially in southern Ontario. We know that southern Ontario has lost more than 70 percent of its wetland habitats since 1800, 98 percent of its original grasslands and approximately 80 percent of its forests. There are 186 alien species in the Great Lakes alone, and more than 200 of the province’s native plants and animals are now classified as at risk. In the north, the annual period for which ice covers southern Hudson and James bays has decreased by almost three weeks since the 1970s; this shorter period of ice cover is believed to be the main cause of a 22 percent reduction in the western Hudson Bay subpopulation of polar bears.

Ontario Nature is still collecting signatures for the charter. We will present our “20/20 Vision” to the premier and ministers on May 22, International Day for Biological Diversity. We need your help to meet our goal of doubling the number of signatories by the time we submit the charter. A groundswell of public support will help prevent biodiversity from disappearing from the political agenda.

More information about Ontario Nature’s 20/20 Vision for biodiversity is available on our website, www.ontarionature.org/biodiversity. While you are there, take a moment to join our efforts and add your signature if you haven’t already.