News & Events

Engaging New Canadians with Nature Program - Successes and Learnings Webinar

 

When: Friday, October 14, 2022 @ 10:00am – 11:00amLocation: ZoomCost: Free to Land Trust Members and Associates; $45 for non-membersDescription: Are you interested in developing a program to engage new Canadians? Join OLTA staff, and our partner organizations, in this online webinar to learn about our Engaging New Canadians with Nature program! We will share an overview of the program, exciting events we’ve developed, our learnings, and future opportunities for similar programs. This webinar is based on the Experiential Learning Guide that OLTA staff developed earlier this year to share successes and opportunities for this program.About this program… Engaging New Canadians with Nature is a program in partnership with CultureLink and supported by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, to empower newcomers to Canada to connect with and learn about nature and conservation in Ontario. In the first two years of this program, OLTA conducted 12 interactive nature events, collaborated with 8 nature organizations and engaged over 200 newcomers. Continuing the success of this program, we have secured funding for a third year!Join us to learn about this program and how you can develop a similar program for New Canadians near you! For webinar details and to register, click here.

OLTA turned 20th years old July 2, 2022!

Ontario Land Trust Alliance turned 20 years old this July!! We are incredibly grateful for the 20 exceptional years we’ve worked with the land conservation community in Ontario and our land trust members.

It is amazing to think how much the land conservation movement in Ontario has changed over the years and how land trusts, and our land trust heroes, have contributed to these positive changes.

A short history…
Some impactful groups in Ontario that influenced the land trust landscape (pun intended!) date back to the early 1980s with the formation of the National Heritage League. This group was active until around the 1990s and once this dissolved, several active members created a committee of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now known as Ontario Nature) to continue furthering the conservation work of Ontario land trusts and non-profit conservation groups. In 1997, this became the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance (ONTA), with 14 founding members.

By mid-2001, with a membership of 23 land trusts, it was decided to fully incorporate as the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA Inc.); the letters patent for OLTA were approved on July 2, 2002, and OLTA became the official provincial association for the Ontario land trust movement!

Now, OLTA has a strong network of 36 land trust members, 5 associates and many partnering organizations, with an impact of protecting more than 110,000 acres of significant natural lands across Ontario!

When incorporated in 2002, OLTA was a small group of incredible and dedicated volunteers, including Stew Hilts, Dave Walker, Paul Peterson, Ron Reid, Ian Attridge, and Andrea Kettle, to name a few. Where would OLTA be without all your enthusiasm and commitment to the land trust community?

Now in 2022 we have a staff team of nine (see picture below, on the left), including our lovely and long-serving bookkeeper Jean. We coordinate research, initiatives, and programs covering the full range of land conservation topics for land trusts. Our team is thankful for the support of hundreds of volunteers and supporters, and an amazing, diverse, knowledgeable, and utterly committed board of Governors (below, on the right).


During our anniversary preparations, we heard wonderful stories of how OLTA has impacted the journey for Ontario’s land trust community. From providing government relations support, fieldwork expertise, learning and training resources, increased funding opportunities, and informative and connection-building annual gatherings, OLTA has had a far reaching impact on our land trust members and partner organizations. In turn, all our land trust members, partner organizations, volunteers, and supporters have impacted us immensely and make the land conservation community tremendously influential and far-reaching. We want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has been, and continues to be, part of the land trust community and OLTA’s journey over the past 20 years. We couldn’t do this work without you!

In the coming months, we plan to share stories and pictures from our land trust members, interesting insights into our collective impact and an interactive story map! In addition, stay tuned for an anniversary celebration event this fall!

This July, we are filled with joy and appreciation for the strong community we have, and how far we have come in the past 20 years. HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLTA, and here is to another 20!!

Thank you for your continued support,

 

Alison Howson, Executive Director

Upcoming Conserving Species at Risk (CSAR) webinars and first aid training

Eastern Whip-poor-will Monitoring Training

Date: Friday, June 3, 2022 @ 11:00 AM – 12:00 PMCost: Free for members and associates; $40 for non-membersDescription: The Eastern whip-poor-will is a species at risk bird that is currently listed as Threatened in Ontario and federally. Join us for a virtual webinar on Friday, June 3rd to learn more about the Eastern Whip-poor-will and how to monitor for the species on your properties and help guide on the ground actions to protect the species. Register here.

Bat Monitoring Training

Date: Friday, June 10, 2022 @ 1:00 PM – 2:00 PMCost: Free for members and associates; $40 for non-membersDescription: Join us on Friday, May 27th, 2022 for a virtual session to learn more about Ontario’s bat species and the acoustic monitoring techniques that can be implemented to collect bat biodiversity data to help guide stewardship actions to benefit Ontario’s species at risk bat populations. Register here.

Wilderness First Aid Training

Date: TBDCost: $210/person + HST (only available to members and associates)Description: Interested in taking a Wilderness First Aid training course? OLTA is organizing Wilderness First Aid Training in person, in the Greater Toronto Area (location and date TBD). If you are interested in participating in this training, please reach out to OLTA’s Conservation Science Manager, Morgan Roblin (morgan.roblin@olta.ca).

Ontario's Upcoming Election is the Opportunity to Protect Nature Across the Province

A recent news release on Ontario Land Trust Alliance shares:

Over 110,000 acres of significant natural lands and sensitive wildlife habitat having been protected through the actions of Ontario’s land trusts. Ontario has a strong track record of protecting land that has critical biodiversity, natural heritage, and agricultural benefits. Over the last 50 years Ontario governments have played a vital role in protecting important parcels of land, including the Greenbelt, the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment, new provincial parks and parts of the far North.

The protection and restoration of the green spaces in our communities can mitigate the effects of climate change, provide cleaner air, and water and significantly improve the overall well-being of Ontarians. The protection of land will also improve important linkages between trails or natural heritage systems in all areas of the province and help Canada reach its goal of 30 per cent protected land by 2030. Climate mitigation and biodiversity are vital to maintaining a healthy planet.

This upcoming provincial election, we’re calling on the government to build on its commitment and work with the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to protect an average of 3,000 acres in every region and county in the province. This will double the amount of land protected by land trusts in Ontario. To support this effort, we are asking the province to invest $80 million over the next 10 years. This could be matched with $160 million from land donations and individual donors, foundations and other public funding – matching federal support.

“There’s no better time to empower Ontarians to protect the delicate ecosystems in our communities that cannot be replaced,” said Alison Howson, Executive Director, Ontario Land Trust Alliance. “Protecting green spaces is important for every candidate in every riding across the province.”

With provincial support we can protect over 100 endangered species, enhance recreational and hiking connections, support carbon sequestration and provide Indigenous peoples with opportunities to protect land that benefits their communities and interests.

“Thames Talbot Land Trust has ambitious plans for land conservation in the Carolinian Zone, one of Canada’s biodiversity hotspots. We need nature now more than ever – for wildlife to thrive, for climate change mitigation and for healthy communities,” said Daria Koscinski, Executive Director, Thames Talbot Land Trust. “The Ontario Land Trust Alliance is a strong voice advocating for and supporting our work through training, services, and collaborative projects that make a big impact across Ontario.”

Supporting land trusts is key to protecting the nature we all love and value in our communities. OLTA is committed to working with the next Ontario Government to continue Ontario’s legacy of protecting our forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers for our future generation.

Visit NewsWire for the official media release!

OLTA is Hiring! Canada Summer Jobs Edition

OLTA is hiring a Conservation and Restoration Technician and a Communications Specialist.

Conservation and Restoration Technician

Job Description:

Support OLTA’s Conserving Species at Risk and Fee for Service programs. The employee will work directly with OLTA staff and land trust partners to assess properties, undertake targeted species at risk inventories, develop action plans and undertake stewardship activities to support species at risk recovery. Activities may include ecological field surveys, stewardship activities and outreach activities. In addition, the employee will help with general tasks to support the organization including event planning and communications.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct biological surveys for Species at Risk
  • Communicate and organize site visits with OLTA member organizations
  • Help organize and run outreach events for the public
  • Undertake other activities to support OLTA such as, attend events, develop communications, and assist with other programs

Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of biology/ecology and Ontario species at risk
  • Experience undertaking fieldwork under a range of adverse environmental conditions
  • Good health and fitness, we will be accessing some sites with no trails
  • Valid Class G driver’s license and access to a car is necessary
  • Good communication skills, both written and oral
  • Excellent organizational and problem–solving skills
  • Eligible for funding from Canada Summer Jobs
  • Knowledge of Ontario reptiles, bats and birds in particular is preferred, but not necessary. It is preferred if the employee is willing to obtain rabies vaccinations before the job starts if they are not already vaccinated.
  • Ability to swim is preferred as some fieldwork may involve wading in deep water and accessing sites by boat

Employment Type:

This is a full-time position initially for a period of 8 weeks, with the possibility of extension. The position is based at the OLTA office in downtown Toronto (currently remote working). Hours are flexible with core working hours of 10:00am to 3:00pm for full-time staff. Regular travel within Ontario is anticipated. Volunteers are also welcome to apply for this position.

 

Communications Specialist

Job Description:

The Communications Specialist will report to the Executive Director and will assist with all matters related to marketing, marketing plans, event coordination, communications and media relations activities for OLTA members, stakeholders and training programs.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with our Engagement and Communications staff to write communications content, compile articles and features, write emails, as well as edit and assist with the production of the monthly e-newsletter
  • Conduct research of our land trust members, compile data as needed and develop communications content based on this data
  • Assist with showcasing OLTA and OLTA’s land trust members’ programs, events and impacts through emails, newsletters and social media
  • Update and maintain OLTA’s website and data management system as needed
  • Design graphics for social media, website and OLTA’s newsletter
  • Support the work of other OLTA staff on proposals, communications and community outreach projects
  • Help build OLTA’s presence within the GTA
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications:

  • Experience/training in marketing and communications
  • Excellent verbal and written skills; excellent editing skills
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills, ability to multi-task and meet overlapping deadlines
  • Computer skills, including working knowledge (ideally) of Adobe Design Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, website Content Management System (CMS), WordPress and social media pages including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Ability to make the most of limited budgets; some experience working with the charitable sector is an asset
  • Personal use of computer is preferable

Employment Type:

This is a full-time position initially for a period of 8 weeks, with the possibility of extension. The position is based at the OLTA office in downtown Toronto (currently remote working). Hours are flexible with core working hours of 10:00am to 3:00pm for full-time staff. Volunteers are also welcome to apply for this position.

 

Other Requirements:

  • Must have access to a home office workspace, as well as high-speed internet and adequate bandwidth, as working from home will likely be required
  • Should you be a successful candidate for a position, you will receive a conditional offer of employment contingent on your providing us with proof of full vaccination. If you are seeking an exemption from vaccination due to the application of the Ontario Human Rights Code, you will be required to provide satisfactory evidence of the reason for such an exemption upon receipt of the conditional offer

To Apply:

BIPOC applicants are encouraged to apply. We openly welcome and invite applications from persons with disabilities and those protected by the human rights code and will provide accommodation during all stages of the recruitment and hiring process, upon request.

If you are interested in joining our team, please submit a cover letter and your resume (PDF) to admin@olta.ca, indicating Conservation and Restoration Technician or Communications Specialist in the subject line. Deadline for both applications is May 29, 2022 at 5:00pm.

Applications will not be accepted by fax and/or regular mail. No phone calls please.

OLTA thanks all applicants for their interest; however, only those being considered for an interview will be contacted.

Meetings for Volunteer-led Land Trusts and Land Trust Board Members - Meeting #2

Calling volunteer-led land trusts and land trust board members! Join us for Meeting Number #2

OLTA is continuing our regular Meetings for Volunteer-led Land Trusts and Land Trust Board Members. These virtual sessions will be an opportunity to come together with other volunteers working across Ontario who are leading land trusts. They are an opportunity to discuss, brainstorm, collaborate and learn about Land Trust topics of interest. Please reach out to our Educational Services Coordinator, Lauren Draaistra at lauren.draaistra@olta.ca with any questions or if you are interested in sharing your financial statements as examples for discussion.Meeting #2: Thursday, May 19th @ 5:00pm – 6:00pm (ET)

Description: The meeting will be a continuation of the forum for treasurers, board members and volunteers interested in learning more about land trust finance. An agenda will be provided, to those registered, prior to the meeting.

Register: here

Virtual Learning Series on Board Education

We are also developing a virtual learning series focused on board education. Each webinar will be an opportunity to come together with other land trusts and learn with and from other volunteers.   During the sessions, we will be joined by experienced facilitators who will provide an introductory presentation on each webinar topic. There will be time for questions and answers to clarify and optimize learning. Please find information on each webinar below, you must register separately for each event using the provided links. After registration, you will receive additional event information, including Zoom details.  ​Note that these webinars are free to OLTA members.  Webinar #1: Land Trust Board and Donor Development Webinar When: Monday, April 25th @ 12:30pm – 1:30pm (ET) Description:  Join us for a peer-to-peer-led webinar focused on fundraising for Land Trust Board Members. This lunch-time chatsession will be led by Peter Welles, who is an OLTA Vision Award recipient. Peter was the founding President of The Kensington Conservancy, where he served in that capacity for 10 years. He will be leading this conversation in a volunteer-to-volunteer learning style, bringing his over 50 years of “board years” of experience. Peter has worked with conservation organizations in both the US and Canada, where he has picked up many fundraising best practices. Peter’s passion is demystifying fundraising for volunteers like himself to help land trusts secure the resources necessary for their success. By the end of the webinar, you will be able to understand the difference between gifts that help, gifts that impact, and gifts that transform. With this knowledge, you will be able to better develop strategies within your organization. This session will have time for engagement and questions.

Register Here 

Webinar #2: Land Trust Governance Refresher Webinar  When: Tuesday, April 26th @ 1:30pm – 3:00pm (ET) Description: Join us to learn more about board governance for a land trust. This session is designed to engage everyone involved with land trust board governance. It provides a quick update on the latest wise governance thinking for experienced board members AND introductory training, or a refresher, on the roles and responsibilities within governance. Experienced board members are encouraged to attend to enhance their ability to mentor and support newer directors. Both board and staff members will gain a deeper appreciation of how intentional, effective governance can serve to advance your important missions. And Jane Garthson has courageously volunteered to answer as many of your governance questions as time allows!

Register Here

 

Please share this message with any board members and volunteers you think might be interested in joining these sessions.

Breeding Bird Atlas-3 Information Session

When: March 10 @ 1:00pm – 2:00pm ETDescription: This session, presented by Mike Cadman, will include a description of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas project, which is a huge new volunteer-based inventory of the province’s birds, taking place from 2021 to 2025. The results of the project will update our knowledge of the distribution, abundance and status of the 300 or so bird species that nest in the province. If you are interested, there may be a role for you in providing data to the project or in having atlas participants do surveys on your property. Register Here.About the Presenter:Mike Cadman has been a Songbird Biologist for Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region, since 1992. Much of his professional life has been devoted to breeding bird atlases. He coordinated Ontario’s previous two atlas projects (1981-1985 and 2001-2005) and co-edited the resulting books, and is coordinating Atlas-3. He currently chairs the Canadian Breeding Bird Atlas Committee.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The intent of the day is to reflect upon and commemorate the legacy of residential schools, murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and to become more aware of our collective responsibilities to Truth and Reconciliation with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities.

In recent years, Canadians have begun working towards Truth and Reconciliation with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. While there is much left to do, all Canadians must be committed to working towards resolving the harm and traumas of Indigenous peoples and communities by listening, learning and working together to take meaningful action.

No matter who you are or where you’re from, you can take peaceful and respectful actions to help make a better Canada for Inuit and First Nations and Métis people.

Learn more about Canada’s colonial history and the injustices faced by Indigenous communities. We must learn and educate ourselves.

We encourage everyone in the land trust community to learn more about how you can actively take steps towards Truth and Reconciliation. Find resources to help you on your journey under Indigenous Learning Resources

Climate Change Adaptation Series

OLTA’s Climate Action Working Group is hosting three free online sessions to discuss and share perspectives about land conservation and climate change. These sessions will include speakers from diverse backgrounds from Ontario, the USA and Australia. The webinar series focuses on building climate resilience and adaptation with an emphasis on the role of land stewardship and conservation practices.

This series is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Connection Grant.

Keynote Presentation – Thursday, September 23, 2021 @ 1:00 PM (EDT)

  • Megan Leslie, President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund Canada

International Panel – Wednesday, October 13, 2021 @ 8:30 AM (EDT)

Panelists:

  • Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist, Queensland Australia
  • Kelly Watkinson, Land and Climate Program Manager, Land Trust Alliance
  • Adena Rissman, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Register here.

Ontario Panel – As part of the OLTA Gathering on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 @ 1:00 PM (EDT)

Panelists:

  • Gary Pritchard, 4 Directions of Conservation Consulting Services
  • Kerry-Ann Charles, Environment Partnership Coordinator, Cambium Indigenous Professional Services
  • Dan Kraus, Director of National Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada
  • Janet Sumner, Executive Director, Wildlands League

Register here.

National Land Trust Organization - Presentation to Land Trusts

September 9, 2021

With renewed interest from the land trust community, a working group with representation from all regions of Canada where land trusts work, and strong Alliance collaboration, now is the time to create an organization that provides a national voice for the Canadian land trust community.

The Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia, Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and Réseau de milieux naturels protégés, along with the Canadian Land Trust Working Group and other stakeholders, have been working towards establishing a Canadian National Land Trust Organization – the Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts (ACLT).

Representatives from land trust across Canada were invited to learn about our progress, next steps, and to provide feedback at presentations hosted by the alliances on July 7th and July 8th, 2021.

Interested in learning more about our plans to form a national organization to serve land trusts across Canada? Check out the recording below of the English presentation led by Alison Howson (OLTA’s Executive Director). Presentation slides are available here.

 

Southern Ontario Nature Coalition Calls for Protecting Nature in Canada’s Near-Urban Areas

Southern Ontario Nature Coalition Calls for Protecting Nature in Canada’s Near-Urban Areas

Final Reports Released with Key Recommendations and Calls-to-Action that Will Help All Levels of Government Protect Biodiversity

 

Toronto, July 22, 2021: With support from the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario, the Southern Ontario Nature Coalition (SONC) has released its Final and Technical reports, sharing important insights and opportunities generated through its ground-breaking Near-Urban Nature Network project. A Solution to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss: The Final Report provides key recommendations for federal and provincial governments and community-oriented calls-to-action, which will help all levels of government to protect near-urban nature across the country.

 

The dual crises of climate change and rapidly accelerating biodiversity loss have spurred international action, including investments from the Government of Canada to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent by 2030. These commitments are important steps in the right direction and will help us advance meaningful protection of Canada’s biodiversity, including in near-urban areas, which are critical to environmental sustainability and contain some of the country’s highest levels of species biodiversity.

 

“Southern Ontario urgently needs policies that allow nature to thrive alongside people,” says Geoffrey Burt, CEO, Consecon Foundation. “Progress will require across-the-board collaboration from governments, conservation groups, Indigenous Communities, and private landowners. The SONC report makes an important contribution in this respect, by providing a timely framework for protecting nature where Ontarians live. Its findings are relevant to the protection of near-urban environments across the country.”

 

The Final Report uncovers timely opportunities to incorporate the protection of near-urban nature into federal, provincial, and municipal biodiversity, climate change, and agricultural policies and programs. Recommendations also include a call for consistent funding to establish and maintain near-urban nature networks across the country. Importantly, capacity funding is also recommended to support Indigenous Communities and Peoples in participating in protection efforts and exercising their responsibility to care for the land and waters, and continue cultural traditions and ways of life.

 

“The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of our connection to natural areas,” says Peter Kendall, Executive Director, Schad Foundation. “Unlike ever before, Ontarians are looking to local natural areas for recreation and sustenance, for connection with family, and for a place to reset.

Starting with the creation of Algonquin Park in 1893, Living Legacy in 1999, and more recently the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, Ontario has a long history of conservation leadership,” explains Kendall. “However, we urgently need more action from governments and conservation partners to ensure that our natural spaces remain intact for future generations. We commend the SONC report for bringing greater focus to this critical work.”

 

These reports are the result of an unprecedented examination of options for protecting nature in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)—Canada’s most rapidly urbanizing region. As regions like the GGH grow in population (the GGH is expected to be home to as many as 15 million people by 2051), so does the need for enhanced protection of greenspace, a critical factor in the mental and physical health of residents.

 

“Protecting nature near Canada’s urban centres is critically important but there are unique challenges and a need for innovative solutions in regions such as the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” says Edward McDonnell, CEO, Greenbelt Foundation. “Ensuring near-urban areas are part of the larger federal effort to protect natural spaces across the country was the focus of analysis and recommendations being released in SONC’s Final Report. We hope that the results of this collaborative process will inform coordinated approaches to the protection of near-urban nature across Canada—in manner that balances urban growth with the urgent need to improve climate resilience and conserve biodiversity.”

 

To read A Solution to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss — the Full and Technical reports — please click HERE. To read a Backgrounder with key recommendations and calls-to-action please click HERE.

Ontario Coalition Identifies Opportunities for Protecting Nature in Canada's Most Developed Areas

May 05, 2021

Toronto, May 05, 2021, the Southern Ontario Nature Coalition (SONC) has released A Solution to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, a short summary report of solutions for protecting near-urban nature across Canada. These solutions will help Canada meet federal biodiversity and climate targets while conserving important near-urban areas as part of larger federal efforts to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s lands and waters by 2025 and to set the stage for 30 per cent by 2030. Federal, provincial, and local initiatives will all benefit from new solutions that help conserve near-urban biodiversity and improve climate resilience close to densely populated regions.

Key strategies uncovered by the SONC report include building on Ontario’s Greenbelt—a world-leading example of near-urban natural systems protection, which sits at the centre of important ecological zones in southern Ontario. Protection of near-urban nature requires multi-jurisdictional approaches given fragmented ownership and diverse interests. To be successful, dedicated funding will be required for innovative projects, as well as to support capacity for Indigenous Peoples and Communities to engage meaningfully.

While protection of near-urban nature is challenging, the governments of Canada and Ontario have supported SONC in completing an unprecedented examination of options for protecting nature in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)—Canada’s most rapidly urbanizing region. SONC is establishing a Near-Urban Nature Network that uses an ecological (“cores and corridors”) systems approach and Indigenous perspectives. These efforts will be critical to the success of conserving biodiversity and creating climate resilience in southern Ontario, while also providing social and economic benefits for a region that is home to one in four Canadians.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of the importance of connecting with nature – for our health, well-being, and for our communities,” says the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Having access to green spaces is a significant part of our plan to create a healthier future and today’s summary report is a critical step in protecting more nature in Southern Ontario and across the country.”

Near-urban nature is comprised of the forests, river valleys, wetlands, farmland, and other ecological features that surround and intersect urban communities. In the GGH, near-urban nature contains some of the highest levels of biodiversity in Canada, with more species-at-risk than anywhere else in Ontario. It also provides important ecosystem services, including flood control and water filtration. In this region alone, near-urban nature provides $3.2 billion worth of such services. These areas face unique risks and could be lost within decades if coordinated action is not taken.

“Our government is proud to support and invest in the work of the Greenbelt Foundation and its partners to create a Near-Urban Nature Network,” says Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “We share the goal of protecting and enhancing the Greenbelt, as outlined in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, and practical solutions like these to protect and enhance the resilience of important natural areas in near-urban areas will mean more sustainable greenspaces for future generations to use and enjoy.”

SONC is a coalition of experienced provincial, regional, and community-based conservation organizations, land-based policy experts, and Indigenous engagement specialists. Lessons learned to date are outlined in the summary report, A Solution to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, and will be expanded upon in a full technical report to be published in June.

“In rapidly urbanizing regions, like the Greater Golden Horseshoe, near-urban nature is at imminent risk from pollution, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change,” says Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Building on Greenbelt Foundation knowledge and expertise, SONC is poised to support all levels of government in balancing growth needs with protection of near-urban natural areas in order to sustain a healthy population and environment. Solutions we develop in southern Ontario will support work being done all across the country.”

Immediate next steps SONC would like to take:

  1. Provide capacity support to Indigenous Communities and Peoples so that they may participate in near-urban nature protection.
  2. Map wildlife movement corridors.
  3. Provide input to Ontario’s Working Group on Protected Areas, including opportunities to use new designations called “Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures” and “Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.”
  4. Build awareness of new federal protection measures.
  5. Partner with the Government of Canada to implement the Two Billion Trees Commitment in southern Ontario.
  6. Engage public and private landowners to take action in their own communities.

To read the summary report, A Solution to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, including key findings, click HERE.

For the full project backgrounder, click HERE.

Ontario Expanding the Protection and Preservation of Green Spaces

March 15, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $20 million over the next four years in the Greenlands Conservation Partnership to help secure land of ecological importance and promote healthy, natural spaces. The funding will enable the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to conserve, restore and manage natural areas such as wetlands, grasslands and forests. This initiative will help mitigate the effects of climate change, a key commitment in the province’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and increase the number of conserved natural spaces for the public to enjoy.

“We are expanding the amount of conserved green space across the province, not only to help preserve the environment, but to promote physical activity such as hiking and improving our mental health,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By taking this approach, our government will be leaving a magnificent legacy for the benefit of future generations. It has been wonderful to be working with outstanding conservation leaders like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to achieve our shared goals.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance are doing important work in Ontario to protect the environment and safeguard our lands and water. With this new partnership, they will be able to use private donations and funds from other non-provincial sources to match the $20 million provincial investment to secure new privately-owned natural areas across the province and restore and manage these properties.

The following projects are among those that will directly benefit from the Greenlands’ funding:

  • Rice Lake Plains Natural Area, to foster the return of native grasses and wildflowers, along with native species including grassland birds and insects,
  • Alfred Bog in the Ottawa Valley, to protect wetlands in the largest high-quality bog in Southern Ontario,
  • Saugeen Bruce Peninsula Natural Area, to conserve some of the richest biodiversity in the Great Lakes area,and
  • Frontenac Arch, to protect one of the most important forest corridors in North America.

“With the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is pleased to work with the Government of Ontario as well as our partners and donors to ensure that Ontario’s special places are protected and conserved for future generations,” said Mike Hendren, Regional Vice President Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Through this partnership, we are helping to ensure the province’s natural areas remain a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

“The Ontario Land Trust Alliance is very grateful for the leadership shown by the Government of Ontario in supporting community land conservation,” said Alison Howson, Executive Director, Ontario Land Trust Alliance. “This support will provide real measurable benefits to highly sensitive, highly biodiverse, threatened habitats and ecosystems such as those found in Southern Ontario. The support shown by the province will help to provide big wins for nature, and community connection to nature across Ontario.”

See the full news release here.

Articles from 2020

Global Heroes Magazine Feature

December 15, 2020 

Check out OLTA’s feature in the December issue of Global Heroes, North America’s premiere positive news magazine. The article highlights the amazing work of our community of land trust heroes across Ontario to protect the land we all love and depend on. You can read the full article online here.


Greenlands Conservation Partnership – Announcement

November 6, 2020

Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) welcomes yesterday’s announcement that the Government of Ontario will make a significant investment to “preserve more areas of significant ecological importance, protect natural areas and promote the importance of healthy, natural spaces.”

The investment $20M over 4 years to support land conservation and stewardship, will be matched by OLTA and our partner organisations, Nature Conservancy of Canada and community land trusts at a ratio of at least 1:1.5. OLTA is pleased to see the importance of community land conservation supported in the budget. This initiative will establish areas of newly protected land and freshwater, especially in southern Canada where nature and wildlife faces the greatest pressures and where the majority of land is privately owned.

“The Ontario Land Trust Alliance is very grateful for the leadership shown by the Government of Ontario in supporting community land conservation. This support will provide real measurable benefits to ecosystem protection. Support for community land conservation provides significant positive impacts to highly sensitive, highly biodiverse, threatened habitats and ecosystems such as those found in Southern Ontario. The support shown by the Ontario government will help to provide big wins for nature and community connection to nature across Ontario.” – Alison Howson, Executive Director, Ontario Land Trust Alliance. 

Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) empowers and supports highly effective, well-governed land trusts that engage their communities. OLTA builds capacity through training and educational programs; connecting land trusts to each other, resources and their communities; leading and supporting on-the-ground conservation work; sharing knowledge and best practices, reducing financial barriers to land conservation and promoting organizational excellence. Our impact is Ontario-wide through 50 connected charities and communities.

OLTA’s local land trust members currently collectively own and steward over 108, 000 acres across Ontario, with the support of thousands of volunteers annually.

More information will be coming in early 2021 as this new partnership develops.


OLTA Newsletter

July 27, 2020

Our monthly newsletter is filled with information to keep you engaged in protecting Ontario’s land, water, and wildlife. We cover topics on recent conservation news, OLTA news, OLTA member land trust news, upcoming events & opportunities. Find our most recent July newsletter here.


 

Articles from 2019

OLTA celebrates the Natural Heritage Conservation Program

April 24, 2019

OLTA celebrates the federal government’s commitment to protecting land conservation across Canada. Today the Government of Canada has confirmed its commitment to land conservation as it announced $100M of funding over 4 years to support the establishment of new protected and conserved areas by land trusts in southern Canada.

The new program will establish at least 200,000 hectares of newly protected land and freshwater, especially in southern Canada where nature and wildlife faces the greatest pressures and where the majority of land is privately owned. Full Story.


Location Announcement for this years Annual Gathering!

April 4, 2019

Save the date! This year’s Annual Gathering will be October 6-8 2019 at the Isaiah Tubbs Resort in Prince Edward County. Gatherings in the past were at this resort and we are delighted to be going back there. Watch for more details in the months to come.


“From Private to Protected: Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club Acquires Michipicoten Properties” – TBFN

March 4, 2019

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists (TBFN) purchased two properties on Michipicoten Island (Bonner Head and North East Property) boasting 538 acres (217 hectares) of undisturbed wilderness.  Funding was provided from private donors and the Canada Nature Fund. Michipicoten First Nation volunteers will be helping TBFN volunteers to monitor and care for the Michipicoten Nature Reserve starting by assessing the current plants and wildlife. (Photo: TBFN). Full Story.


“Protecting the Farm as a Cultural Heritage Landscape: The Story of Innisfree Farm” – University of Waterloo

February 27, 2019

Barbara Heidenreich shares her own experience in preserving an Ontario farm with important associative and physical values, and deep personal meaning. Barbara worked with Ontario Heritage Trust to preserve Innisfree Farm, a farm built in 1913-14 by her great-grandfather Byron Edmund Walker in the Town of Innisfil. With the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, a Conservation Easement Agreement was designed that recognized and protected in perpetuity the elements of the farm that make it a “cultural heritage landscape.” Full Story.


Two new S&P workshops are being offered on February 19th & 26th, 2019!

February 7, 2019

On February 19th & 26th we learned from you how you use and implement the updated Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices.

These two Standards and Practices workshops cover an overview of S&P changes and a focus on specific Standards identified as a priority during our recent survey. These include: Ensuring Sound Transactions; Conservation Easement Defense and Endowments. Presenters are experts from ECCC, NCC and the land trust community. Attendees will be encouraged to share their experiences and resources.

February 19th at the Orillia Library

  • Importance of S&Ps for land trusts specifically for Ecogifts
  • Standard 11 Conservation Agreement Stewardship and Considerations for CEA defense
  • Ensuring Sound Transactions for Fee simple transactions

February 26th at the Arboretum in Guelph

  • Standard 12 Land Stewardship
  • Susan Walmer – Standard 11 & 12 Funding Land Stewardship and Endowments
  • Standard 9 Ensuring Sound Transactions for Fee simple transactions

DIY species at risk workshop to be held at rare Charitable Research Reserve on February 14th, 2019!

February 4, 2019

Land conservation plays an essential role in the protection and recovery of species at risk in Ontario. On February 14, we had our Species at Risk Workshop at rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge. Monitoring, management and outreach programs are an important way to ensure conservation lands continue to protect species at risk and engage the community in species at risk recovery. This workshop included a series of presentations on native bumblebee and Monarch monitoring and outreach, planning prescribed burns, and other programs you can implement on your conservation lands. Speaker organizations included conservation groups and fellow land trusts.  Click here to view a draft agenda.


 

Articles from 2018

October 20, 2018

The OLTA Land Trust Gathering happened on October 18 & 19 in Alliston, ON. The OLTA Land Trust Gathering is the annual training, skills development and networking conference bringing together land trust, conservation professionals and those in the broader environmental industry and the charitable sector from across Ontario. Conference participants benefited from workshops and plenary sessions. There was also plenty of time for informal networking and celebrating accomplishments with your colleagues! Find out more.

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September 5, 2018

The Bobolink birds which are considered Threatened in Ontario are preparing for their long migration to Pampas grasslands in South America. They started this journey on the Couchiching Conservancy properties! The land trust produced a booklet to assist farmers in managing their hay and pastures for grassland birds which you can read here.

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August 10, 2018

Haliburton Highland Land Trust raised funds through their first annual Rock Our World event with a jazz band, silent and live auction and a buffet table of delectable appetizers. Thanks to their sponsors for an incredible event to raise funds for more land conservation in the region.
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In an outstanding achievement, the Bruce Trail Conservancy and Parks Canada have acquired the Driftwood Cove Property contributing to the overall size of the Bruce Peninsula National Park bringing it to 90% completion. The 3,272-acre parcel that will represent 9% of the National Park’s land and 22% of its shoreline. Read More online…

 

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February 27, 2018

The Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) was impressed with the 2018 budget announcement, which affirms Canada’s commitment to the international goal of protecting 17 per cent of its land and fresh water by 2020.

Read more.

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