Passport to Nature returns for third year

Tanya Clark

A bobolink is one of the bird species that can be found in the area.

SUBMITTED A bobolink is one of the bird species that can be found in the area.

A bird call is heard far in the distance. The group hushes in hopes to hear the mystery bird again. Success – the call of a pileated woodpecker echoes through the still air.

This is just one possibility of sightings and experiences you could encounter when you attend a Passport to Nature event at one of the 45 properties the Couchiching Conservancy helps to protect.

Back by popular demand, Passport to Nature has returned to give people of all ages an opportunity to explore our region and connect with nature with knowledgeable leaders.

Organized by the Couchiching Conservancy and a volunteer committee, there are 17 events throughout the year and into 2018 to delight and ignite your passion for wild landscapes and the species that rely on them.

Thanks to the event leaders and generous sponsors, all events are free to attend – you just have to register in advance. Our top sponsors this year are Sojourn Outdoors, Harvey’s Orillia, Dr. Kevin Vennard, Lynda Hepinstall of Century 21, Orillia Power, Brewery Bay Food Company, Rustica Pizza Vino and Home Hardware Orillia.

Up next in the schedule is spring wildflower photography May 27 with award-winning nature photographer Arni Stinnissen at the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve near Washago. You’ll learn secrets for improving your photos of spring flowers, including blurring the background to make a subject stand out and understanding proper lighting and exposure.

On June 10, you'll have an opportunity to join world-class birdwatcher Jean Iron in search of Carden Alvar specialties such as the endangered loggerhead shrike, upland sandpiper, bobolink, eastern meadowlark, grasshopper and vesper sparrows and other grassland species. The alvar is home to more than 250 bird species and is a designated Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. It’s just 30 minutes from Orillia and well worth the drive.

Also in June, and fun for the whole family, is the Nuts for Nature Family Fun Fest June 11 at the Carden Recreation Centre. There will be activities like pond studies, building birdhouses, art and crafts, as well as displays with Kids for Turtles, rope making, Ramara Historical Covered Wagon and more. It should be a fun day. A special thanks to Tom Wilson, Julia Wolst and Adam Thomson for co-ordinating this event.

For details on these events and more, visit

Tanya Clark is the development co-ordinator at the Couchiching Conservancy, a non-profit, non-government land trust dedicated to protecting nature with support from members, volunteers and donors. To learn about how you can help, visit

Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »