Three members of the Couchiching Conservancy were recognized for pioneering contributions to the Land Trust movement at this year’s Ontario Land Trust Alliance gathering in Geneva Park.
Lou and Judy Probst moved to Carden Township several decades ago and dedicated themselves to protecting the distinctive natural features of the area. In doing so, they have created a living legacy for future generations.
Almost 800 acres of land is now protected through their generosity; much of this land contains wetland and creek habitat as well as pockets of globally rare alvar habitat. Alvars are limestone plains which support a wide variety of plant and animal species.
Lou and Judy also kick-started the Carden Conservation Fund through substantial financial contributions. Lou and Judy are eloquent ambassadors on the numerous benefits of donating land to land trusts, and make substantial contributions of volunteer time to the Couchiching Conservancy and Nature Conservancy of Canada. Lou has chaired the successful Carden Nature Festival for the past seven years.
Ron Reid is indisputably the Founding Father of the Land Trust movement in Ontario. Not only did Ron play a leading role in founding the Couchiching Conservancy, but his leadership had a ripple effect throughout the province. In collaboration with Stew Hilts, Ron wrote Creative Conservation which pulled together the key ideas and building blocks for a land trust movement in Ontario.
Ron has also been instrumental in the success of the Carden Challenge, an innovative fundraising birding competition which brings in on average $20,000 a year in support. Ron also contributes time and expertise to the Carden Nature Festival.
Community engagement has been a specialty of Ron’s over the years. As one speaker noted, Ron’s “good country manners” and creative thinking have allowed him to build successful relationships with cottage associations, aggregate companies, ranchers, and naturalists.
Always happy to share his expertise and love of nature, Ron’s mentorship has been a great help to new and emerging land trusts as well as individuals. He has a natural ability to both lead by example and create space for independent learning.
Lou, Judy, and Ron, were all in attendance at the Ontario Land Trust Alliance Gathering last Thursday night to receive their much-deserved awards. They also received framed photos of sandhill cranes taken by local photographer, Larry Kirtley. Many thanks to Larry for his generous contribution.
The Couchiching Conservancy is grateful to the time and expertise that Lou, Judy and Ron have contributed over the years and we look forward to many more years of collaboration.