Immediately following the 9th Carden Alvar Nature Festival this past June, the organizing committee met to discuss the event and to plan future Couchiching Conservancy initiatives. As were its predecessors, the 2015 version of the Festival was a great success, meeting and in many cases exceeding the original goals which were set for it ten years ago!
Many of those who were on the initial planning committee have been involved throughout the years. The Nature Festival has consumed over 1,000 volunteer and staff hours each and every year; many of those volunteers are getting older and tired! Many of the participants are looking for new, exciting opportunities beyond the Carden Alvar and as such the number of people attending has decreased over the years.
In 2015, the Conservancy launched a new trial initiative, Passport to Nature. One event was held monthly over a nine month period. The events were described and instructions given in a neat little passport, which was stamped at each event. Events such as hiking, kayaking/canoeing, cycling, birding, and many others were held on different Conservancy properties throughout the Conservancy catchment area. It was a great success bringing in many people who had never before been involved in Couchiching Conservancy events. At the same time, the amount of effort by volunteers and staff was reduced substantially. And it was FREE to participants as all costs were covered by advertising in the passport.
It has been decided to enlarge the Passport to Nature with twice as many events over a ten month period for 2016, and to merge some of the very successful Carden Nature Festival events, such as the Kid’s Funfest on June 12 into the Passport framework.
King Solomon, purported to be the wisest man ever to live, coined the expression, “To everything there is a season…”! Some things have a longer life span than others, for many different reasons. I am confident Solomon would have urged us when that season arrives, “to go out on a high”!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of volunteers and the members of the Nature Festival Steering Committee for their incredible dedication to the Festival over the years. For many of us, we feel a great loss, but the Passport to Nature is an exciting new venture which will introduce many new people to the Conservancy and the work that it does.
Thanks also to many of the Nature Festival Steering Committee and the Staff of the Conservancy who are now part of the Passport Steering Committee.
Thank you again for your support of the Carden Nature Festival and for your ongoing commitment to the Couchiching Conservancy.
David A. Homer
Chair of the Carden Alvar Nature Festival Committee