Thank you! We are grateful to the participants, supporters and love for the Alvar and species who call it home!

Over 85 participants from 21 teams all across Ontario took part in the Challenge and helped raise over $31,000 for Alvar conservation work!

Carden - Year to Year Species List

All Teams Species List

Competitive: The Cool Catbirds with 182 points
Chase Moser, Patrick Jackson, Geordie Ray, Matthew Fells & Stewart Blackwell
135 birds, 11 mammals, 3 reptiles, 6 amphibians, 12 odes & 15 leps

Best- Morning Warbler and the 2 hour early morning time being out
Miss - Northern Cardinal

Recreational: The Pink Flamingos with 147 points
Tanya Clark, Meagan Coughlin, Philip Careless, Joelle Burnie, David Giannunzio plus family
119 birds, 9 mammals, 4 reptiles, 5 frogs, 5 odes & 5 leps

Best - Eastern Wood Peewee
Miss – Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Rust Winged Swallow, Sandpiper

Top Team Fundraisers: The Ravin' Ravens, who raised over $8,000!

Top Fundraiser: Tanya Clark, who raised over $2,500!

Winner of the Cabin package: Patrick Jackson

Winner of the Kids Raffle: Stella Minges

Every participant that raised over $250 will receive an exclusive Challenge patch!

New and Notable for Carden Circle:

Hobomok Skipper seen by Bill McIntyre of Bruce Spruce Moose

Northern Cloudywing seen by both Bill McIntyre and by the Birding by Day; Mothing by Night team;

Indian Skipper by Birding by Day; Mothing by Night team.

Very few snakes and low counts of amphibians.

Fisher seen by three teams, two of them in Carden.

New for Extended Count:

Map Turtle seen by Ali Giroux of Bruce Spruce Moose and by Cool Catbirds.

Green Snakes on a Plain added Delta-spotted Spiketail, Little Wood-Satyr, Common Wood Nymph, Hobomok and Indian Skipper.

Mink seen by several teams (not yet on Carden list) Pedaling and Paddling

Over on Matchedash Bay, the Cool Catbirds racked up lots of species seen by no one else this year, such as Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Black-bellied and Semi-palmated Plover, both Yellowlegs, 4 species of Sandpiper, Otter, and a great selection of Ononates and Butterflies.


Pedaling and Paddling: biked/walked 193 km; kayaked 15.5 km

Music: Good Feeling by Roa

Mouse over the photo below and then use the left and right arrows to scroll through photos

2021 Carden Challenge

Team Recaps

Competitive teams

Bruce and Spruce Moose, Guelph, Carden, Tobermory, Peterborough
Kristyn Ferguson, Tricia Robins, Ali Giroux, Julie Scott, Bill McIntyre
161 points (112 birds, 10 mammals, 7 reptiles, 7 amphibians, 11 odes, 14 leps)

Best - Great Egret, Northern Map turtle
Miss - Bald Eagle

Ravin' Ravens, Washago, Carden
Ron Reid, Janet Grand, Ginny Moore, Leslie Dyment, Karen Popp
160 points, (113 birds, 9 mammals, 5 reptiles, 4 amphibians, 17 odes, 12 leps)

Best – Wood duck and young
Miss – Indigo Bunting

Green Snakes on the Plain, Barrie, Oro-Medonte
Chris Evans, Ruth Noland-Flores, Ian Cook
158 points (
109 birds, 7 mammals, 2 reptiles, 2 frogs, 20 odes, 18 leps)

Best – Pair of Warbling Vireos, 100 Wood ducks at dusk
Miss - American Kestrel

Let's Wing It! Guelph, London, Oro-Medonte
Kyra Howes, Sarah Hodgkiss, Cameron Curran, Ali Gamble, Mike Francis
129 points (
116 birds, 7 mammals, 2 reptiles, 1 amphibians, 3 leps)

Best- Pileated woodpecker, Green Heron, Northern Harrier ( spotted at Wendy’s)
Miss – “miss their team”!

Birding by Day — Mothing by Night Carden
Andrew Keaveney & Michelle
128 points (109 birds, 5 mammals, 2 reptiles, 2 amphibians, 1 ode, 9 leps)

Recreational teams

Pedalling & Paddling for Nature, Orillia, Ramara, Barrie (205km & 59 hrs birding)
Dorthea Hangaard, Toby Rowland, Aiesha Aggarwal, Claire Buchanan, Ryan Lamoureux
131 points (
108 birds, 12 mammals, 2 reptiles, 4 amphibians, 2 odes, 3 leps)
Best – Common Gallinule
Miss – Bittern

Coucou-kachings, Carden, Orillia
Adam Thomson, Kathy Callahan, Philip Hamilton, Betty Pengelly, Nathalie Rockhill
99 points (all birds)

Who Cooks for You? Foresters Falls (Renfrew County)
Jean Humphries, Matthew Clark
86 points (
79 birds, 5 mammals, 2 amphibians)
Best - two red bellied woodpeckers
Miss - Purple Finch

Watching with Wonder, Sadowa, Sebright, Bracebridge, Brechin
Alain Cote-Sadowa, Carole May-Cote, June Hill, Kate Bridges, Shannon Banfield
74 points (48 birds, 10 mammals, 5 reptiles, 5 amphibians, 1 ode, 5 leps)

Red Cap Chickadees, Carden
Mandy Gibson, Alexander Grout, Kelly Gibson
68 points (
56 birds, 5 mammals, 3 reptiles, 3 odes, 1 lep)
Best – Black Billed Cuckoo, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, Northern Harrier
Miss- “yellow bird in a nest”, Baltimore Oriole

The Timberdoodle Dandies, Carden
Robert Vella, Katie Paveley
65 points (
59 birds, 3 mammals, 2 reptiles, 1 amphibians)

The Salty Crows, Barrie
Andrea & Jeff Ward
60 points (49 birds, 7 mammals, 1 turtle, 2 frogs, 2 odes, 1 lep)

Team Whooo’s Watching You?, Orillia
Courtney Baker, Stevie Baker, Stella Minges, Sophie Barnes, Gilda Minges, Britt Barnes, Rhett Mawdsley, Ellie Mawdsley
58 points (
51 birds, 4 mammals, 1 frog, 2 butterflies)
Best - Wild Turkey, Blue Jay
Miss - Turtles

The Fantastic Fledgings, North York, Orillia
Melissa Bulgutch, Reid, Simon Francis, Bella Francis
57 points (
All birds)
Best - Indigo Buntings
Miss - Egret

grand-grackles, Orillia & Oro Medonte
Anne Ross, Jamie Ross, Jane Ball, Jamie Powell
40 points (
All birds)
Best - Baltimore Oriole
Miss - Woodpeckers! and no pigeons

Animal Patrol
Lyndell and Lon Oldfield, Alison and Erica, Lochlin, Kinsley, Raine
30 points (16 birds, 5 mammals, 1 turtle)

Always Be Beepin', Barrie
Eric Wolinsky, Lisa Wolinsky, Melissa McGee
28 points (
20 birds, 3 mammals, 5 leps)

Cheep Thrills, Oro Medonte
Leslie Varsava, Tasia Rivero
22 points (
15 birds, 2 mammals, 2 reptiles, 3 leps)

The Shrikes
Nicole Rulff, Alex Rulff, Brandon Guoth
19 points (
12 birds, 2 mammals, 5 leps)

Information below is event background and info on the 2021 event.

How many species can you count in 24 hours?

100% of funds raised supports efforts to protect nature on the Carden Alvar
Donate to support a team or participant and help protect nature


Why take part?

The Carden Challenge began to raise awareness of this globally rare landscape. Even though it is well known by birders, nature lovers and photographers, there are many that still didn't know about this wonderful area. By counting species in 24 hours while raising money to protect the area, it shows how special the area is. The record for number of bird species alone is 157. Amazing!

By taking part, you not only help protect the area, you also:

  1. spend time in nature (the best)
  2. work on your ID skills
  3. work with a team
  4. connect with others who care for nature as much you as do!


You can do the Challenge by yourself or with a team. Email Tanya Clark.

There is no minimum for fundraising - $250 helps the Conservancy protect 10 acres for a year.


Every dollar raised matters. Funds raised helps us care for this landscape, empowers us to work towards protecting more Alvar and more.

As a small charity, we work hard to stretch our dollars and do more for nature.


On May 28 - 29, count as many species as you can & share your journey with us while spreading awareness of the critical need to protect nature.

Join in for the re-cap on June 1 for full results and to share your stories.

What is an Alvar?

In an area east of Orillia and northwest of Lindsay, a flat limestone landscape called the Carden Plain harbours rare habitats known as alvars. Alvars occur only on limestone bedrock with little or no soil, where spring floods and summer droughts create harsh conditions. Many of the wildflowers, native grasses and invertebrate species found on alvars normally occur in the western provinces, and many are rare. These habitats are globally imperiled, occurring only in the south of Sweden and scattered around the Great Lakes Basin. Carden Township’s alvars are thought to be among the richest in the province, with a great diversity of alvar species.

2020 Carden Challenge

Event details:
  • When: Friday, May 28 at 6:00pm to Saturday, May 29 at 6:00pm. You choose your schedule!
  • What are we counting: We will still use the Carden Checklist, available in an Excel file here. We recommend printing the list off for the event and then moving your list to Excel afterwards. Please count everything you you and hear – beavers, birds, butterflies…everything!;
  • Where: Stay in your own backyard and neighbourhood. Stay within a 8 km radius (5 miles) of your home (known as 5MR Birding to some) OR on the Carden Alvar. If you go to Carden, logistics are up to you. We hope to be together in 2022!
  • Who: Form a team (max 4 - 5) people to keep up the team spirit! You can go it alone as well. You do not need to be an expert, but should connect with others to confirm species if you aren’t confident;
  • How: connect remotely with teammates throughout the Challenge to confirm species and help each other out. If you live within each other’s radius, it is up to you on if you bird and blitz together at a safe physical distance;
  • How: you can bike, paddle, walk, drive…whatever you like;
  • Fundraising: Raising funds to protect the alvar is still an important part of this event! Over the years the Conservancy and partners have protected well over 10,000 acres of alvar. These are critical safe havens for species like the endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike.
  • Submit your list: your team leader can compile your lists and send the Excel file to Ron Reid. We would also like to know which team member counted the most species and how many they did.

Questions? Want to register? Send an email to Tanya Clark (

2021 Teams to Date

Please email to register!





Acres of Alvar protected by The Couchiching Conservancy and partners like Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario Parks

The Pink Flamingos, Recreational:
By bike, car and foot

  1. Tanya Clark, Orillia
  2. Meagan Coughlin, Orillia
  3. Philip Careless, Carden
  4. Joelle Burnie, Orillia
  5. David Giannunzio, Orillia (plus family of 4)

Team Whooo’s Watching You?, Recreational:
By car and foot

1. Courtney Baker
2. Stevie Baker
3. Stella Minges
4. Sophie Barnes
5. Gilda Minges
6. Britt Barnes
7. Rhett Mawdsley
8. Ellie Mawdsley

Green Snakes on the Plain, Competitive (Biodiversity focus)
bike, foot, canoe and car

  1. Chris Evans, Midhurst
  2. Ruth Noland-Flores
  3. Ian Cook, Barrie

Let's Wing It!

  1. Kyra Howes
  2. Sarah Hodgkiss
  3. Cameron Curran
  4. Ali Gamble
  5. Mike Francis

Pedalling & Paddling for Nature, Recreational
By bike, kayak, and foot

  1. Dorthea Hangaard
  2. Toby Rowland
  3. Aiesha Aggarwal
  4. Claire Buchanan
  5. Ryan Lamoureux

Did You Know...

Eastern Meadowlarks need about 6 acres of grassland to establish a territory.

Protect their habitat

Bruce and Spruce Moose, Competitive & Biodiversity

  1. Kristyn Ferguson – Guelph
  2. Tricia Robins – Tobermory
  3. Ali Giroux – Peterborough
  4. Julie Scott – Guelph
  5. Bill McIntyre – Carden

Cheep Thrills, Recreational

  1. Leslie Varsava
  2. Tasia Rivero

Animal Patrol

  1. Lyndell Oldfield
  2. Loch and Kinsley

Ravin' Ravens, Competitive

  1. Ron Reid, Washago
  2. Janet Grand, Washago
  3. Ginny Moore, Carden
  4. Leslie Dyment

The Timberdoodle Dandies, Recreational

1. Katherine Paveley, Orillia
2. Robert Vella, Orillia

Fantastic Fledgings

  1. Melissa Bulgutch
  2. Reid
  3. Simon Francis
  4. Bella Francis

The Shrikes

  1. Nicole Rulff
  2. Alex Rulff
  3. Brandon Guoth

Who Cooks for You?
Foresters Falls (Renfrew County)

  1. Jean Humphries
  2. Matthew Clark

(one passionate birder/apprentice in the kitchen, plus one apprentice birder/passionate home cook)

The Salty Crows, Recreational

Jeff and Andrea Ward

The Cool Catbirds, Competitive

  1. Chase Moser
  2. Patrick Jackson
  3. Geordie Ray
  4. Matthew Fells
  5. Stewart Blackwell

Birding by Day — Mothing by Night

  1. Andrew Keaveney and partner

Coucou-kachings, Recreational

  1. Adam Thomson
  2. Kathy Callahan
  3. Philip Hamilton
  4. Betty Pengelly
  5. Nathalie Rockhill

Red Cap Chickadees

  1. Mandy Gibson
  2. Alexander Grout
  3. Kelly Gibson

Always Be Beepin'
Barrie, Ont

  1. Eric Wolinsky
  2. Lisa Wolinsky
  3. Melissa McGee

Orillia & Oro Medonte

  1. Anne Ross
  2. Jamie Ross
  3. Jane Ball
  4. Jamie Powell

Watching with wonder

  1. Alain Cote-Sadowa
  2. Carole May-Cote-Sadowa
  3. June Hill- Sebright
  4. Kate Bridges- Bracebridg
  5. Shannon Banfield- Brechin

Ready to sign up? Email

Ready to sign up? Email