photo of bee on a lilac tree for the carden challenge

Carden Challenge participants raise $30K & count hundreds of species!

In 1 - Spring, 2 - Summer, Birds, Carden Alvar, Events, Fauna, People by couchiching

Beautiful blue skies and warm weather greeted the 74 people who took part in the 19th annual Carden Challenge. It was fun being together in celebration of this landscape and the species who call it home. All together, participants raised an impressive $30,000 for alvar stewardship efforts. Thank you to everyone who donated!

The dinner and recap at the Jenkins family home was the absolute best. Sharing stories of the day, laughs and a few tears.

Featured photo of a Hummingbird Moth taken by Pink Flamingo, Tanya Clark.


  • 236 total species (154 birds, 15 mammals, 5 reptiles, 9 amphibians, 19 leps, 20 odes)
  • Some species counted by just one team: Blue-winged Teal, Sharp Shin, Coopers & Red-Shouldered Hawk, Soa, Great Horned Owl, Woodchuk, Skunk, Newt, Pickerel Frog, Mourning Cloak, Dreamy Duskywing, Marsh Bluet, Aurora Damsel, Taiga Bluet
  • A new award, in memory of Dan Bone. Dan was a long time Challenge participant and he died last August. He was a great birder, but his real passion was butterflies. He participated in finding a Mottled Duskywing in Ontario and resulted in the Mottled Duskywing recovery program. They are doing releases in Pinery Provincial Park and they found some living as a result of the release of the catterpilars. In honour of Dan, the new Dan Bone Memorial Can (a can of Beer) goes to the Biodiversity team who counts the most butterflies.
2023 Carden Challenge


Top Fundraising Team – Ravin Ravens, $6,117

Top Fundraising Individual – Ginny Moore, $2,010

Draw for a two-night stay at cabinscape (1 entry for every $300 raised) – 

Competitive – Cool Catbirds

Biodiversity – Fauna Fanatics

Recreational – Loon Rangers

Hybrid – Let’s Wing It

Teeter Ass Trophy for spirited participation – Nerd on a Wire

Dan Bone Memorial Cup Award – Fauna Fanatics, 10 butterfly species


Cool Catbirds – 129 species. Best – stopping the car to hear a Canada Warbler along warbler alvar (but the Strawberry Rhubarb pie was a second highlight). Miss – Double-crested Cormorant or a Loggerhead Shrike.

No Egretz – 105 species. Best – finding a few Black-billed Cuckcoos along Wylie Road. Miss – Loggerhead Shrike.


Fauna Fanatics – 145 species. Best – Sandhill Cranes flying above us. Miss – No Snapping Turtle. Also Black Tern because the Cool Catbirds got it before us!

The Ravin’ Ravens – 131 species. Best – driving up Victoria Road and trying to get a Barred Owl. Our last stop, open the car door and hear a weird noise. It was a Saw-whet Owl! They also had two Caspian Terns diving into the lake. Miss – mammals! Squirrels and chipmunks only.

COWabunga – 120 species. Best – turning onto Fitzgerald Lane and seeing a Moose. Miss – no living snakes sadly.


Loon Rangers – 105 species. Best – Pied-billed Grebe, Owl. Walking at the Sedge Wren trail and seeing a Martin. A Pine Martin! Miss – Downy Woodpecker. Now they move onto the Competitive category!

Coucou-CaChings – 100 species. Best – great start on Friday with over 50 species and such a nice weekend. Miss – Looking for hawks but they were too far away to identify them.

Fantastic Fledgings – 91 species (a big record for them!). Best – Came around a bend, hawk on the top of a post. Trying to identify it but it was giving them lots of time to identify it. It flew down, snagged a snake in its talons and they were able to ID it as a Broad-winged Hawk. Miss – No Hairy or Downy Woodpecker.

Red-capped Chickadees – 84 species. Best – Chestnut-sided Warblers because they saw a lot of them. Got to see them and hear them. Bald Eagle, first for the Challenge. Miss – No Cardinal, no House Sparrow and no Indigo Bunting.

Whooo’s Watching You? – 75 species. Best – Killdeer that was close to them and they all got a good look at it. Miss – Wild Turkey, and they usually see them at the end of the Challenge.

Nerd on a Wire – 69 species. They participated in the Challenge even after they got in a car accident on Friday (before the Challenge). They are ok!

The Grand Grackles – 54 species. Best – Wilson’s Snipe, sitting on each fence post along Wylie Road. Also the Bald Eagle. They were heading to dinner and the time was ticking doen to 6pm. They were looking for the Osprey, but Jamie saw a Bald Eagle on a pole. Jane Ball was able to catch a glimpse in the rear view mirror! Miss – Cardinal.


Let’s Wing It – 120 species. Best – they initially missed the Common Gallinule on Friday evening, as they were distracted by the Cecropia Moth. On Saturday afternoon, they went out looking for the Gallinule and got it AND a Virginia Rail. Miss – their teammates! Two team members were up in Thunder Bay (Cam & Ali) and they missed being together.

Pink Flamingos – 117 species. Best – saw a Moose while paddling the Head River. Almost miss was a Scarlet Tanager. Miss – Loggerhead Shrike, Double-crested Cormorant.

Cooch Potatoes – 80 species. Best – Mourning Warbler, a first time for them. Miss – Barred Owl, because Mark heard it at night but his teammates had already gone to sleep!

Campbell Jays –