The Land Between
The Land Between region is an extremely important and unique bioregion! Many amazing groups and individuals have worked tirelessly to preserve the landscape and all the wonderful species that live here. To show our appreciation for all of their work and to share their powerful stories with more communities, we have created our Eco-Heros page! This list is always growing, so if you would like to nominate someone please contact us at email@example.com
Judy .C. Osinchuk
Judy is a dedicated volunteer Turtle Crossing Guard. Judy helps monitor a prime location in Haliburton village where our amazing elder, Grace, the one-eyed turtle hibernates...and a place where many more turtles, ducks, frogs, and birds live too! The area she patrols was once a very rich natural area, but over the years the numbers of turtles in these wetlands has declined significantly due to road strikes. Judy wakes up at 4 a.m. each day and spends her morning hours watching for wildlife, with a special eye for vulnerable turtles. She alerts drivers in the area, communes with community members about wildlife conservation, and also helps us spot nesting turtles on nearby roadsides. Judy is a Faithful person, with a lot of reverence for nature. She says she has always had a love for nature....after all, who wants to live in world devoid of turtles, birds, frogs...
Judy sees every life as precious. Judy is this month's hero. Her dedication and service has been invaluable to our work this summer. Thank you Judy! Turtle-on!
Marie is community guardian of an old growth hemlock forest called the Catchacoma forest, located on Crown land in Trent Lakes. Inspired by her love of the Land Between region and the rare ecosystem of the forest, Marie works diligently to hold municipalities and developers accountable for its protection.
The Catchacoma forest has been actively logged in the past two years without sufficient data to understand what areas need protection. Hemlock forests alone are not afforded enough protection according to many naturalists because, while the tree species is not rare, it is a foundational species that has a strong influence on the environment around it, including understory plants, forest animals and aquatic organisms (Henry and Quinby 2019). Thus, this forest has an important role for all the wildlife and spaces around it.
Being a resident of the region for over 26 years, Marie has become familiar with the challenges faced in a community where no conservation authority exists
(most conservation authorities lie in the southern half of the Land Between), and where few grassroots conservation groups remain or have capacity and support to enable the protection of our natural heritage. Without these authorities and associations, governments are left to decide how to use and protect the land. Unfortunately, governing bodies (especially our municipalities) often do not have current data on such valuble natural systems or enough information to enable informed decisions at these scales. Thus, Marie is working together with multiple stakeholders including Fleming College and also her municipality to ensure that this forest is persevered for future generations.
So far, Marie, together with Fleming students and dedicated volunteers, has been granted a one year moratorium on the logging of this sensitive and productive forest. In this time, they will conduct research documenting the flora and fauna (including Species At Risk) that call the forest home. By "officially" documenting the species that locals have been witnessing in the forest for generations, the group hopes to permanently halt the logging of this irreplaceable forest.
An avid believer in community stewardship, Marie expresses the necessity of citizen action and engagement in conservation. Over the years, as Marie has learned more about the forest and the region, she has come to realize the transformative and connective power of nature based education. She hopes that the preservation of this forest will provide the opportunity for members of the public to come, experience and learn more about the marvels of this unique other worldly forest.
Meet Fred McConnell. Fred is an advisor on our Blue Lakes Strategic project team, a long time friend and advocate for nature. Fred is the lake steward on Wollaston Lake in Hastings. Having been released after approx. 35 years from career in high-tech product management (over 5 years ago), Fred did not falter, but decided to pursue his long-time passion for conservation. So Fred returned to school to complete a Masters from Trent University in Environmental Science. Fred is a vigilant advocate for nature in his community. He is an example of tenacity, passion, dedication and love of the wild. Fred is now commencing volunteering for the Bancroft Fish Hatchery. Way to go Fred! See Fred's profile on LinkedIn.
Barbara is the Executive Director of Watersheds Canada, a Canadian non-profit organization and charity that works with communities to help "shoreline owners enhance and protect the health of lakes and rivers". Over the last 19 years with Watersheds Canada, Barbara has worked in various roles to help build the organization which is now delivering programs with grassroots partners Canada-wide.
Barbara's connection with water and the environment was established at a young age when she spent weekends and summers at her family cottage. However, her deep appreciation for and awareness of nature was ignited when she moved away from the water to go to post-secondary school. While pursuing an education in hospitality, Barbara found herself longing to be back in nature and decided to switch her studies to the environmental and non-profit sector. Following her realized passion, she made a career out of advocating for the environment, progressing freshwater conservation and working with the public to develop impactful environmentally conscious shoreline management best practices.
Barbara gains inspiration and hope from working with community members and partners and listening to their stories. For example, there is a couple on White Lake in Ottawa who has done extensive volunteer work with Watersheds Canada to protect not only their lake, but lakes across Canada! Invigorated by the dedication that many people have (or can develop) for the environment, Barbara endeavours to support as many lake advocates and concerned citizens as she can while also providing opportunities for everyone (herself included) to learn together! In particular, she is working to engage people across the country in knowledge sharing and best practices in shoreland management so that more people understand the critical importance of shoreline vegetation and water quality. She hopes this kind of work, and developing these relationships, will help to bridge the gap between what many of us say we value (like caring for wildlife) and how we actually behave (are we creating or destroying the habitat for the wildlife we claim to love?)
Kristy is a dedicated small animal veterinarian who, with inspiration from her children, started the Kawartha Lakes Turtle Trauma Centre (now known as the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre) with a group of passionate volunteers. The Centre works diligently to advance wetland and turtle conservation. They also do trauma care, rehabilitation, and research.
Peter has been alongside The Land Between Charity since the very beginning and has aided in many stages of its development. He has made significant contributions as a cultural specialist and has helped to identify significant cultural sites across the Land Between region.
"I grew up in Burlington where the Main St. is still called Brant St, named after the great Mohawk chief. Our house was on the corner of Seneca and Water Street (now Hwy. 2) and as a boy of 13 I found artifacts in the undeveloped lots along the lake side of the highway. An aunt took me up to London when I was 13 to meet a friend of hers at Western who gave me my first summer job at a museum in Penetang." These formative childhood experiences then inspired his lifelong passion for the environment and discovery.
"At University in London I learned about geography, geology and the environment. I then went into anthropology and archaeology at various other schools and worked on field projects in Canada, France and the US. I was inspired by mentors early on to take the 'Hi-' off history and look for the story which would make sense to the most people — you can't do that without ecology, planning and the willingness to fight to save the environment. Three linear projects I worked on included the Lake Ontario shore, the Niagara Escarpment, and the Rideau-Trent-Severn systems and also many other projects on land and under water, all over the province."
"Conservation is not for the faint of heart. I do it because I love it. It helps to make my world make sense."
Gray Merriam retired in 1997. He taught, directed graduate students and did
research at the University of Texas and Carleton University and had academic
affiliations in Poland, Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the US.
He published about 100 peer-reviewed research papers in international journals,
chapters in research reviews and numerous other scientific reports. He co-
authored “Discovering Natural Processes” in 2005 and released “Special Places
in Canada: Natural Riches and Ecological Treasures” in 2010 on the web at
www.ecolandscapes.ca. "Rivers of Natural Riches" and "Under Nature's Wing"
appeared in 2012. "Here and There" with Aileen Merriam was published in 2015.
"Caring for our Homeplace - - Homespun tales spiked with ecosystem insight"
was published in 2020.
He was President of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, Series Editor of the IALE Study Series in Landscape Ecology, and on the Editorial Board of Landscape Ecology. He directed: the Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory, the Environmental Science Program, the Environment and Policy Institute, the Department of Biology and the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biologyat Carleton University. In 1997 he received the Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award from the United States Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology and in 1999 he received the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the International Association for Landscape Ecology. In 2003 he received an honourary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Moncton. In 2005 he received a Latornell Conservation Pioneer Award. In retirement, he has tried to apply his ecological knowledge to the landscapes where he lives. He was the founding President of the Friends of the Salmon River is, Past- Chair of the Frontenac Stewardship Council and is ecological advisor to the Kennebec Lake Association. He was named Green Cottager across Canada by Cottage Life Magazine in 2009.
Gray and his wife Aileen have created amazing educational resources. Click the button below to find out more.