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On a recent sunny and cold winter's day more than 70 participants took part in a bird conservation workshop hosted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative. This free event was held on Saturday February 6th at the Alderville Black Oak Savanna Ecology Centre. Interested landowners from Northumberland and surrounding counties learned about bird species at risk throughout the Rice Lake Plains. Willow Beach Field Naturalist Executive member Ben Walters who is also a Ph.D. candidate at Trent University, Peterborough, provided insight to the changing bird populations of the area. He combed hundreds of ornithological records dating back to the 1820s to produce an in-depth look at Birds of the Rice Lake Plains. ...continue reading "Here’s what we’re doing for Species at Risk…"

Thanks to funding from Environment Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' Species at Risk Stewardship Fund the Nature Conservancy of Canada with support from the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative has worked to improve awareness of species at risk in the nationally threatened tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Efforts have been concentrated on vulnerable snake and bird species throughout the Rice Lake Plains in Northumberland County. Summer 2009 marked the third year for such work. ...continue reading "Here’s the Tallgrass Prairie “Species at Risk” story…"


To understand why the Rice Lake Plains area is so significant, not only at the local level, but at a truly global level, one must reflect back on the ecological history of this area. The ecosystems we have here today are a product of the last glacial movement that occurred 13,000 years ago. As the climate warmed and the glaciers retreated, the ice divided into two lobes, forming a distinct crack.  It was in this crack that giant accumulations of till, stratified silt, sand and gravel were deposited, creating a contiguous ridge of 160 km from the Niagara Escarpment to the southern shores of Rice Lake. This ridge is known as the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) and is recognized as a provincially significant physiographic feature, up to 200 meters thick and 300 meters above Lake Ontario; providing clean groundwater for over 60 streams and rivers, which in turn is used by more than 200, 000 people. ...continue reading "Natural Heritage of the Rice Lake Plains"

Imagine you are married and a special anniversary arrives. Now imagine both partners are so busy that you forget to celebrate it! Well, it is safe to say that the partners in the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative (RLPJI) must be a busy lot, because we missed celebrating our big 10th anniversary! And we missed it by a country mile. ...continue reading "Celebrating “roughly” a decade of conservation and camaraderie on the Rice Lake Plains!"

HARWOOD — With a passion for saving the eastern blue bird, Harwood resident Hazel Bird spent countless hours roaming the Rice Lake Plains checking the nest-boxes she built.

Now the public is welcome to walk the trail Ms. Bird once did at The Nature Conservancy of Canada's Hazel Bird Nature Reserve. Ms. Bird died in 2009 and the piece of land she once spent so much time on was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2011. Volunteers worked to restore and protect the property's tallgrass prairie, sand barren, oak woodland and black oak savanna habitats, which are native to the Rice Lake Plains. ...continue reading "New trail opens in Harwood’s Nature Conservancy of Canada Hazel Bird Nature Reserve"

Prairie Day 2014

The day dawned grey and overcast on September 20th, 2014 for the 7th Annual Prairie Day at Alderville Black Oak Savanna Ecology Centre, a 30-minute drive north of Cobourg. Despite the ominous weather, the event started off well with a smudging ceremony from the Alderville First Nation, as well as speeches carrying messages of hope and regeneration. ...continue reading "Prairie Day 2014: Celebrating the Rice Lake Plains / Alderville Black Oak Savannah"

It was a perfect day to celebrate the Alderville Black Oak Savanna. With wind rustling strongly across the landscape and warming sunshine illuminating the rich natural colours of the tallgrass habitat visitors at the seventh annual Prairie Day had a wonderful opportunity to experience the magnificent and rare grandeur of the black oak savanna and tallgrass prairie restoration project.

Part of the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative, which includes partners like Alderville First Nation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Northumberland Land Trust, Northumberland County, the Lower Trent and Ganaraska Conservation Authorities and Ontario Parks, the day showcased and celebrated the work that's been done across the Rice Lake Plains region to restore and rejuvenate the extremely rare oak savanna and tall grasses that were once so prominent in the area. ...continue reading "Prairie Day celebrates “incredibly special place”"

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation are funding projects across Ontario from the Escarpment Eco Park in the Hamilton / Burlington area to environmental workshops in Northumberland.

"The Nature Conservancy of Canada's project aims to garner awareness and support for the Greenbelt in Northumberland County by partnering with Alderville First Nation to host (more) workshops for conservationist guided public tours, school outings, and a Greenbelt Prairie Day in the Rice Lake Plains area," states a media release. ...continue reading "Greenbelt Foundation funding for Northumberland"