Biosphere Association celebrates the success of its Conservation Projects

On Friday November 12, 2021, MPP Bill Walker met with representatives from the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and Hugh Wilson, an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer, to officially congratulate them on the work being done as a result of three grants totalling $248,600 that the group has received over the last three years from OTF and the Government of Ontario.

The organization was delighted to share the success of its conservation efforts throughout the Northern and Southern Bruce Peninsula thanks to OTF, private sector companies including locally based Caframo, nationally-based insurance company Wawanesa, and the Lewko Foundation, a family foundation.

As one of only four United Nations designated Biosphere Reserves in Ontario, the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association has been cited as a model by UNESCO of what can be accomplished when environmentally passionate groups and communities work together.

“We are thrilled to recognize all the conservation efforts and funding that have gone into making our local Biosphere a renowned place to live, and applaud all groups and individuals who are actively engaged in protecting, preserving and sustaining the environment,‚ÄĚ said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker.

(l-r): Jeremy Thorn, Kevin Harders, Mike Smith, Neils Munk, Bill Walker (MPP), John Mielhausen, Hugh Wilson, Mike Campbell, Elizabeth Thorn, Pat Sein, Ruth Martell, Tyler Noble, Keith Reid and Graham Thomas.

Beginning with a three-year, $179,300 Grow grant from OTF in 2018 which provided initial funding for the Biosphere Association to replicate the success of its Water Quality Projects on the Northern Bruce Peninsula to the Southern Bruce Peninsula. It also helped with the Biosphere Association’s Albemarle Brook Project and Water Quality Projects in the Northern and Southern Bruce Peninsula. Cumulatively, the Biosphere Association’s water quality improvement initiatives have provided alternative water access for over 6,000 cattle and 20km of protective fencing around streams.

‚ÄúWe were thrilled when Caframo employees selected the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association as their Charity of the Year, which together with important support from Wawanesa, the Lewko Foundation, and OTF made the SB Peninsula Colpoys project possible,‚ÄĚ said Elizabeth Thorn, Chair of the Biosphere Association.

(l-r): Bill Walker (MPP), Mike Campbell (BPBA Board member), Elizabeth Thorn (BPBA Chair), Hugh Wilson (Trillium rep), Graham Thomas (EcoAdventures Program Manager) and Krista Dovaston (BPBA employee – EcoCanada grant hire, and Nov. 12 BPBA event organizer).

In addition to the Biosphere Association’s water quality work, OTF awarded the group with a $19,300 Resilient Communities Fund grant in 2020 to support EcoAdventures initiatives providing guided educational tours for which net proceeds are used to support conversation work.

And this fall, the Biosphere Association received a $50,000 Community Building Fund grant to support the work with EcoAdventures multi-day adventures by helping with staffing, marketing, website and some capital and operational costs. These multi-day adventures will aim to provide scenic guided hikes, canoe programs, guided night hikes, nature interpretation, and special guests featuring Dark Skies – Bayside Astronomy sessions, and in partnership with Local First Nations, storytelling sessions. EcoAdventures was also granted the ability to purchase several Fat Bikes for a new bike tour program.

(l-r): Elizabeth Thorn (BPBA Chair), Graham Thomas (EcoAdventures Program Manager), Mike Campbell (BPBA Board member), Krista Dovaston (Digitial skills and Ecosystem Technician – EcoCanada Funded Hire and BPBA Nov. 12 event organizer), Bill Walker (MPP) and Kiah Jasper (BPBA EcoSystem Technician – HRSDC funded hire)

OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Caframo is a privately owned Canadian manufacturing company founded in 1955 with long-standing community involvement, and charity work over the years. Caframo’s current employee charity is the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association.

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (Wawanesa) marked its 125th anniversary by providing $700,000 to local community organizations in Canada and the United States. These charitable funds come in addition to the $3.5 million Wawanesa has already committed to its community partners for 2021.

The Lewko Foundation is a local family foundation.