Water lilies, Elleslie Creek Conservation Area (Photo by NCC)

Water lilies, Elleslie Creek Conservation Area (Photo by NCC)

John Riley speaking tour

John Riley (Photo courtesy of John Riley)

John Riley (Photo courtesy of John Riley)

The Once and Future Great Lakes Country by John L. Riley

Once and FutureJohn Riley is the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) science advisor emeritus. He has had careers as botanist, geologist, ecologist and conservation professional with the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Geological Survey and Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Nature and, since 1998, with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

He is co-founder of the Partnership for Public Lands, which led the campaign that that added six million acres of protected areas across Ontario. John is also co-founder of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and Greenbelt Foundation, and has written books on the peatlands of Ontario and the Hudson Bay Lowland, the ecology of the Niagara Escarpment and Georgian Bay World Biosphere Reserves, and the Rouge Valley, as well as thematic studies of Ontario alvars and woodlands.

As NCC Chief Science Officer and National Director, Conservation Strategies after 1998, John guided the organization in its creation of a systematic, evidence-based approach to conservation at scale, completing conservation blueprints from coast-to-coast, focusing NCC securement and stewardship on the areas most in need of conservation to protect Canada’s natural diversity. He led the work to secure the funds to complete this mission, and co-authored three conservation blueprints: for the Great Lakes and prairie and parkland ecoregions and for Labrador. 

John was also instrumental in the project to return plains bison to Old Man on His Back in 2003, and the development of Conservation Data Centres across the country.

McGill-Queens University Press published his latest book, The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History, which has been favourably reviewed by notables like Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. The book won the Ontario Historical Society Fred Landon Award for best history in the last three years. John lives on a farm in Mono, Ontario.    

‘‘John Riley’s contributions to conservation, inside and outside NCC, are legion,” says Michael Bradstreet, NCC vice president of conservation.

Tour dates


Jan 27, St. Catherines
Nature Conservancy of Canada Plenary

Apr 22, Owen Sound
Earth Day

May 7, Tobermory/Wiarton
SOKF Keynote speaker


Sept-10 Nature Guelph, 7:30PM, Peter Kelly, 100 people
Sept-16 Simcoe Nature Clubs100 people
Sept-21 Sauble Field Naturalists, 80 people
Oct-3  Credit Valley Conservation Authority
Oct-25  King Historical Society, King Museum
Nov-10  North Peel Naturalists,
Nov-20 Laurentian University, Living with Lakes Centre
Dec-1/3 Trent University and Kawartha Land Trust, Peterborough


February 4, 2014 - Toronto
Keynote speaker
Environment Canada - Great Lakes Wetlands Day
Radisson Hotel Toronto East - 55 Hallcrown Place, Toronto, ON
9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Inquiries: wetlandsday2014@glwcap.ca

March 4, 2014 - London
Our Native Land and Modern Footprint: Ecological Change through Time
In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Nature London (McIlwraith Field Naturalists)
Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library - 251 Dundas St. London, ON
7:30 p.m.
Inquiries: info@mcilwraith.ca

March 9, 2014 - Toronto
The Once and Future Great Lakes Country with John Riley, (NCC)
Howard Park Tennis Club - 430 Parkside Drive, Toronto, ON
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Inquiries: stewards@highparknature.org

March 29, 2014 - Mulmur
Live Learning Presentation - John L. Riley
Dufferin County Museum and Archives - 936000 Airport Rd, Mulmur, ON
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
inquiries: events@dufferinmuseum.com

April 1, 2014 - Owen Sound
Spring Lecture Series - The Passenger Pigeon: Lessons About Sustainability
Grey Roots Museum & Archives - 102599 Grey Road 18, RR 4, Owen Sound, ON
2:30 p.m.
Inquiries: info@greyroots.com

May 1, 2014 - Cobourg
The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological Perspective
Columbus Community Centre - 232 Spencer St. East, Coubourg, ON
7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Inquiries: joanne@northumberlandlearningconnection.ca

May 2, 2014 - Port Hope
Lessons from Northumberland
Port Hope Library - 31 Queen St, Port Hope, ON
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Inquiries: joanne@northumberlandlearningconnection.ca

May 28, 2014 - Toronto
Labatt Presents: The Walrus Talks Water
Isabel Bader Theatre - 93 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON
6:30 p.m.
Inquiries: Contact Walrus Foundation via Eventbrite

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