Crane River Tract, Northern Bruce Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Crane River Tract, Northern Bruce Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Improving environment and conservation outcomes

February 19, 2016
Cambridge/North Dumfries


NCC announces new partnership with Ontario academics, researchers

Today the rare Charitable Research Reserve and the Nature Conservancy of Canada announced the launch of a partnership to address key environmental issues. They also indicated their intention to do much more together by bringing in other Waterloo Region partners.

For over a decade, the rare reserve has been a living laboratory for research addressing fundamental ecological concerns. More than 45 research projects have taken place or are in progress, with more than a dozen of these studies already published in international journals, making Waterloo Region known globally for yet another area of expertise.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading national land conservation organization that partners with individuals, corporations, other non-profit organisations and governments at all levels to protect our most important natural treasures — the natural areas that sustain Canada’s plants and wildlife.

Through a funding partnership and with access to Nature Conservancy of Canada lands, rare will expand the number of sites available for important research projects. NCC will be able to take advantage of rare’s Chain of Learning model to create more communities of concern around key properties while training the next generation of conservationists.

Together, they will be able to provide organizations and individual land owners with the information and tools needed to make the right choices when dealing with key environmental threats such as the decline of pollinators and invasive species.

Quotes and next steps

"There is no longer time to take an incremental approach to fundamental issues facing conservationists," said John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. " By working with rare we will have the ability to tap into a network of university researchers that supports us in answering our most burning conservation science questions”.

Dr. Stephanie Sobek-Swant, rare’s Executive Director, and Dr. Mhairi McFarlane, Nature Conservancy of Canada's Conservation Science Manager in Ontario, both expressed their appreciation of the NCC partnership:

“We have a group of scientists at rare who are excited about the chance to work at sites across the country, sites the NCC has protected for the benefit of all Canadians. This fits perfectly with our organizations’ common mandate to expand and connect the lands we hold in trust for the community.”

The first joint project rare will undertake with funding from NCC involves disease as causes of amphibian population decline. Kirsten McMillan, a PhD student at Laurentian University, is to study pathogens of Leopard Frogs and their pattern of spread based on environmental variation, with the goal to better predict disease risk for amphibian populations, and to disentangle mechanisms of how disease spreads.

“It is critical to confront this issue as amphibian decline may be an early indicator of the impending loss of freshwater aquatic ecosystem services,” says McMillan, “as these declines occur in both human-disturbed and seemingly pristine habitats, this matter has been acknowledged as a global conservation priority.”

McMillan will receive a $3400 scholarship for her research work and to sample frogs on rare and Nature Conservancy of Canada properties in Southwestern Ontario.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our country’s most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.8 million acres (over 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 180,000 acres in Ontario (72,843 hectares).  For more information:

Founded in 2001, the rare Charitable Research Reserve is a 900+ acre land trust situated at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers in the heart of the Waterloo Region. The reserve is a beautifully and culturally significant landscape that includes trees more than 240 years old. Rich in biodiversity, rare is home to an array of flora and fauna – some of which are ranked significant regionally, provincially, nationally and even globally. Striving to preserve the land for future generations rare focuses on conservation, research and education through ecological restoration, environmental programming, and providing passive recreation opportunities to the surrounding community through 8km of trails.

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Media Contact:

Nicole Senyi
Communications Manager
Ontario Region
C: 416-937-5079

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