Essex Forests and Wetlands Natural Area, ON (Photo by NCC)

Essex Forests and Wetlands Natural Area, ON (Photo by NCC)

Non-profit looking to expand conservation lands in Essex County

April 16, 2019
Windsor, ON


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking to protect 102 acres (41 hectares) of rare wetlands, woods and meadows in the heart of Essex County.

The national land conservation organization is ramping up efforts in the county, concentrating efforts on several areas, including the Cedar Creek watershed. Part of a Provincially Significant Wetland, the area is home to species at risk such as barn swallow, eastern foxsnake, monarch, short-eared owl and yellow breasted chat.

In order to protect this property, located just northeast of the community of Harrow, NCC needs to raise $225,000 by May to complete the fundraising to close the deal.

Once protected, this project will add to an important stretch of habitat along Cedar Creek, including Marshfield Woods, an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and a large, intact forest — a rarity in the county.

While much of the surrounding landscape has been used for farming for generations, the proposed nature reserve is an uncommon natural gem. Protected natural areas are extremely rare in the county.

“Cedar Creek represents one of the best examples of connected habitat in Essex County,” says Julie Vasseur, acting program director, southwestern Ontario. “The conservation of its headlands are extremely important, as headwater conservation can influence the health of the entire watershed.”

Once the project is complete, the area will be known as the Marianne Girling Nature Reserve, in recognition of the late Marianne Featherstonhaugh Girling.

“Born and raised in Essex County, Marianne grew up exploring the fields and waters of Essex county with her family,” says Dana Kleniewski, director of development & communications for Ontario region. “Her lifelong love of nature and her commitment to community inspired her to leave a generous gift in her wll to NCC,to support habitat conservation in Ontario.”

Snce beginning work here in 2000,NCC, along with their partners, has conserved 434 acres (176 hectares) in the Essex area. Of that, 321 acres (130 hectares) have been restored to natural habitat.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast, with more than 200,000 acres (82,000 hectares) in Ontario. To learn more, visit

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Media Contact:

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

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