Lake Simcoe Updates: How’s it going and what are we doing about it?- Virtual Event

Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition will update you about the health of Lake Simcoe, what governments are and are not doing about it, and our response. Learn how you can engage in supporting Lake Simcoe as a property owner, cottager, resident, tourist or activist. Q&A to follow presentations.

Register for this virtual discussion in advance using the link below:

Protect the Lake Paddle

Learn about protecting Kempenfelt Bay with a guided tour from Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition.
Enjoy a leisure paddle & summer sunset from a dragon boat, while meeting a variety of local environmentally friendly communities.

When: Wednesday, August 23rd – 6:30-8pm + after social at restaurant

Where: Barrie Heritage Park

Tickets: $30. Reserve your spot and pay by e-transfer by emailing A portion of the funds will be donated to Rescue Lake Simcoe!

Corporate Recess provides all life jackets and paddles. Please sign the online waiver prior to the event. This event is for ages 14+

Congratulations to Anna Bourgeois, Winner of a 2022 Healthy Community Award

Congratulations to our friend and volunteer Anna Bourgeois, who has just won a 2022 Healthy Community Award. The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority bestows this award upon individuals and groups whose volunteer work increases community connections, engagement and awareness of issues confronting the health of the Lake Simcoe watershed. 

What has Anna done to merit this honour? The list of her ongoing actions is staggering, and is a testament to her refusal to leave the task of “saving the planet” to “someone else.” 

Anna is the Director of Concerned Citizens of Ramara; she is both a board member and secretary with both AWARE Simcoe and the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, and she is an extremely active volunteer with Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition’s Laugh for Lake Simcoe fundraising team. Other organizations with whom she consistently shares his impressive skill set: Miller Quarry Public Engagement Committee; Orillia Water Watchers; Just Recovery Simcoe; Stop the Bradford Bypass; the Green Party of Ontario, and the Green Party of Canada.

Devoted to residents’ right to know whether the local environment and resources might be at risk, Anna scours Ramara Township council meeting agendas for items associated with illegal or questionable soil dumping, zoning bylaw alterations, noise bylaw and gun range infractions, municipal water supply system fragmentation and local quarry interactions such as bylaw compliance, exemptions and amendments–particularly where they might infringe on the health of water and soil.

When folks meet to protect the purest water of the Waverly Highlands and the Elmvale Flow, or to protest the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413, Anna is there. 

Always eager to share knowledge and inspire engagement, Anna regularly posts to the Concerned Citizens of Ramara, Simcoe North Green Party and Team Ramara Facebook pages, as well as Twitter.

An acclaimed professional graphic designer, Anna has created—pro bono—graphics for several campaigns and organizations, including Laugh for Lake Simcoe, Stop Sprawl Orillia, AWARE Simcoe, Orillia Water Watchers, Ramara Legacy Alliance, Sustainable Orillia–which included the Orillia Food Map, which helps vulnerable community members access food—and others.

As a farmer, Anna collaborates on decisions related to the Ontario Farmland Trust Conservation Easement Agreement on her and her husband Mike’s farm.

For Anna, environmental stewardship isn’t a sideline; it is a way of life. John F. Kennedy said: “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” Anna is the embodiment of that statement, and an amazing role model for all of us who are concerned about the health of the Lake Simcoe watershed and the state of our planet’s ecosystems as a whole.

By Susan Sheard, RLSC Board Member

In Praise of Wild Places

An essay by Nari Hwang, Grade 8 student from Shanty Bay Public School.

 The author

A map of Lake Simcoe made from pictures taken on a trip around the Lake

“To many a city person there comes a time when the great town wearies them. They hate its sights and smells and clangor. Every duty is a task, and every caller is a bore. There come visions of green fields and far rolling hills, of tall forests and cool, swift flowing streams.”

This excerpt from “Camping and Woodcraft” by Horace Kephart,  a book first published in 1917 and given by my grandfather to his father, still speaks to me over the years. It is still true for many of us.  It explains that sometimes we need to go out into the wild places and do whatever we wish; to be free and to breathe in the clear wilderness air. 

Wild places have the power to make us feel alive and free, they are vital to the health of the environment, and they have been a source of inspiration over the centuries for countless artists, scientists, free spirits and even office bound bankers like my great grandpa. 

Feeling a little pull to the outdoors? Let’s go on a little journey and explore the importance of wild places…

Like so many adventures, ours starts… on the couch! Boredom rules! Someone suggests a walk and everyone sluggishly puts on their boots, squints into the sun and heads off to countless possibilities.

The cool air tingles our cheeks and our hearts start beating a little faster. In a moment, I am climbing a tree with my brother and sister. We are pirates! Hey, you grab a stick sword too and join in! With no laundry to do, or calls to make, the grown-ups loosen up too and we run and laugh and seek and look at teeny tiny inch worms, and feel the soft poofiness of mossy fairy places. Other times, we can just sit quietly and soak in the green earthiness. Experts in mental health even recommend that kids have the chance to get bored, get outside, and get creative.  Whether to try new things, bond with those you love or enjoy some solitude and time to think, wild places, big or small are just the place to do it.

Let’s turn onto a new path, because wild places aren’t only good for encouraging that feeling of awesomeness! They are also a source of creative inspiration. Without the wild places, where would the wild things be? This is a question answered in Maurice Sendak’s children’s story, Where the Wild Things Are. Here, a boy travels to a fantasy land full of weird beasts, becomes king and then heads home in time for dinner. Wild places have been the source of creative inspiration in many books for young people — The Call of the Wild, Lost in the Barrens, and The Jungle Book are a few that I have read with my family. You can probably think of others too.

Think also of the music, dance, theatre and poetry that was inspired by singing birds, rolling hills or dancing leaves. Canadian visual artists like Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, the Group of Seven, Bill Reid and Kenojuak Ashevak have shown us the rough beauty of our landscape and have inspired many to pack lightly, put on some good hiking shoes, or slide into a tippy canoe to go see more of Canada. Each of these creative works asks us, to hear the call, to come along, to join in the adventure and experience a little wild — even if only in our imaginations.

However, we need wild places, not just because they are inspiring, but also for environmental reasons. Forests are good for filtering ground and surface water as it moves through toward bodies of water. They also absorb unwanted carbon dioxide and provide safe habitats and food for native animals and plants. Wetlands and marshes also provide important biodiverse ecosystems and form the main filtration systems in nature! Other places like wild fields or meadows are good for native pollinators, and a whole different ecosystem of creatures and native weeds that are vital to our earth.

Each wild place is a unique ecosystem that produces its own unique cycle and flow of nutrients. Plants and animals live, and serve a special purpose, then once they die and decompose, they turn once again into soil. New plants use that soil to grow, and whatever eats that plant will have new energy and the cycle will continue. It is miraculous and inspiring! 

According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Canada is home to more than 70 000 wild species and 43 national parks and reserves that cover nearly a quarter million square kilometres. It’s also home to 30 percent of the world’s boreal forests and 25 percent of the world’s wetlands. 

But, our wild places are in danger because of us. We need to take action against things like climate change and pollution. 

David Attenborough’s new film  called “David Attenborough: A life on our Planet” talks about how our earth is changing because we take more than the earth can afford to give. He says, “The true tragedy of our time is still unfolding across the globe, barely noticeable from day to day. I’m talking about the loss of our planet’s wild places, its biodiversity… We cut down over 15 billion trees each year. We reduced freshwater populations by over 80% replacing the wild, with the tame… We must restore the biodiversity; the very thing that we’ve removed, it’s the only way out of this crisis we have created. We must re-wild the world.”

So, how do we do that? Most of us don’t own a big area of untouched land so how can we create our own little backyard wild place? Think about leaving an area in your yard un-mowed and plant some native wildflowers there. Leave the ditch near your home alone and let the native weeds grow for pollinators. Live near water? Consider a natural shoreline. If you need to remove an old tree, leave about ten feet of it behind and you will be supporting an insect and fungi high-rise condominium!

Wild places have the power to encourage adventure and fun, to improve mental health, to inspire great works of creativity and to sustain and strengthen biodiverse environments.

Remember I began with talking about my great grandpa’s book that has been passed down to my family? It also says that “this instinct for a free life in the open is as natural and wholesome as the gratification of hunger and thirst and love.”  I can imagine him reading these words that also make me excited about wild places and thankful that we still have so many to enjoy. But with that comes a responsibility to protect those places and the species that live there. Let’s leave the wild places wild and ensure that generations to come can know their glory and wonder!

Barillia Beach Park Association makes shoreline improvements look easy, because it is

If you lament that you want to improve Lake Simcoe’s health but don’t know how, then read this  pick me up! 

Barrillia Park Beach Association in Oro-Medonte, on the north shore of  Lake Simcoe, recently applied for and was granted almost $2,000 worth of native shrubs and trees. This program, called LEAP, offered by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, is available to any Lake Simcoe lakefront property holder wishing to plant native shrubs and trees. 

Our community of 40 families co-own our beach access common lot. The property bakes in the afternoon sun and has a flat grass lawn leading to the minimal sandy beach area and is needing a bit of privacy. We are ripe for beautifying, naturalizing and shade providing to create beauty, help pollinators, provide food for birds and feed our souls.  We will also be cleaning the air, stopping erosion and increasing soil fertility.

During a work week in September, eleven neighbours cleared the sides of the lot of bindweed, unruly non native scrub and old cedar hedges that had grown through our fences. In the process we gained about 12 feet of width that will receive most of the trees and shrubs. We chose 3 species of tree: Tulip, Bur Oak and Hackberry. The shrubs include Chokeberry, Amelanchier, Nannybush, Ninebark and Fragrant Sumac. All will grow well in our sandy soil plus they produce flowers in spring, berries and fruit in summer and gorgeous reds and oranges in fall. They were all chosen from a list provided by  the Restoration Specialist for Simcoe County, Peter Shuttleworth. Peter was super helpful and will bring the plant material to our community planting date in November. 

So Lake Simcoe shoreliners take a look around your property and imagine how beautiful your property would look with a boost of native shrubs and trees. Bravo Conservation Authority for supporting the watershed in this way!

Written by Linda Wells, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition Board member