Category Archives: News

Join us for an evening with Adam Shoalts: Modern Day Explorer

Adam Shoalts will be sharing stories and footage from the adventures which inspired his latest book, Beyond the Trees.

The Foundation is thrilled to announce that we’ll be hosting Adam Shoalts at The Westdale for an exclusive speaking and film presentation on November 13th at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 (includes HST) and are available now at thewestdale.ca. All proceeds will go to support the Foundation’s Area of Greatest Need Fund which supports the most urgent environmental needs on conservation lands in the Hamilton watershed.

Join the Hamilton Conservation Foundation for this exclusive speaking and film presentation where Adam will share the thrilling ups and downs of his solo adventures paddling raging rivers and relying on his skills as a white-water canoeist to survive.

A writer, explorer, public speaker, and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Adam has mapped unknown rivers, lead expeditions, explored archaeological digs, and photographed countless examples of elusive and rare wildlife. Beyond the Trees, the highly anticipated, incredible story of Adam’s nearly 4,000 km solo journey across Canada’s Arctic, is now in bookstores.

Click here to buy your tickets today!

Friends of the Eramosa Karst ensure Conservation Area thrives as surrounding neighbourhoods grow

(l to r) FOTEK representatives Doug Dunford, Brad Gautreau and Margaret Reid present a cheque to Grace Correia, Foundation Executive Director, Cllr. Lloyd Ferguson, HCA Chair and Lisa Burnside HCA CAO.

The Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) have donated $60,000 to the Foundation thanks to a grant from the Heritage Green Community Trust. The funding helps us complete the next step in efforts to plant a buffer of vegetation between the Conservation Area’s lush meadows and the surrounding residential developments. With continued growth around the Conservation Area, these plantings are more vital than ever.

The trees and shrubs funded through this donation will be planted, in part during a volunteer day on Saturday, September 21st. Normally this email would include a call for volunteers but, due to FOTEK’s overwhelming success in bringing community together, the event is already full!

This donation brings FOTEK up to the $100,000 Trustee of Conservation level on the Foundation’s Donor Wall and will be honoured at the Foundation’s 2020 Appreciation Evening next May.

Hamilton Future Fund grant connects Canal Park with waterfront

The viewing platform and shade structure completes the Canal Park vision and brings the Foundation’s EcoPark Campaign efforts to a successful close.

A grant from the Hamilton Future Fund means that a new shade structure and canal viewing platform are now complete at Canal Park. The structure offers visitors to the urban nature sanctuary a chance to get right up to the water.

The structure will be formally unveiled at an event on Sunday, September 29 from 2-4pm which will feature a classical guitar performance by Gary Santucci. Readers are welcome to attend and are encouraged to RSVP to foundation@conservationhamilton.ca or 905-525-2181 ext. 129.

The site of the former Ben Veldhuis Greenhouses has been a part of a decade-long brownfield restoration effort funded through donations to the Foundation’s EcoPark Campaign. The Campaign sought to turn the site into an urban nature sanctuary and acquire natural lands between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment as part of the multi-partner Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. With this grant, the Foundation was able to bring the last piece of the Campaign vision to its successful completion.

Back to School and Back to Nature

Outdoor Environmental Education teacher-naturalist James O’Neill shows families around the Dundas Valley Conservation Area on a guided hike at the end of August.

Now that we are well into September, we are waking up to chillier mornings and little pockets of leaves are starting to hint that Fall is just around the corner. This is an exciting time of year out in our Conservation Areas. Schools are back in session and classes are once again exploring the Dundas Valley Conservation Area as part of our Outdoor Environmental Education program.

Our Outdoor Environmental Education program provides classes with curriculum-focused field trips to the Dundas Valley CA. These sessions bring classroom lessons to life in the great outdoors. Every year, over 5,000 students are able to benefit from this experience.

Those students get to enjoy the Valley because of donations from generous people like you. Donations fund our Outdoor Environmental Education program and ensure that, despite increasing budget pressures on schools and Conservation Authorities, Hamilton’s students will still get their day in the Valley.

To all of you who continue to support this program with donations to our Outdoor Environmental Education Fund: thank you!

Design Plan to keep Saltfleet Conservation Area moving toward large-scale wetland vision

A relatively nondescript patch of former agricultural land, prone to regular flooding events from Battlefield Creek, is set to be home to part of a manmade wetland complex.

With a generous grant of $100,000 from the RBC Foundation, previously announced in our electronic newsletter, Hamilton Conservation Authority has hired a consultant to design what is expected to be the region’s largest manmade wetland.

The wetland is planned for a property along Battlefield Creek near First Road in Stoney Creek acquired by the Hamilton Conservation Authority with a $2 million land acquisition grant from the Heritage Green Community Trust. The wetland is expected to be formed by a raised berm along First Road. The berm will hold back hold back water while a variety of natural features will be installed to slow the pace and cool the temperature of Battlefield Creek allowing it to assume its original, meandering shape and spill over into a variety of pools. This approach is expected to provide vital flood prevention downstream and add a massive boost to local biodiversity.

The long-term vision for the Conservation Area is expected to also include a connection to the nearby Devil’s Punchbowl along the Dofasco 2000 Trail.

With this donation, the RBC Foundation has reached a milestone in their support for the Hamilton Conservation Foundation. The donation saw the RBC Foundation recognized at the $250,000-499,999 – Benefactor of Conservation level on the Foundation’s donor wall and at our recent Appreciation Day at the Dundas Valley Golf & Curling Club.

Dofasco 2000 Trail boardwalk gets complete overhaul

A section of the Dofasco 2000 Trail Boardwalk shown after a complete rebuild.

With a donation of $200,000 over two years from ArcelorMittal Dofasco GP, the Upper Stoney Creek trail linking the Devil’s Punchbowl and Vinemount Swamp will be rebuilt and prepared for linkages to the new Saltfleet Conservation Area.

The trail has seen a number of closures in recent years as the Emerald Ash Borer dramatically altered the tree canopy and the boardwalks aging footings began to deteriorate.

With ArcelorMittal Dofasco GP’s gift, the Conservation Authority was able to begin work on a complete rebuild of the boardwalk this past winter. The work is now half complete and is expected re-start this coming winter.

The trail investment is especially timely as it runs alongside part of the Saltfleet Conservation Area and has the potential to connect visitors to the property once the area’s long-term wetland project is complete.

Design Plan to keep Saltfleet Conservation Area moving toward large-scale wetland vision

A relatively nondescript patch of former agricultural land, prone to regular flooding events from Battlefield Creek, is set to be home to part of a manmade wetland complex.

With a generous grant of $100,000 from the RBC Foundation, previously announced in our electronic newsletter, Hamilton Conservation Authority has hired a consultant to design what is expected to be the region’s largest manmade wetland.

The wetland is planned for a property along Battlefield Creek near First Road in Stoney Creek acquired by the Hamilton Conservation Authority with a $2 million land acquisition grant from the Heritage Green Community Trust. The wetland is expected to be formed by a raised berm along First Road. The berm will hold back hold back water while a variety of natural features will be installed to slow the pace and cool the temperature of Battlefield Creek allowing it to assume its original, meandering shape and spill over into a variety of pools. This approach is expected to provide vital flood prevention downstream and add a massive boost to local biodiversity.

The long-term vision for the Conservation Area is expected to also include a connection to the nearby Devil’s Punchbowl along the Dofasco 2000 Trail.

With this donation, the RBC Foundation has reached a milestone in their support for the Hamilton Conservation Foundation. The donation saw the RBC Foundation recognized at the $250,000-499,999 – Benefactor of Conservation level on the Foundation’s donor wall and at our recent Appreciation Day at the Dundas Valley Golf & Curling Club.

Friends of the Eramosa Karst build on years of tireless advocacy with fundraising and volunteer plantings

(l to r) Fred Fuchs, Nicole Bedell, Margaret Reid and Jennifer Stebbing celebrate FOTEK’s achievement

The Foundation was thrilled to recognize the Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) this Spring at our 2019 Appreciation Event as they reached the Pioneer of Conservation ($50,000- 99,999) level on our Donor Wall.

Founded in October 2007, the group of volunteers sought to protect the Eramosa Karst Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) from a proposed housing development. They successfully launched a public relations and fundraising campaign aimed at lobbying the provincial government. Ultimately they were successful in getting the Province to donate the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area to the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

Following that success, the volunteers helped to protect the “Feeder Lands” surrounding the Conservation Area, having them turned over to HCA for a long-term lease for a nominal fee. Despite two extraordinary successes, FOTEK’s volunteers have not quit. They continue to fundraise, lead guided hikes through the area and attract dozens of volunteers for annual native species plantings.

We at the Hamilton Conservation Foundation were extraordinarily proud to recognize FOTEK on May 13 at our Appreciation Evening as they reached the Pioneer of Conservation ($50,000-99,999) level on our Donor Wall.

Volunteer groups start pulling invasive species from Conservation Areas and private lands

The EcoCise series of volunteer events is run by the Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program and Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) Ecology department. Their work is supported in part by donations to the Foundation’s Stewardship Fund.

A staff member removed Japanese Knotweed at the edge of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.

While acres of garlic mustard and phragmites are a formidable foe, a group of volunteers has formed to help limit the spread of invasive species across the Hamilton watershed. Organized by the Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program and HCA Ecology Department, the volunteers get together every few weeks to do something positive for the environment and enjoy some of the wellness benefits of exercise and time spent outdoors in the process.

With three events completed to date, the group has removed dozens of bags of japanese knotweed and garlic mustard with plans to continue their efforts through the rest of the summer.

Three further invasive removal days are planned along with six litter cleanup days.

If you or a group you know are interested in getting involved
with an EcoCise event, please email volunteer@conservationhamilton.ca.

To donate in support of these efforts, visit our donation page and select
“Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program” as the donation recipient.

Dofasco 2000 Trail boardwalk sees much-needed improvements thanks to generous donation

The Dofasco 2000 Trail boardwalk is getting some much-needed attention.

The aging 1.7 km boardwalk, part of a larger 11.5 km multi-use trail, had increasing safety and accessibility concerns which threatened to limit community access to the Vinemount South Swamp.

With a pledge of $200,000 over two years, ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s donation will ensure that the boardwalk is rebuilt and improved for a new generation of trail users. Work has already begun over the winter months to put this donation to work.

The funding is especially timely given that the trail will link the Vinemount South Swamp with the Saltfleet Conservation Area. The new Conservation Area is part of a 10-year project which seeks to create the largest urban wetland in Canada and help reduce the impact of heavy rains on lower Stoney Creek.

Hamilton Port Authority donation celebrates impact of Spencer Creek habitat improvements on broader Harbour ecosystem.

Decades of urbanization have degraded the creek’s ecological function. A few small tweaks have made it a whole lot more hospitable to native fish species.

A new set of habitat improvements to Lower Spencer Creek, undertaken in 2018, has already begun to improve the ecological productivity of the creek system. A donation from the Hamilton Port Authority will help educate visitors about the benefits of the little-known project.

To anyone hiking along the Lower Spencer Creek Rail Trail near Cootes Drive, the improvements are hard to notice, let alone understand. The salmon, walleye and other species that use the creek, however, see things a little differently. With riffle pools, brush layering and boulder clusters, the creek now boasts a number of features these species need in order to forage, spawn and thrive.

Thanks to the Hamilton Port Authority, two panels will be installed along the trail to explain just how these habitat improvements will impact Lower Spencer Creek, Cootes Paradise and the larger Hamilton Harbour ecosystem.

Cider Shack project moving forward in the heart of the Dundas Valley CA

Fundraising efforts for the $50,000 project are already half-way complete.

Efforts to renovate the Merrick Cider Shack in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area are moving ahead with plans taking shape and fundraising getting underway.

The Cider Shack, set in the middle of the former orchard turned meadow, is in the heart of a biodiversity hot spot. The open spaces surrounding the Shack will provide great bird watching for visitors as well as children taking part in Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Outdoor  Environmental Education program.

Barn Swallow project aims to provide vital habitat to Species at Risk at Meadowlands CA

A new barn swallow habitat structure will help decrease nesting along the facades of nearby homes.

Barn swallows have begun nesting in the archways of homes adjacent to the Meadowlands Conservation Area. The Conservation Area has great foraging lands and plenty of mud, an essential part of their nests. What the area lacks, however, is a suitable nesting structure.

With a $5,000 fundraising goal, the project build a new structure in the Conservation Area so that Barn Swallows can continue to nest and avoid confrontations with area homeowners.

Click here to donate today!

New Tribute Trees program will help kickstart planting projects throughout Hamilton watershed

Trees play an important role in our environment. Among other things, they provide shade and cooling, hold pollutants and carbon, and provide food and habitat for our birds and other species. Planting a tree is the easiest thing we can do to improve our quality of life now and for
future generations.

And now there’s a way for you to help us plant more trees, while recognizing someone.

The Hamilton Conservation Foundation’s Tribute Tree Program provides an opportunity to commemorate a special occasion or the life of a loved one. A donation of $125 to the Foundation’s Tribute Trees will be directed to our Planting Fund and will be used to plant native trees and shrubs where they’re needed most in the Hamilton Watershed.

A charitable receipt will be provided for your contribution.

In addition, the name of the individual or organization being honoured will be recognized on signage in the Beckett Forest in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area starting in summer 2019. An acknowledgement of your tribute will also be sent directly to the person or organization being recognized or to the family of the person being remembered.

To find out more about the program and make a donation, please click here.

Eramosa Karst Volunteer Plantings help buffer natural areas from housing developments and educate neighbours on the value of meadow habitat

As Hamilton’s population and housing needs grow, more and more pressure is placed on our watershed’s natural areas. The Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) are making things easier on the natural world.

When neighbours of the Eramosa Karst CA Feeder Lands started mowing the areas behind their properties, they likely thought they were just cleaning up the weeds. The Feeder Lands, which surround the Conservation Area to the North, East and South, host vital habitat for butterflies, breeding birds and a number of Species at Risk. Continue reading

Remembering Past-Chair Hugh Clark, a volunteer, donor and friend of conservation.

Quiet, behind the scenes approach helped raise money for countless Conservation Foundation projects spanning four decades.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Foundation Past Chair, Hugh Clark, at the end of August. Hugh was a passionate conservationist and served on the
Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1977 to 1996, serving as chair from 1988 to 1991.

Both as a Director and Chairman, Hugh’s passion for Land Acquisition played a vital role in securing hundreds of acres of wetlands throughout the Spencer Creek headwaters. As Chair
of the Foundation’s Land Acquisition Committee, Hugh used his contacts to secure gifts from a number of local corporations, Foundations and service clubs which helped the Conservation Authority acquire parcels of land in the Beverly Swamp and Fletcher Creek. Continue reading

Happy Holidays from the Hamilton Conservation Foundation!

As we reach the end of 2018, we at the Hamilton Conservation Foundation would like to thank you for your help in protecting the things that make the Hamilton watershed a special place.

Thanks to your support, over 5,700 students explored the Dundas Valley Conservation Area through our Education program and new wetlands are being designed at the Saltfleet Conservation Area. We’re also rebuilding the Dofasco 2000 Trail boardwalk in Vinemount Swamp and expanding our trails in the recently-protected natural areas behind Westfield Heritage Village. None of this would not have been possible without your generosity.

On behalf of all of the beautiful and diverse natural areas in the Hamilton watershed, thank you!

Apply to join our Board!

Do you want to make a difference for the Hamilton watershed? Do your personal and professional experiences give you a skill set that could make a difference for our organization? The Hamilton Conservation Foundation is looking for people who care deeply about the natural world and are willing to commit their time, effort and skills to our volunteer Board of Directors.

If you would like to meet with some of our staff and volunteers to discuss how you might be able to contribute, please send your resumé and a cover letter (outlining your interest in our organization), by email to foundation@conservationhamilton.ca.

Directors are expected to put their skills to work at our monthly Board of Directors meetings and by assisting with:

  • Fundraising
  • Strategic Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Monitoring
  • Governance
  • Director Development and Evaluation
  • External Relationships
  • Thanking our Wonderful Donors

There is no deadline to apply. Recruitment will continue to be an ongoing process.

Kids head back to school and back to nature


Thanks to the incredible support of our donors, we’re kicking off the 2018-19 school year with one of the busiest fall sessions in recent memory. 2018 marks the first time that the Foundation has committed to raising all of Hamilton Conservation Authority’s share of its education budget through donations.

We’ve reached out to companies, Foundations and people like you to help us meet our increased commitment and we’ve been thrilled with the response. Thanks to your support, our education program is stronger than ever and bringing students on field trips from across Hamilton.

Click here to see a list of supporters to this vital program, or to make your own donation!

Experience the magic of a child’s field trip to the Dundas Valley at our Fall Donor Appreciation Hike


Do you wish you could see nature through the eyes of a child? When was the last time a teacher took you and your friends on a hike through the Dundas Valley Conservation Area? If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, we’d love to have you at our Fall Donor Appreciation Hike.

We’ll be recreating the outdoor classroom experience for our donors as our way of saying thank you for your incredible support. Staff from our Education program will be on-hand to point out all of the different critters, plants and tracks that fill our Conservation Area. To receive an invitation in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter or make a donation. Our event will take place Saturday, October 27th.