12th Annual Research and Conservation Conference

The Long Point Biosphere Region is pleased to invite you to submit a proposal for a presentation or poster at our 12th Annual Research and Conservation Conference.  Click here for letter of invitation.

  • Date: Friday, November 1st , 2024
  • 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Port Dover Lions Community Centre

As one of Canada’s 19 Biosphere Reserves in Canada designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Long Point Biosphere Region provides support for research, monitoring, education, and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of biodiversity conservation and sustainability.

This year’s Research and Conservation Conference is an excellent opportunity for academic and student researchers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public to take part in a lively exchange of ideas related to local environmental sustainability and conservation.

We invite proposals for paper presentations and stand-alone poster presentations.  Proposals must be relevant and/or applicable to Long Point Biosphere Region.

Submission instructions:

All proposals must be submitted by June 25th, 2024.

The conference organizing committee is accepting two distinct types of proposals. Presentation and Poster proposals – proposals should be submitted HERE

  • Conference Presentation: to fit segments time slots of 20 minutes (including 5 minutes for questions and answers). Presenters will be scheduled throughout he day in the most appropriate order based on the topic. Shorter presentations will also be considered and evaluated based on available time slots.
  • Conference Poster: Selected poster projects will be displayed at the venue for attendees to browse and discuss with representatives.

All submissions should clearly state the type of submission (e.g. individual paper, conference poster, thesis presentation, etc.) and include an abstract of 200–300 words including:

  • The topic of study
  • Goals and objectives
  • Key findings and conclusions
  • Institutional affiliation and contact email of the contributor(s).

Presentations must be formatted in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Acceptance confirmations will be sent on July 15, 2024.

There will be a small registration fee of $45.00 for adults and $25.00 for students to cover the cost of a healthy lunch, snacks and coffee breaks. We look forward to receiving your submissions.


Call for Papers / Poster Submissions Deadline June 25th, 2024

Notification of Acceptance July 15th, 2024

Presentation Schedule Release September 5th, 2024

Event Registration Open / Close Now / November 1st, 2024

Cynthia Brink, Conference Coordinator at: conference@longpointbiosphere.com

Cell phone: 226-567-0465

2024 Turtle nesting season – Ways You Can Help

Long Point Turtle nesting season is almost here!  And We need your help

Beginning in late May each year, our female turtles will leave the safety of their marshes and ponds to nest along nearby roadsides, unknowingly putting themselves and their young at great risk.

This nesting behaviour is the reason road mortality is tied with habitat loss as the biggest threat to Canada’s freshwater turtle populations.

To help, wildlife conservation groups all over Ontario and beyond have introduced turtle egg incubation programs to find at-risk turtle nests, excavate the eggs, and carefully transport them to incubators. Then, when the eggs hatch after about two months, the hatchlings are released directly into the marsh their mothers came from.

With help from the herpetologist Scott Gillingwater and his Turtle Lab team at the London Watershed Conservation Centre, our Long Point Biosphere Wildlife Road Watch volunteers, and Eco-Kare International last year, almost 900 hatchlings were released on Long Point and Turkey Point marsh.

Fundraising for a Long Point Biosphere Region Turtle Hatchery and Exhibit

This year, for the first time ever, our Long Point turtle eggs can stay close to home. We are excited to announce a brand-new turtle egg incubation program in partnership with Long Point Eco Adventures, who have graciously provided space in their new building for four incubators where we can safely house up to 4,000 turtle eggs. But we need your help. We are about $16,000 short of our goal to get our turtle lab up and running, and the clock is ticking. Please consider donating if you are able.

Click Here to Donate.

Or Volunteer for Wildlife Road Watch

If you are not able to contribute financially but wish to help another way, please consider joining Wildlife Road Watch, our volunteer program where you will be trained this May to safely help turtles cross roads and to identify turtle nests for excavation along several key nesting hotspots. If you are interested, please consider subscribing at wildlifeonroads.com to receive an invitation, or reach out to Lauren at lnightingale@eco-kare.com for more information.

For more on what’s happening in the Long Point Biosphere check out our newsletter here

Recent Newsletters

SPRING 2024 Biosphere Beacon

In this issue, we celebrate our recent successes, new projects, and special partnerships. 

Click individual links below.

FALL 2023 Biopshere Beacon – Click here for the  full newsletter

  • Parliamentary Secretary’s visit to Long Point
  • Georgian Bay’s Ganawenim Meshkiki’s funding of Long Point Road Ecology
  • Over 50 Area Schools joining Project Feederwatch
  • Nature Canada’s renewal of funding for Long Point Programs
  • New – The Isabella Brink-Read Youth Summit Award

SUMMER 2023 Biosphere Beacon  Click here for the full newsletter 

  • Spooky Hollow helps meet national biodiversity goals
  • Join us on Wandering Wednesdays
  • We’re participating in the Birds Canada Birdathon, and we need your help!
  • How many of Norfolk County’s 22 Amazing Places have you visited?
  • We’re helping connect students to nature
  • Announcing a documentary about the Biosphere – we’ll have an extravaganza and fundraiser featuring a special showing, stay tuned!
  • Artists from indigenous and international backgrounds collaborate
  • Protecting turtles, snakes and more from the dangers of crossing the road

Local Groups Discuss Priority Place Progress

On March 12, 2024, members of the five Working Groups that have been established under the Long Point Walsingham Forest (LPWF) Priority Place collaborative met with key partners in Port Rowan to reflect on progress and obstacles encountered under the initiative.  The individuals attending the meeting represented a diverse array of local NGOs and included a representative from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the funder of the program.  The assembly, the first face-to-face meeting of the Working Groups since the Covid-19 shutdown, sought to enhance communications and outreach opportunities.

The meeting featured contributions from coordinators of the Working Groups: Road Ecology, Open Country, Agricultural Runoff, Forested and Treed Swamps, and Invasive Species. The event was enriched by the presence of notable guests including Tom Masschaele from Norfolk County Council, environmental expert Peter Zuzek, representatives Jess and Fawn Sault from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Julia Sunga from the ECCC’s Canadian Wildlife Service.

Dr. Sunga shared insights into ECCC’s new larger Carolinian Zone Priority Place and discussed what changes may be experienced by the partners of the LPWF Working Groups. Participants were asked to consider the implications for their work and to consider new collaborative partnerships with players in the larger Zone.

While attendees acknowledged challenges, there was a unanimous sense of achievement regarding the strides made toward the goals set by the respective Working Groups. Discussions also highlighted new ventures and underscored the pivotal role of Priority Place funding in bolstering and expanding collaborative habitat restorations.

Cynthia Brink, the event’s organizer from the Long Point Biosphere, reflected on the meeting as productive and a significant step forward, expressing optimism for the organization of similar future engagements.

100 Area Schools supported in Project FeederWatch

Students at over 100 schools in our region will have the resources to participate in the 2024 edition of Project FeederWatch, one of North America’s most engaging education and citizen science initiatives, due to the generosity of Armstong Milling Co. Ltd. of Hagersville.

Armstrong is donating bird feed to all of the schools in our area in conjunction with the acquisition of bird feeders at a highly discounted rate thanks to Doerksen County Store in Port Rowan.

Project FeederWatch is an international research and education collaboration led by Birds Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  The project depends on volunteers like students in the Long Point Biosphere region who collect vital data on bird populations.  The inventory takes place at different times throughout the year.  The observations made by students and other volunteers help to measure changes in the range and abundance of bird species and help ensure the health of their habitat.

With funding from Nature Canada, under its Naturehood Outdoor Education Program, the Long Point Biosphere Region has been actively promoting Project FeederWatch with area schools for several years . The Biosphere’s Cynthia Brink has overseen the distribution of educational kits to the schools to magnify the Feederwatch experience.

“Project FeederWatch  is a wonderful way for students to build a connection to nature,” said Brink. “We are delighted that the support of Armstrong and local firms like the Doerksen Country Store will allow the school program to continue and expand in our region.”

Armstrong, a Hagersville-based firm, is Canada’s leading Wild Bird Food manufacturer. 

Anyone can join Project FeederWatch and take part in a  survey.  Find out more Click Here. 

 For a FeederWatch live cam Click Here


2023 Biosphere Conference called “Best Ever!”

Featuring new format enhancements and a robust lineup of presentations, the 2023 Long Point Biosphere Region Research and Conservation Conference garnered enthusiastic praise from its 120-plus attendees. Many labeled it the “best ever” in the event’s eleven-year history.

Taking place on Friday, November 3, 2023 at the Port Dover Community Centre, the annual conference showcased recent discoveries and conservation efforts within the Biosphere. For the first time, poster presentations, exhibits, and displays enjoyed dedicated space in a separate room, providing participants with more flexibility to explore information and discuss issues outside the main program schedule during breaks.  Organizations like Birds Canada, the St. Williams Conservation Reserve Community Council, ALUS, McMaster University, and many others had displays.

Amid the UN decade of Ecological Restoration, which aims to both prevent and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, the conference main stage research presentations shed light on numerous restoration projects and research within the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place. Papers such as the Southern Seed Strategy, Recovering Tallgrass Butterfly Communities, and Insect Biomass Trends were among the highlights.

The conference commenced on a positive note with the Long Point Biosphere Region’s heartfelt Land Acknowledgment, followed by an opening ceremony from Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. Keynote speaker Peter Zuzek presented a concerning overview of geomorphology issues impacting the Long Point sand spit. Reviewing recent data and geological history, Zuzek highlighted how changes in habitat size and condition affect the broader natural environment. Structures along the Lake Erie coast, such as retaining walls and armoring, were noted for impacting the Long Point sand spit, causing it to shrink as sand is transported into deeper waters.

Zuzek emphasized that while sand spits typically grow over time in the natural environment, Long Point has lost over 300 hectares to erosion in the past 50 years. Collaborating with communities and other stakeholders, Zuzek and his colleagues are actively working to find solutions.

Cynthia Brink, Biosphere program manager and conference organizer, noted, “This provided an excellent opportunity for people to share information and plan research collaborations. It also served as a great opportunity to connect the community and students from a local high school with the amazing work being accomplished right here in their county.”

The annual Biosphere Conference, open to anyone interested in the region, its natural environment, and development, has proven to be a valuable platform for fostering collaborations. Organizers are excited to build on this year’s success in 2024. The conference is supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in the context of the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place project. 

Long Point Biosphere & University of Waterloo to Collaborate

Long Point Biosphere Region and University of Waterloo sign agreement to create new sustainability, conservation,
and biodiversity research and education opportunities

(5 December 2023, Port Rowan, Ontario) The Long Point Biosphere Region (LPBR) and the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS) at the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) signed an agreement today to facilitate collaboration in education, public outreach, and research on sustainability, conservation, and the protection of biodiversity.

The letter of intent between the two parties sets out a framework to pursue scientific priorities and to develop university courses that feature experiential learning in one of Canada’s most diverse ecological areas, a region recognized by UNESCO for its international importance.

“The Long Point Biosphere has nationally important concentrations of biodiversity, high levels of species at risk, and an exceptional agro-ecosystem,” said Derek Armitage, a SERS professor at the University of Waterloo. “The partnership creates many research and teaching opportunities for SERS students and faculty and aligns with our commitment to community-engaged and applied research to help address pressing biodiversity, climate and water challenges.”

Under the agreement, the two parties will explore innovative projects to address issues such as road ecology in student research. They will work together to inform high school students in Norfolk County of UWaterloo SERS programs and courses featuring unique skills development and impactful field work.

“By collaborating with UWaterloo students and researchers, we hope to enhance our capacity to pursue important issues informed by science and data-based decisions,” said Tom Via, LPBR Chair.  “We would like, for example, to develop a multi-faceted State of the Biosphere report aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to serve communities and governments at all levels.”

The LPBR is a non-profit corporation with a mandate to promote the value and goals of the Biosphere Region. Bordering Lake Erie and extending to all of Norfolk County, the Biosphere is home to the world’s longest freshwater sand spit formation and a host of other unique natural settings. In addition to its UNESCO designation, it has also been recognized as a Ramsar Convention wetland site and as a globally important area by Bird Life International. 

The School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS) in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo is recognized for its commitment to transdisciplinary teaching, learning, and research to protect, restore, and transform social and ecological systems.

Contact: conservation@longpointbiosphere.com


Port Rowan Mural adds Colour/Community Spirit

Carolyn King and students

Port Rowan now boasts an impressive 2,600 square-foot (240-square-metre) outdoor art installation, a vibrant mural that not only enhances the village’s aesthetics but also serves as a powerful symbol of collaborative community spirit. This striking artwork is the second installment under the Long Point Biosphere Region’s art collaborative in support of the Moccasin Identifier (MI) Project, following a previous installation at the Long Point Eco-Adventures centre.

This latest mural project was guided by international muralists Azerine De Luca and Benjamin Swatez who drew on five days of workshops with local high schools and an open house for the local community at the Birds Canada headquarters near Port Rowan.  Participants in the workshops also learned of the significance of sharing the land traditionally occupied by Indigenous peoples and of what it means to say we are all treaty people. After the workshops, De Luca and Swatez along with Indigenous artist Bezaliel Hill reviewed the art created by the students and compiled a concept for the mural.  

The Port Rowan installation, which took two weeks to roll out, was coordinated by Biosphere project manager Cynthia Brink in collaboration with the Moccasin Identifier (MI) team from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. The MI project was created by Elder Carolyn King, former Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations and recipient of the Order of Canada, as an Indigenous-led education and place-knowing initiative. The MI aims to cover Canada in Moccasins so that all Canadians will have a greater awareness of Treaty responsibilities and the history of the land that they stand on.

The Long Point Biosphere murals, including the one in Port Rowan, contribute to this initiative with lively, larger-than-life depictions of wildlife, offering an uplifting reminder of our rich First Nations heritage. The completion of the Port Rowan mural was celebrated with a ceremony in mid-November 2023, drawing a crowd of over one hundred enthusiastic young students and supporters braving the chilly weather. We were honoured with the presence of Elder Carolyn King and her team.

Local artists Tina Brink and Jenneta Dengo as well as visiting artist Cecilia Brink volunteered in the painting of the mural. Local businesses, including Benjamin Moore Canada, Cattail Cove Interiors, LMP Mini Excavations, and Norfolk Electric, played a crucial role by contributing supplies and equipment.

“Very Inspiring … proud to live in Norfolk County!”

Sold-Out Crowd attends A Priority Place Film Premiere

Close to 150 people turned out on Friday November 10th (2023) to celebrate the premiere of A Priority Place, a full-length documentary film on the drive to preserve biodiversity and a sustainable way of life in the Long Point Biosphere Region. Many attendees called the film “inspiring” adding that the dedicated people and projects that the documentary features make one “proud to live in Norfolk County.”

The film showing at the Capitol 33 event centre in Delhi followed a cocktail reception, special announcements, and an introduction by Gregg McLachlin, founder of WorkCabin Creative, an award-winning journalist and the film’s producer.

Film Producer Gregg McLachlan

“In my work, I have seen many impressive conservation projects and committed people across Ontario and elsewhere,” McLachlan told the crowd. “But I’m particularly happy to help share the stories of enthusiasm , partnerships, and impact in the place where I live.”

The film’s release marks the Long Point/Walsingham Forest area’s 5th anniversary as the first federally designated “Priority Place” in Ontario. The 2018 Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) designation made the region eligible for special funding under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation.  A long-established UNESCO World Biosphere, the region gained the “Priority Place” status in recognition of its unique stretch of Carolinian Forest, habitat for many endangered species, and conservation community with its highly collaborative approach to restoration, road mortality mitigation, invasive species eradication, and nature education.

“The passion, commitment, and contributions of the people featured in the film really gives you hope for our very special place in the world,” said Tom Via, Chair of the Long Point Biosphere Region. “It’s truly uplifting.”

In his remarks, Via commended the Priority Place partners as well as Cynthia Brink, Biosphere manager of the project. He also announced that the funds raised from the evening would support Biosphere outreach and student education projects including the establishment of the Isabella Brink-Read Bursary. “The Bella Bursary” will support Norfolk County students attending the annual Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Mother Nature. Via told the audience that the Biosphere Region would soon be signing a collaboration agreement with a major Ontario university to bring a new dimension to research and land-based education in the region.

ECCC supported the production of A Priority Place to showcase the local conservation work, which involved a host of government and non-government partner organizations celebrated at the film premiere (see Priority Place Partners).

Many local businesses also pitched in to make the evening a special event with raffle prizes and gift basket items: they are Fancy Farmerettes, Haskett’s Hooch, Hometown Brewing Co., Cider Keg Farm Market, Apple Hill Lavender, Meuse Brewing Co. , Charlotteville Brewing Co. , Sayza Hot Yoga, Norfolk Juice Co., Wishbone Brewing Co. , and Bonnieheath Estate Winery and Lavender Farm.

A Priority Place will be submitted to film festivals, shared in excerpts on social media, and distributed for educational purposes.

For more information contact: education@longpointbiosphere.com

Film Trailer below.

Youth Award named for Area Teen

The Long Point Biosphere Region has established a new award program to support Norfolk
County students in attending the annual Ontario Nature Youth Summit.  The award will be the focus for fundraising through special events and around GivingTuesday (November 28th) this year (2023).

The program and fund will be named the Isabella Brink-Read Youth Summit award or “the Bella Bursary” in
memory of a fifteen-year-old Ancaster student who died tragically in July 2021 as a result of injuries sustained in a
road mishap earlier in the year.

Isabella, who was known for her love of sports, art, music, and animals, was much loved by her family, which has strong ties to Norfolk County. Her mother Cynthia Brink is the Long Point Biosphere manager of outreach and education.

“Though Bella did not have the opportunity to pursue her dreams and to realize her full potential, the award will help other young people do so,” said Tom Via, Biosphere Chair. “By participating in the Youth Summit, Norfolk County students will build leadership skills and gain experience needed to contribute to a sustainable future.”

The Ontario Nature Youth Summit brings young people around Bella’s age (fourteen-twenty years old) together
for a weekend of nature exploration, environmental learning, and outdoor fun each September.

To donate scan QR code or click here.

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