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KLT to Receive $600K Over Four Years from The Michael Young Family Foundation to Accelerate Whole Landscape Conservation in the Kawarthas

Kawartha Land Trust staff and Partners in Conservation landowner walking on property in Kawarthas

Our ecologically vibrant landscape is in the hands of thousands of landowners. The care of private lands in the Kawarthas affects the overall health of nature across our region. Thanks to The Michael Young Family Foundation (TMYFF), Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) will be able to work with more landowners in the Kawarthas to ensure a greener, more sustainable future for all.

The Michael Young Family Foundation is investing $600K over four years in Kawartha Land Trust to help empower landowners and their communities to steward local farmlands, wetlands, grasslands, and forests as one thriving ecosystem.

Over the last decade through its “Integrated Land Project,” The Michael Young Family Foundation has partnered with Kawartha Land Trust and Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to improve biodiversity in the Kawarthas.

The project is about listening to the needs of local landowners, including farmers, and asking how we can work together to create a more sustainable landscape. Together, we bring our wealth of knowledge about land directly to landowners and inspire and support them in their efforts to regenerate the health of farms, forests, and habitats — as one integrated whole.

This new investment from TMYFF will allow KLT to expand upon its efforts to work with private landowners through its growing Partners in Conservation (PIC) program.

“We have been partnering with KLT since 2012 and have been consistently impressed by the team’s commitment to the land and the community it serves,” said David Young, Chairman of The Michael Young Family Foundation.

“KLT has, in a very short period of time, grown to become a leader in the land trust movement in Canada which is showing the way forward in land conservation. This is not our first long-term commitment to KLT, nor I suspect, will it be the last.”

KLT staff member and volunteer planting trees
KLT Partners in Conservation Coordinator Rachel Barrington (right) and volunteer (left) planting Dogwood and Willow Trees to enhance riparian area at KLT’s Kidd Farm CEA in Douro as part of KLT’s Partners in Conservation program. (Photo: Kate Powell)

KLT’s Partners in Conservation program was created to build relationships with people and families who own land and to support them with various stewardship initiatives. The program has worked with landowners on a variety of initiatives, including shoreline restoration, tree planting, fish habitat restoration, sustainable management of agricultural and forestry land, managing invasive plant species, improving pollinator habitat, and other projects.

Through our Partners in Conservation program, KLT has been able to expand our impact in the Kawarthas. Over 80 participants who collectively own more than 11,000 acres of land have entered the program to date, bringing KLT’s total impacted lands to over 16,000 acres.

“I’m constantly inspired by the landowners I meet in the Kawarthas,” said Thom Unrau, KLT’s Director of Community Conservation.

“So many people are eager to do their part to mitigate the effects of climate change, restore nature, reconnect people to land, and build sustainable food systems. I believe land, and, therefore, each landowner, has enormous power to shape the future. The generous financial contribution from The Michael Young Family Foundation will enable Kawartha Land Trust to build a larger network of landowners working toward a more resilient and sustainable Kawarthas for all.”

For those who own more than 30 acres of land and are interested in becoming part of Kawartha Land Trust’s Partners in Conservation community and receiving a customized stewardship guide, please reach out to KLT’s Partners in Conservation Coordinator Rachel Barrington at [email protected] or 705-743-5599.

For more information on the program, visit our Partners in Conservation program page

Main image: Kawartha Land Trust staff and a Partner in Conservation walking on the land during a fieldwork day to support grassland habitat. (KLT)

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