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Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary

Douro-Dummer Township

Established 2023


Protected Acres


Roussel-Steffler Family

Open to public:




Interesting Features:

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary was donated to Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) in 2023 by Marlene Roussel and the Roussel-Steffler family. Through their generosity, the vital habitats on this 102-acre property in Douro-Dummer Township will be protected forever. The donation of the property was made in honour of Marlene’s late husband, Paul Roussel.

Nearly 90% of the property is located within the Kawarthas Naturally Connected (KNC) Preferred Scenario, and almost 60% of this nature reserve includes a section of a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW).

KLT’s Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary protects a variety of habitats that support wildlife in the region, including a number of species at risk.

The wildflower meadow, which is home to Milkweed, Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and additional flowering plants, provides excellent habitat for pollinators like butterflies, bees, and other insects.

The property features 60 acres of mature, coniferous treed swamp, which is part of the provincially significant Dummer Swamp. The swamp is mostly treed, but it also features small areas of open water where frogs are heard calling each spring.

Vernal pools are prevalent, adding a diversity of habitat for many wetland species, including at-risk Western Chorus Frogs (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence — Canadian Shield Population), which have been heard on the property.

A smaller, 7-acre deciduous tree swamp is home to trees like Red Maple, American Elm, Eastern White Cedar, Endangered Black Ash, and others and a variety of plant species, including Jewelweed, Horsetail, Sensitive Fern, and various sedges and mosses.

Worldwide, amphibians are experiencing declines due to habitat loss and other factors. The protection of this wetland will help support amphibians in the region.

The remainder of the property includes mixed forest that is home to spring ephemerals, coniferous forest, and old agricultural lands.

The protected fields provide grassland birds with habitat at an important time. According to a study published in 2019 by the journal Science, North America has experienced a net loss of almost three billion birds since 1970. Grassland birds showed the “largest magnitude of total population loss since 1970” with more than 700 million breeding birds lost. The study notes that 74% of North American grassland species are declining.

A selection of other wildlife species observed or heard on the property by KLT staff or the Roussel-Steffler family include White-Tailed Deer, Eastern Wild Turkey, Moose, Porcupine, Spring Azure Butterfly, Spring Peeper, Blue-Spotted Salamander, Black and White Warbler, Wood Frog, Ruffed Grouse, Merlin, Eastern Newt, Sandhill Crane, and at-risk Wood Thrush, Eastern Meadowlark, Western Chorus Frog, and Monarch Butterfly.

Memorial Forest

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary, at the request of the donors, will also be home to a memorial forest. The anticipated ceremonial opening of the memorial forest is scheduled for 2024. More details to follow later in the year.

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary was protected through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program—Land Trusts Conservation Fund (NHCP-LTCF) Grant Programs.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique partnership that supports the creation and recognition of protected and conserved areas through the acquisition of private land and private interest in land. To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $470 million in the Program, which has been matched with more than $982 million in contributions raised by Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community leading to the protection and conservation of nearly 800,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive lands.

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary was secured with funding from Environment Canada and Climate Change’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF).

Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $1.4 billion, ten-year fund (2021–2031) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada to help conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon; (2) improving land management practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emission-causing impacts on Canada’s ecosystems; and (3) restoring degraded ecosystems. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.

A portion of this project was donated to Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.

Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for future generations. Made possible by the terms of the Income Tax Act of Canada and the Quebec Taxation Act, it offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient. Recipients ensure that the land’s biodiversity and environmental heritage are conserved in perpetuity.

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