Our Shared Vision
In 1995, in its first Strategic Plan, ERCA and the community developed a Vision for the region for 2020. It was updated in 2004 to reflect the importance of sustainability and in 2010 to reflect the importance of place and community and our relationship with the Great Lakes.
To achieve a sustainable environment with healthy watersheds, highlighted by clean creeks, rivers, and Great Lakes, thriving natural areas, productive agricultural lands; and vibrant places.
This vision acts as a guide for the Authority in setting and implementing its outcomes and actions. The Essex Region Conservation Foundation was established to support Authority projects and programs, and shares the same interests for the region as ERCA.
To create awareness and raise funds to enhance our natural environment for healthy living and economic vibrancy in the Essex region.
Our goal, over the next five years, is to raise funds to improve the human, economic, and environmental health of the Essex region.
- A strong track record of success
For more than 30 years, ERCF has played a significant role in the acquisition and protection of LaSalle Woods, Cedar Creek Properties, Spring Garden Complex, Zuliani Woods, and Dobrich/Dragecevich Woods; the acquisition and development of 52km of greenways and trails; the creation of the Hillman Marsh Shorebird habitat – the only one of its kind in Ontario, and supported the designation of the Detroit River as a Canadian Heritage River and the John R. Park Homestead and Kingsville Train Station.
- An ability to develop new partnerships
The Foundation has a history of building partnerships to further its mission. Partnering with Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Jamieson Laboratories, Family Tradition Foods, CN/CP have helped make three decades of success possible.
- Unique Mandate
ERCF is the only Foundation supporting conservation efforts in our community.
Expand the sections below to learn more.
Protecting and Restoring our EnvironmentOutcome: Protect and restore key natural areas for a cleaner, healthier environment.
A goal of 12% for natural area coverage of our region has been identified by our community. Through efforts over 35 years with the ERCF, ERCA, municipalities, and landowners, we have raised our coverage from less than 5% to 7.5%. However, at our current rate, we won’t reach our target until the end of this century, which means we have to accelerate the rate of change. Achieving the additional 5% required, to meet our 12% goal, means restoring an additional 20,750 acres of the region’s 415,000 acres (1,681 km2). This means another 12.5 million trees are needed in this region. The ERCF has contributed to the greening of our region through restoration, in partnership with the Authority, corporations, and individuals.
In addition, we need to ensure significant natural areas are acquired and managed to protect their natural heritage values. In partnership with ERCA, residents, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited and other provincial and federal partners, ERCF has been instrumental in protecting significant natural areas throughout the region – including acquisition of properties in Cedar Creek, LaSalle Woods, and the Spring Garden Prairie complex in Windsor.
Supporting Education in EnvironmentOutcome: Create opportunities for more students in our region to experience the wonder of nature through one of the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s environmental education programs.
The great challenge of our time is to reconnect ourselves with the world around us. Education and outreach are key factors in creating a future of sustainability. The Essex Region Conservation Foundation believes the students of today are the environmental stewards of tomorrow. Outdoor education provides a unique, alternative learning environment to allow children to reconnect and interact with nature; a hands-on learning experience that fosters a greater interest and understanding of wildlife and natural resources, and the importance of protecting and conserving these resources. ERCF’s support for ERCA’s education programs provide hope for a greener future by showing our community and future generations how we can all live sustainably. If we encourage our children to value and adopt sustainable living practices, we’ll have gone a long way towards reclaiming a sense of hope for the future.
ERCF has successfully solicited funding partners such as CIBC, RBC Blue Water Campaign, Shannon and John Omstead, and Talisman Energy in support of education programs at Hillman Marsh and in-class programs.
Connecting the Region through TrailsOutcome: Help build a regional trail network to connect people and landscapes and link our human and environmental health with a stronger economy.
Trails link healthy people and healthy environments; increase tourism and local economic development opportunities; and are a key part of a sustainable community that recognizes the linkages between environmental health, human health, and economic health.
The Essex Region Conservation Foundation has led the way in connecting the region through trail acquisition and development. The Chrysler Canada Greenway, acquired in 1995 with support from the Foundation, and the Essex to Amherstburg Trail, donated to the Foundation in 2005, have inspired regional municipalities to develop their own trails and connections in support of a regional trail network. New opportunities to link the region through acquisition and development of new trails are anticipated, as well as creating recreational features at existing natural areas or parks. Enhancing these opportunities will help secure a healthier community and environment.
Preserving our HeritageOutcome: Protect and improve cultural heritage in our region.
By conserving our heritage, we can foster a local identity based upon a sound understanding of our region’s unique history. Heritage conservation encourages heritage tourism and fosters community revitalization and a stronger sense of place. Heritage sites bring together people of all ages, become focal points for community events, and celebrations and provide an opportunity for volunteering.
The Essex Region Conservation Foundation has preserved our human heritage by raising the funds to protect and restore the John R. Pak Homestead and Kingsville Train Station; and supported the designation of the Detroit River as a Canadian Heritage River.
Building a Strong ERCFOutcome: A strong and influential Foundation, engaged Board of Directors, and active Committees recognized as leaders in advancing local environmental initiatives.
To continue its mandate, the Foundation’s funding needs are various and extensive. With this financial support becoming more important than ever, over the past year, the Foundation has undergone a significant renaissance resulting in an increased awareness of the Foundation.
New fundraising initiatives have been developed, a Board of Directors and by-laws established, and new community members have been engaged. The Foundation needs to continue to grow by building a stronger capacity, creating meaningful opportunities for Members and volunteers, and developing a strong fundraising plan to meet those needs.