Since 1984

Who We Are

A Map to the Future: Strategic Plan

Please review this information and then take our online survey. Your input is appreciated!You can also view the agenda from the November 2005 meeting that launched the Strategic Plan.

Current Mission

Halt the loss and achieve a substantial increase in the size and quality of natural communities characteristic of Carolinian Canada through collaboration of groups, agencies and individuals.


Carolinian Canada is a 20-year-old coalition of 40+ public sector and non-government conservation organizations aimed at conserving the wildlife and habitats of southwest Ontario's Carolinian zone—an ecological zone lying south of a line between Toronto and Grand Bend. Prickly pear cactus, opossum, sassafras and magnolia trees are among the unusual native species found here, typical of more southern climates of the eastern United States.   The partnership includes federal and provincial departments and ministries, conservation authorities, naturalists' groups, agricultural groups and stewardship councils.

Current Activities

Carolinian Canada has been involved in a wide variety of conservation activities since its inception in 1984. At the heart of all of this work has been its function to serve as a mechanism for joint priority-setting and coordination between diverse conservation bodies ranging from local naturalist clubs to federal government departments and everything in between.  

Our regular activities include an annual conservation forum that draws together diverse audiences.  Annual awards are presented to recognize outstanding contributions to conservation.  Our newsletter provides a forum for sharing ideas, success stories and challenges from local to provincial programs.  A new website has recently been developed which is a major resource for volunteers, students and general community requiring information on conservation in this region.  We provide talks and presentations, create and distribute educational materials, and assist in developing local conservation action across the zone for a wide variety of audiences.    

Current major projects are focused on outreach and research in Species at Risk and the Big Picture, which is a bioregional vision of an integrated network or core natural areas and connections that can restore the healthy ecological balance of our region. 


Recent Programs & Participation

  • 1,500 Carolinian Canada newsletters are distributed 3 times per year to member individuals and organizations including key public, local community groups, decision-makers in all levels of government, stewardship, conservation, agriculture, planning, land trust and education groups.
  • Over 500 are on our membership mailing list and another 500 on our e-mail list (with some overlap). 
  • We rely on our member groups to cost-effectively distribute our materials to an estimated 5,000 people in our 'broader audience' on a regular basis.
  • 9 Conservation Awards were presented before 500 people at 5 different events including major agriculture conferences to farmers, community groups, municipalities and conservation volunteers. 
  • A spring Natural Heritage Planning Symposium drew 120 municipal planners, conservation authority planners, ecological consultants, land trusts, landowners & students. 
  • A 2 day fall conference was held with over 200 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds.  One part of the conference was targeted at conservation volunteers and professionals.  The other half was targeted at new members, landowners and community groups.
  • GIS data sets for our Big Picture map were distributed by request to over 10 municipalities, landowner associations, consultants, universities and conservation groups who are interested in using it as a basis for more detailed study in their areas. 
  • A Carolinian Woodland Recovery Strategy has been intiated engaging the participation of 50 ecologists, stewardship and stakeholder (land use) groups.
  • The Carolinian Canada Big Picture 'Roadshow' has reached over 1,500 people at 23 different events in 9 counties engaging the following audiences:  schools (elementary, secondary, university), municipalities, planners, landowners, farmers, conservation groups, community groups, youth groups, artists, gardeners, social justice groups, First Nations.
  • 10,000 Species at Risk educational posters and booklet are being distributed to increase awareness of the over 500 imperiled species in Carolinian Canada. 
  • Over 300 adults and youth from community groups, local partners and schools participated in the development and unveiling of bronze plaques at 3 Carolinian Canada Signature Sites.
  • 14 Press releases for Carolinian Canada events were sent out to over 100 media outlets to invite and inform the public across the zone from Windsor to Toronto.  Over 30 stories were reported by local radio stations, weekly and daily papers, agriculture papers and member newsletters.

Existing Strategy Documents

Carolinian Canada Coalition has two guiding documents: A Strategy that was produced when the group became a coalition in 1997.  It pre-dates our the Big Picture, a major focus of our organization today.   A Practical Options paper was produced in 2002 that focuses the work of wide variety of groups towards key conservation needs across the Carolinian life zone.  We are currently operating under a broad communications strategy which focuses only on a portion of our program. 

Strategic Planning Project


Carolinian Canada has worked under a variety of organizational structures in the past reflecting its history as a collaborative.  Carolinian Canada is a unique organization in this region, filling the gap between national and localized programs, making resources and expertise accessible at the community level for conservation.  As the zone is increasingly recognized as a priority for conservation, taking the time to build our core capacity is a natural evolution in the history of this organization.  It is a response to increased participation of our members and partners.

Over the last 2 years, our management committee and external allies have recognized a strong need for Carolinian Canada to become incorporated as a registered charity in order to raise and manage funds independently.  To support an incorporated structure, a solid organizational foundation is needed to carry out major programs, provide accountability and possibly expand in the future.  Feedback on this move from partner organizations is positive, as they recognize and support the continuation of a strong Carolinian Canada.

The Coalition does not at this time have a comprehensive up-to-date strategy document of its own with key goals developed for the organization itself.   This type of document is crucial to map out how our organization fits into and can best support the wider goals of the conservation community. 

Planning Goals & Objectives

  • Build CCC capacity to conserve natural areas and wild species in partnership with individuals, communities and groups.
  • Build a stable foundation and framework for Carolinian Canada programs
  • Enhance resources for board members to ensure a smooth transition to an incorporated body
  • Increase capacity to deliver major programs
  • Continue to effectively coordinate a vision for an expanding and active conservation community in the Carolinian life zone. 
  • Create a more focused and effective organization


The strategic planning process will be initiated through a board retreat in spring 2005.  This will capture the many years of experience on the board, evaluate our progress to date, identify our strengths and weaknesses and outline major short-term goals.  The result will point to the key role that Carolinian Canada needs to undertake to most effectively work towards the goal of natural heritage protection in southern Ontario.   Additional background material for the strategy will be collected from partner groups, Carolinian Canada files and members. A stakeholder meeting in fall 2005 will provide feedback on the key questions identified by the Management Committee.  A draft strategy will be produced based on the meetings.  This draft will be widely reviewed and refined by Management Committee and Stakeholders in meetings of 2006

The Executive Director will coordinate and oversee all activities with the guidance of a subcommittee of the Management Committee.  A management consultant and assistant will be engaged to complete various aspects.  Organizational development will heavily involve the 17 volunteer members of the management committee. 



Strategic Planning



Management Committee Workshop

Establish nominating committee


Collect information

Identify inaugural board


Stakeholder & Membership consultation

Apply for incorporation


Draft Plan for Board review



Finalize Strategic Plan

Recruit board members

Business Plan


Board Manual

Inaugural AGM

Board Development Workshop

Establish working subcommittees

Fundraising plan and case for support


Media strategy



Implement strategic plan through subcommittees

Board / Staff Workshops on key needs to implement strategy


Thank you for reviewing this information. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey.

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