ACER Update

Riparian Rangers

ACER worked on three Riparian Rangers projects in 2016; Riparian Rangers Ausable Bayfield, Riparian Rangers rare, Riparian Rangers Lake Simcoe. Planting trees and shrubs along riparian zones can increase bank stability, slow the flow of water to the watercourse which leads to increased infiltration and less erosion. Decreased erosion is also important because many of these watercourses lead to the great lakes that is a drinking water source for millions of people. Trees and shrubs provide shade leading to reducing water temperature, which provides fish and wildlife habitat.

Riparian Rangers Ausable Bayfield is an ACER project funded by the Great Lake Guardian Community Fund (GLGCF) in cooperation with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). During the fall of 2016, 320 student and 7 adult volunteers planted 1000 trees and shrubs at 4 sites, and measured 10% of each of the 13 species that were planted. The sites were McNaughton Park, Precious Blood, Elliot Park C.S., and Clinton Wetland.

Riparian Rangers rare is an ACER project funded by the Great Lake Guardian Community Fund (GLGCF) in cooperation with the rare Charitable Research Reserve. During the spring and fall of 2016, 109 student and adult volunteers planted 1060 trees and shrubs at Cruickston Creek, and measured 10% of each of the 20 species that were planted.

Riparian Rangers Lake Simcoe is a 2 year project funded by the Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund (LSGBCUF) in partnership with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA). The project began in 2015 when 1108 trees and shrubs at 8 sites were tagged, mapped and measured. In 2016, 1017 trees and shrubs at 15 sites were tagged, mapped, and measured. The data was collected with the help of our interns Dienelaye Eporwei (University of Toronto Scarborough) and Aidan Fox (University of Toronto Mississauga).

ACER protocol was used to take measurements of the trees and shrubs; root collar, height, crown width, and a health assessment. Measurements taken in the future of the 100 plants measured can be compared to this first benchmark measurement to determine which species are successful in order to inform future decisions.


Planting for Change

ACER welcomed 6 new school communities to the Planting for Change (P4C) program in 2016. TD FEF provided funding for the projects, which bring schools and their wider communities together to create mini-climate change outdoor classrooms/labs. Each school plants the same 16 native trees and 45 native shrubs that were chosen by ACER’s scientific advisory council. The schools monitor 15 of the trees, which is comprised of 5 indicator species, each year on the “birthday” of the trees.

The new schools added to the program in 2016 were: Conestoga P.S., Lloyd S. King E.S., Goldcrest P.S., Artesian Drive P.S., Ruth Thompson M.S., and Fallingbrook M.S. You can see a list of all of the schools’ P4C webpages here. With the addition of the 6 schools in 2016, the P4C network is now 49 schools strong! You can see a map of all the school locations here:

ACER would like to thank the dedicated “green spark” teachers who made these projects come to life for their school communities last year: Erin, Allison, Rajeev, Maya, Margaret, Carla, and Veronica. We would also like to acknowledge Salisbury Garden Supplies, the City of Mississauga and Peel Region for their generous donations. Finally, the planting days would not be possible without the help of our fantastic volunteers: Linda, Kate, Jingwei, and Nadine.

We’re all booked for 2017 plantings, but schools interested in putting in a P4C lab in 2018 can contact Mike McMillan at or complete the application form here.


Citizen Science

In 2016 ACER received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop a Citizen Science training program. The training will be both online and in-person and will take an individual through the various stages necessary to become a community leader: observe and detect; measure and report; train a team; teach a group; lead a community. The training platform is based on Participatory Action Research (PAR) in which the citizen scientists are concurrently acquiring knowledge, participating in hands-on stewardship, and conducting research. The program is set for a spring 2017 launch and will be available to everyone across Ontario.

If you’re interested in beta testing the Citizen Science training program, or being informed when it’s officially launched, please complete this form.

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