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Media Release February 25, 2020

$94,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Awarded to

Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation

Mount Brydges – The Ontario Trillium Foundation has awarded the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation a $94,000 Capital grant to complete a 12-month reconstruction of a 1 km accessible boardwalk at Longwoods Road Conservation Area, the location of a provincially significant wetland in the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc, Middlesex County.

Thirty-five years ago, an accessible 1 km trail was created to provide access to a provincially recognized significant wetland.  This is one of very few trails in the area that allow students with mobility issues to join their fellow classmates in hands on learning about wetlands.  It is also one of a very few places that anyone with a mobility issue/device can be fully immersed in nature.  The improved trial would be available for families using strollers allowing them to also get right down to the wetland itself.   The bridges and boardwalks are now in need of repair and replacement and some of the boardwalks need to be widened to accommodate larger power chairs. The project is needed to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities for structured and unstructured activities.  There is much evidence that being immersed in nature leads to improvement in overall health and there are limited opportunities for individuals with mobility issues to interact fully with nature.  The current trail provides an opportunity for all individuals to enjoy nature and be active.

We are hoping to have a completed accessible boardwalk by fall 2020.  A general contractor will be selected to complete the work, with a review undertaken to minimize environmental disturbance, with boardwalks and bridges removed and replaced.  An opening event will be held in the fall to showcase the renewed trail and to encourage people to use it to increase their activity levels and involvement with nature.  “Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation is very excited to have received this capital grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation.  This grant affords Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation in conjunction with Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, the opportunity to improve accessibility to a provincially significant wetland”, states Grant Jones – President of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations.  OTF awarded more than $108 million to some 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.