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Escarpment alliance gets 3-year funding promise from local donors

The Niagara Escarpment Alliance intends to use the $75,000 to look at stewardship programs aimed at youth and a vision for a nature-based conservation economy
Larry and Barbara Hall are the founding philanthropists for the South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund.

A local group formed with an environmental protection mandate is sending out some gratitude support from local philanthropists and their new innovation fund. 

The Escarpment Corridor Alliance just announced a pledge from the South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund to the tune of $75,000 over three years for work on the alliance's mission. 

The innovation fund was started by Ravenna residents Larry and Barbara Hall in 2022 as a $1.1 million fund held at a Toronto foundation. The money is intended to support not-for-profit organizations in the social, economic, environmental and cultural sectors. 

According to a news release from the Escarpment Corridor Alliance, the money from the local donors will be used to start an environmental stewardship program for youth, to develop a vision for a nature-based conservation economy, and to support planning for an annual nature and conservation economy summit next winter. 

Early in our Fund’s launch in December 2022, Barb and I with our South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund team concluded that opportunities building new programs on the uniqueness of South Georgian Bay’s natural environment should be the focus of our initial grants," stated Larry Hall in the news release. 

Work on the stewardship program for youth will begin with an assessment of what is currently available, and what gaps exist. If there are gaps, the alliance intends to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of introducing new outdoor wellness-related programs in partnerships with local businesses, government and local non-profits. 

The alliance also aims to create a nature-based conservation economy vision, which would include economic development that is tied to environmental protection. The summit next winter, according to the alliance's news release, will bring together regional, provincial, federal, and world environmental conservation and wellness experts to discuss the nature-based conservation economy concept. 

Jarvis Strong, executive director for the Escarpment Corridor Alliance, said the money will be critical for the alliance's work. 

"With the support of donors like the South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund and the Hall’s, we are confident that the Escarpment Corridor Alliance will be a leader in improving and sustaining the natural, economic and social environments in the regional South Georgian Bay community," stated Strong in the news release. 

The alliance was formed in 2021 with a mission to protect the section of the Niagara Escarpment that runs through South Georgian Bay from "mega-developments." 

"The vision is to create a network of eco-corridors and trails that unite over 500 square kilometres of incredibly beautiful forest, wetlands, and five watersheds," states the news release from the alliance. 

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