Landowner Leaders Profile
Robert and Eleanor Ward are Landowner Leader participants as well as Elgin Natural Heritage Inventory participants from Central Elgin. Mr. Ward’s grandfather came to the area in 1919 from Perry Sound with 10 children. Robert took over the farm in the 1950s and has been an organic farmer since the 1970s.
There property is 84 acres in total with 72 acres in pasture to raise their organic grass fed cattle. The Ward's grasslands are home to imperiled grassland birds such as Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark. In order to protect these Species at Risk they delay the cutting of their hayfield until after the young birds have fledged. They also leave untouched all milkweed plants in order to assist monarch butterfly populations.
The remaining 12 acres includes native Carolinian forests and wetlands. These areas are home to other Species at Risk such as American Chestnut and possibly an American Badger. They have had researchers from the Ontario Badger Program visit their property to examine the potential badger den and have also had the Canadian Chestnut Council out to inspect their American Chestnut and verify that it is a true American Chestnut.
Robert and Eleanor are proud of their property and want others with a passion for nature to share in their experience. They have welcomed naturalists groups, birdwatchers and bird banders to their property to monitor various flora and fauna populations. They also have hosted butterfly counts done by the St. Thomas Field Naturalists Club, a club both Robert and Eleanor are members of. They have installed between 30-40 Eastern Bluebird boxes, which are monitored yearly and they plan on installing more.
Robert and Eleanor's passion for what they do makes them leaders in the conservation community and a great fit for Carolinian Canada’s Landowner Leaders Program.