Cataraqui Conservation celebrates 60 years with concert series

Image via Cataraqui Conservation.

Cataraqui Conservation is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and will highlight this significant milestone by sharing achievements of the past six decades, and hosting a concert series at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.

The local conservation authority invites the community to join them throughout the year for special anniversary events that will highlight Cataraqui Conservation’s evolution over the years through stories from staff, longtime members of the Board, volunteers, and visitors, according to a media release, dated Monday, Jun. 3, 2024.

Created in 1964, Cataraqui Conservation has been the steward of the Cataraqui Region Watershed, which encompasses more than 3,800 square kilometres of land, stretching from Greater Napanee in the west to Brockville in the east. According to the release, over the last 60 years, it has delivered a wide range of programs and services that focus on natural hazard management, source water protection, land conservation, outdoor recreation, education, monitoring, and land stewardship.

According to the release, since its inception, Cataraqui Conservation has collaborated with partners, volunteers, citizens, and visitors to:

  • Plant over 5.6 million trees on public and private lands since 1982 through the afforestation tree planting program.
  • Provide outdoor environmental education programs to over 100,000 learners of all ages.
  • Support best management practices for development around shorelines, wetlands, and watercourses with over 7,590 permit applications approved.
  • Attract approximately 12,000 visitors annually to Maple Madness festivities at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area each March since 1983.
  • Acquire and protect more than 4,700 hectares of environmentally significant and ecologically sensitive lands within its jurisdiction.
  • Gather locally important water quality, quantity, and aquatic ecosystem data throughout the Cataraqui watershed.

“Cataraqui Conservation’s success can be attributed to the hard work of staff, collaboration with our partners, and the support and dedication of our community volunteers past and present,” said Krista Fazackerley, Communications & Education Supervisor. “Our mission to support watershed conservation continues to evolve along with the land, the climate, and the needs of our communities. Thank you to all that have helped make the last 60 years a success.”

As a way of celebrating ’60 years of Conservation’, Cataraqui Conservation is presenting a series of four live music events on the front lawn of the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area Outdoor Centre as a way to bring together lovers of nature and live music for a fun afternoon outdoors.

According to the conservation authority, the afternoon events will feature local musicians, songwriters and performers, and are scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month, from June through to September.

Two artists per show will entertain audiences amidst the natural splendour of the conservation area, located at 1641 Perth Road, just north of Highway 401 in Kingston.

The concert series is part of the anniversary celebration and brings regular supporters and visitors to Cataraqui Conservation properties with folks who appreciate live music, according to the release. The former have the chance to hear some artists they may not otherwise encounter, while the music lovers get the opportunity to visit a lush, vibrant natural space, mere minutes from downtown Kingston.

  • On June 23, popular local singer/songwriters Gerald McGrath and Jen Calder will perform solo sets. Both artists bring a sense of authenticity and compelling melodies to their original material and are regular performers in a host of area venues and at various festivals throughout the Cataraqui watershed.
  • Sunday, July 21 will have a decidedly rustic and alt-country vibe as Emilie Steele (of Emilie Steele and the Deal) will be featured alongside the ‘notorious’ country and western outlaw, Clem Chesterfield (aka Tim Sheffield). Homespun tales of loss and longing will make you cry one moment, while upbeat rhythms and songs of frolicking and adventure will have you up dancing the next!
  • On Sunday, August 25, former Weeping Tile member and prolific performer Sticky Henderson will be onstage to start, followed by well-respected and well-travelled local singer-songwriter and recording artist Christopher Jackson. Jackson has enlisted multi-instrumentalist, and Kingston local legend Spencer Evans to accompany him on keyboards for his performance.
  • Finally, the last show of this special 60th Anniversary concert series, sponsored by the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation, will focus on kids and families, with a performance by the Kids in the House troupe, led by local music educator and musician/performer Christina Foster. For this special show on September 22, the first set will feature family-oriented songs, while the second set is a fun, exciting and interactive presentation that will provoke sing-alongs and squeals of laughter.

According to Cataraqui Conservation, the first three shows of the series will be licensed, with beer provided by Mackinnon Brothers Brewing. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks will also be available.

Tickets are:

  • $20 per person for the first three shows (June, July and August)
  • $5 per person for the family show with Christina Foster. Children 5 and under are free.

Tickets are available online at and at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area Outdoor Centre during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays). According to the release, all proceeds from the concert series will benefit the conservation education programs run out of the Outdoor Centre for learners of all ages.

Cataraqui Conservation noted that concert patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and, in the event of inclement weather, the shows will be cancelled, with notice given 48 hours before showtime on and all social media platforms.

Visit the Conservation Authority’s 60th Anniversary webpage and social media sites for updates on special events, photo contests, and challenges, along with photos, video and articles that will give you an insight into the accomplishments of past, present, and future aspirations for the watershed community.

Learn more about Cataraqui Conservation on its website.

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