New community habitat project will be seen from Highway 401 (W of Hwy 59)

Woodstock partners celebrate funding win for three small wetlands and highway sign

Stonewall, Manitoba, CANADA

Woodstock, Ont., Sept. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This morning, representatives from Ducks Unlimited Canada (Ducks), City of Woodstock and the Cowan Foundation met at Woodstock City Hall to confirm their ongoing commitment to making Woodstock’s natural environment even better. 

The partners have signed on to create new wetland habitat that will be visible from Hwy 401, providing a tangible expression of how leadership and investment can support healthy watersheds. Three small wetlands will be created on land owned by the City of Woodstock, just west of the Hwy 59 exchange on the south side of Hwy 401, with further natural enhancements planned by local partners for the future. The new wetland restoration is a tangible expression of a commitment to the natural environment.

 Ducks has a long history of wetland restoration in Oxford County and the results show what can be done with planning and incremental restoration. To date, Ducks has led more than 100 conservation projects in Oxford County, totalling 1,706 acres (690 hectares) of wildlife habitat that support the natural infrastructure of the local landscape with wetlands, forests, grasslands and clean water—improving everyone’s quality of life and providing wildlife habitat, while boosting resiliency from the effects of extreme weather in today’s climate.

What better way to mark these environmental achievements than a beautiful demonstration project visible from the busy highway? The new habitat will also provide a natural backdrop to a sign celebrating the local partnerships that have made Woodstock a model for other Ontario communities that wish to take action to restore the natural landscape. The first steps have already been taken on the site to control the invasive reed, phragmites, which squeezes out native plants that are needed for effective wetland functions.

Twenty years of committed action for the environment have made Woodstock a healthier community, achieved with partners that include the City of Woodstock, the Cowan Foundation, Oxford County, Stewardship Oxford, Upper Thames Conservation Authority and other local sources, augmented by Ducks via contributions through the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture for habitat conservation that benefits waterfowl and other birds in Canada.


Taken this morning at Woodstock City Hall - please see attached or place request with Ducks Unlimited Canada (contact below).


“We want to show Canada what urban wetlands can do for us. Wetlands enrich our lives with clean water, flood mitigation, beautiful wildlife and places to walk and play together. But people need to see for themselves what wetlands can do for them. Our latest conservation achievement in Woodstock will show thousands of passing travellers what wetlands do and how they change beautifully from season to season.” Phil Holst, Ducks Unlimited Canada director and Oxford County lifelong resident


“Woodstock is a liveable community that provides the best possible services to our residents, business owners and visitors. We plan for nature in the same intelligent way that we plan for all of our services and facilities. Wetlands and waterways are part of what we need to enjoy a healthy community life here. Projects like this will have a positive impact on the 'Friendly City' now, and for generations to come.” Mayor Trevor Birtch, City of Woodstock


“The many wetland restoration projects in Oxford County have helped to align this community with our goal to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities. Partnerships of this kind amplify the ability of organizations to make significant change for the health of communities.” Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group Ltd



Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) delivers wetland conservation that benefits every Canadian. We keep the water in your lakes and rivers clean. We protect your community from the effects of flood and drought. We save wildlife and special natural places. We use science to find solutions to the most important environmental issues of the day and we collaborate with people who are helping create a healthier world. The wetlands we save aren’t just for ducks; they’re for all of us.


The Cowan Foundation was started in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, our founder. The Foundation is sustained by the ongoing success of the Princeton Holdings group of companies including Cowan Insurance Group (and its subsidiary Cowan Financial Solutions), Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance. Together they provide insurance and risk management solutions to clients. The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities. For more information, please visit



Map of Oxford County showing more than 100 habitat restoration projects led by Ducks Unlimited Canada. (L to R) Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group Ltd; Mayor Trevor Birtch, City of Woodstock; William Jones, Manager of Development, Ducks Unlimited Canada; Phil Holst, Director, Ducks Unlimited Canada

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