All elements of a place are interconnected – our community, its environmental health, healthy lifestyles for our citizens, and our economy. Life recognizes our living, thriving, sustainable natural systems. Life refers to the people of our community; their health and protection, and our shared heritage. We embrace this place and make it our home. For life.
Everywhere is some place
Our region, not unlike any other area, is made up of places – where we live, where we work, where we gather, and where we play. We give meaning to these places based on how we use and appreciate them. The more important they are to us, the more we become attached to them and the more we feel obligated to protect and preserve those places.
We have a responsibility to help our region and our communities by ensuring the places we live in provide clean water and landscapes, are protected from flooding and erosion, and support healthy living through recreation and conservation. To do so, we have to learn and understand what makes our places great and how changes in our urban and rural landscapes impact the places we live in, and we have to act to respond to those changes.
The more we know about our region, the better we’ll be able to care for it, and ultimately the greater our experiences and attachment will be to the Essex region as our place for life.
The Earthly Paradise of North America.
Our region is the most southerly, and biologically diverse in all of Canada. We are at the centre of the Great Lakes, which supply more than 20% of the world’s fresh water, and are stewards of more than 290km of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River shoreline.
It is also under threat. Our landscape, which was described by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1703 as “… so temperate, so fertile, and so beautiful that it may justly be called the earthly paradise of North America”, has been extensively and intensively developed. First, there were sawmills. Then, with land cleared and wetlands drained by 1900, agriculture took over as the dominant force on the landscape. As wealth and commerce grew, settlements spread. Prosperous cities and towns blossomed. In fact, few parts of Canada have been as extensively and intensively developed.
And the impacts are staggering. Our region lies fully in the Carolinian Life Zone, which comprises just 0.25% of Canada’s land mass, but is home to 25% of the population. This density puts tremendous pressure on our small landscape, which is home to more rare, endangered and threatened species than anywhere else in Canada. In little more than 200 years, it is estimated that more than 95% of wetlands have been drained, 99% of the tall grass prairie lost, 90% of upland forests cleared and what was once continuous is now fragmented: remaining natural areas resemble disconnected islands of green. Our Great Lakes themselves are enormously disrupted, and impacted by invasive species, nutrients, and experiencing significant blue green algal blooms. The water quality of our rivers and streams is degraded, which impacts aquatic wildlife, increases drinking water treatment costs, and negatively impacts recreational use such as swimming and boating. Changing climate patterns are impacting our shorelines, causing significant flooding and erosion problems. But it’s not too late.
But great places don’t just happen.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority and Essex Region Conservation Foundation are working together to make Windsor-Essex- Pelee Island region a better place – for life. Our successes are equally staggering:

  • 6,300,000

Trees have been planted to increase green space.

  • 10,000

Acres of forest, tall grass prairie, and wetlands have been restored

  • 4,150

Acres of significant natural area have been protected for future generations including 19 Conservation Areas providing opportunities to visit and experience wetlands, heritage sites, old growth forests first hand

  • 96

Kilometres of greenway trails have been acquired and developed to connect natural areas, promote healthy and active lifestyles, and link people to the landscapes around them.

  • 800

Projects to improve water quality have been implemented.

  • 3,500

Metres of shoreline improved, protected and enhanced for fish habitat

  • 5,000

Homes have been protected from flooding and erosion

  • 350,000

Students have been educated through outdoor education programs about the importance of preserving our heritage and conserving our environment.

  • 50,000

Households that get their drinking water from Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River (90% of residents of Essex Region) are protected from Significant Drinking Water threats


Our Impact Together.

We shall not cease from exploration.
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Elliot

Every one of these successes brings us closer to a region that is the Place for Life. The Place for Life has connected natural areas, and protects people from flooding and erosion. The Place for Life has healthy rivers and streams, beaches you can swim in and lakes you can fish in. The Place for Life has greenways and linked trails. The Place for Life has productive agricultural lands which implement best management practices. The Place for Life can adapt to changing climates and supports green infrastructure. It is sustainable and resilient to change. The Place for Life is a place you can call home.

Creating the Place for Life is not our work alone; this is what we do together with you, our neighbours, our municipalities, our university and research partners, our donors, and the many agencies and organizations we partner with.

Collectively, we are making a difference, but we need to increase the scope and intensity of our joint efforts. We are creating a place we can be proud of and celebrate – one we can call home. For life.

Join us in this effort.
  • Share your stories and photographs about what makes the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region #PlaceforLife
  • Commit to a more sustainable lifestyle in your own home – use reusable food containers, reduce water and electricity consumption, don’t idle your vehicles. Every day and in every way, committing to small changes can collectively make a big impact
  • Volunteer with us to plant trees, restore habitats, connect people with nature and much more.
  • Make a financial contribution to plant more trees, build more trails, provide outdoor education to more children, and strengthen our region as #PlaceforLife

©2016 Essex Region Conservation. Designed by HCA Mindbox