Ontario is calling on community groups to apply for a Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant, in an effort to help protect, restore, and enhance the Great Lakes. The fund is now four years old, and provides up to $25,000 to not-for-profit organizations, schools, First Nations and Métis communities and other local groups for projects that have a direct environmental benefit to the Great Lakes. This year, $1.5 million will be awarded for eligible projects.

The fund has supported projects and activities such as planting trees, creating rain gardens, restoring wetland habitat, controlling invasive species, cleaning up shorelines, and naturalizing coastal area. Since 2012, more than 85,000 trees have been planted, 2,000 fish have been released, and over 600 kilometres of trail have been created or enhanced. The fund has also supported more than 11,000 volunteers in shoreline cleanup efforts. A total of $4.5 million has been awarded to 221 community-based projects in Great Lakes watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Ottawa River.

“I strongly encourage people to become local guardians of their lakes and apply for the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant,” said Glen R. Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. “This fund gives communities the opportunity to undertake activities that will make a real difference for the environment, while uniting community members around a common goal. The fund not only recognizes and supports our local Great Lakes champions, it empowers them to do their part to restore, protect and conserve our Great Lakes to keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable.”

The deadline to apply for the fund is October 23, 2015, and projects must be completed by February 2017. Find more information on how to apply at: Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.

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