Welcome to the Friends of Mac Johnson – Building Community Through Conservation.

The Friends are a volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the resources of the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area (MJWA) including its provincially significant wetland and wildlife, along with meadows and forests. We work closely with Cataraqui Conservation, owner of the Wildlife Area. 

Primary Goals

The primary objectives of the Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area are to maintain and improve the property’s facilities and protect its natural features, increase public awareness and appreciation of the conservation area, support on-site curriculum-based education programs, develop and organize special family-oriented events, and raise funds from the community to support this work. Much of our project work happens during Wednesday morning Work Bees from April to October.

In 1999 Cataraqui Conservation and the Friends of MJWA became partners in the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction program, initially providing a naturalized enclosure for a breeding pair of swans. The following year the program released 12 ‘wild’ swans into the area. All of these swans were bred at the Program's Aurora based facility. Both the resident pair and the 12 wild swans bred successfully, flourishing throughout the local area and beyond. The 'benchmark' of the reintroduction program was to reach a self sustaining Trumpeter swan population, with emphasis placed on breeding pairs. The program reached that goal several years ago and MJWA played a small yet significant role in attaining success in Eastern Ontario.

While the original Trumpeter swan breeding enclosure is no longer maintained, the Friends still support a feeding program for swans and other birds, including supplemental feed throughout the winter and early spring. It is not uncommon to see 20 to 30 Trumpeter swans at the MJWA during this time of year. Currently there are two nesting pairs at the MJWA in the spring and summer. Donations towards the feeding program can be made by following the Friends email link.

  • maintaining a Native Tree Nursery to raise funds for our projects
  • building and refurbishing public facilities on the site (skating shelter, Nature Centre, firepits, picnic shelter)
  • installing fencing along Centennial Road, signs and trail markers, building docks and improving the canoe launch site
  • assisting Cataraqui Conservation with trail improvements and maintenance
  • feeding trumpeter swans (‘mascot’ for MJWA) and wild birds
  • hosting special community events for families and tree planting
  • Mother’s Day weekend Tree Sale
  • at the Fall Festival and Winter Fun Day we often feature sled dog teams racing on our trails, chili & hot dog barbecues, musical guests and activities for kids
  • Family Day in February offers distance challenges to skaters, skiers and snow-shoe enthusiasts, activities for kids and our traditional BBQ.

The Friends are always looking for new members and volunteers. You can contribute by becoming a member and/or by volunteering some of your time to assist with projects or events. Sign up to become a member or to renew your membership. Membership fees ($25 per year for a family) and donations of $20 or more receive a charitable donation receipt.

Fun with the Friends

The friends host a variety of family friendly activities - tree sales, winter fun day, family day and more.