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South Shore Joint Initiative

Working together to protect and improve biodiversity along Prince Edward County's South Shore.

South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) is a coalition of individual members and partner organizations working to protect the Prince Edward County (Ontario) South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) in order to maintain or increase the biodiversity of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems. 
Members are Prince Edward County-based individuals who support the objectives of SSJI. Partners are those individuals and organizations who wish to support particular objectives and initiatives of SSJI as part of the larger coalition to protect the South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. Partners include:

  • Alliance to Protect Prince Edward COunty (APPEC)
  • Bird Studies Canada
  • County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE)
  • Hastings Prince Edward County Land Trust
  • Kingston Field Naturalists
  • Nature Canada
  • Ontario Nature
  • Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN)
  • Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO)
  • Quinte Field Naturalists
SSJI is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and is governed by a Board of Directors elected from its membership.
2020/2021 SSJI Board of Directors:
John Hirsch, President
Cheryl Anderson, Vice-President
Myrna Wood
Amy Bodman
Chris Currie
Dick Bird
John Foster


Contact Us

We are working to permanently protect and improve biodiversity along Prince Edward County’s internationally recognized South Shore, Canada’s largest and last undeveloped Lake Ontario natural landscape and shoreline. With your support and input, we can ensure that future generations of migratory birds, species at risk and County residents will share in the enjoyment of the public lands of the South Shore.

If you'd like to send us a general message, please fill out the Contact Us form below. Visit us on Facebook and Instagram

Want to get involved? Have questions? Want more info about the South Shore? Please contact us!


Meet our Team


  Megan Miller – Network Organizer                                

Megan is the Network Organizer for South Shore Joint Initiative. As our organizer, she is the key point of contact for anyone and everyone who wants to connect with us. Megan provides communication support and engages with groups, funders and individuals who are helping to enable us to succeed in advancing our mission and project objectives. She is a former field technician with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre and currently also works with Green Communities Canada as their water programs coordinator.

Megan’s passions and experience lie in everything environmental, from working with Species at Risk turtles, to creating green spaces in urban areas. She holds a B.Sc. Honours in Biology from Trent University and a Fish and Wildlife diploma from Fleming College. Megan enjoys hiking, portaging and hanging out with her two indoor cats.

Contact Megan at                                



Dawn Ayer – Communications Director

As Communications Director, Dawn is responsible for building awareness, engaging supporters and helping us achieve our vision for Prince Edward County’s South Shore. Prior to becoming self-employed, Dawn held management roles with Diabetes Canada, Aon Hewitt Canada and Aon Reed Stenhouse. She delivers original strategy and content services to a small, diverse group of non-profits and corporations.

As co-founder of her high school’s first environment club and more recently, Bamboo Magazine’s Green Keener columnist, Dawn has a long history of championing environmental causes. She is also an active advocate for history and was chair of the Canada 150 and Prince Edward 225 Celebration Ad Hoc Committee. Dawn and her
husband had their 1875 Athol farmhouse designated as a heritage property in 2019 and were grateful to accept the municipal plaque, together with the original owners.

Living just north of the South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, Dawn spots species every day through her home office window. Since 2014, she’s actively supported local non-profits as well as the municipal and provincial governments in their efforts to protect and preserve the South Shore.

Contact Dawn at



Meet our Leaders

Cheryl Anderson – Vice President

Vice President Cheryl Anderson moved to Prince Edward County in 2003 after retiring from a career in biochemistry research at the University of Guelph. In Guelph, Cheryl served in several positions of the Guelph Field Naturalists executive. As a member of the Guelph Round Table on the Environment and Economy, she chaired a Community Involvement Program to write a Guelph’s Green Plan.

Cheryl has served on the executive boards of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory and a South Shore Joint Initiative board member. Her interest in the natural world has led to advocacy for the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

Contact Cheryl at



John Hirsch – President

President John Hirsch had a long career in the Federal government with Canada Customs. Later he was a private sector customs and trade consultant and wound up his professional career in warehouse and transportation logistics in the Toronto area. Upon retiring to the County in 2014 with his wife and cats, John got involved in community service, primarily in the areas of environment and conservation – especially the South Shore.

Since 2014, John has been actively involved in the preservation and protection of the South Shore. In 2015-2016 he was appointed to the boards of Quinte Conservation Authority, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory and CCSAGE – County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy. From 2015-2017 John was an Appellant in the successful WPD White Pines ERT appeal and in 2018 he became the Founding Director and President of South Shore Joint Initiative.

Persuaded by many local environmental leaders, John ran in the municipal election in 2018 and now represents Ward 9 South Marysburgh. In this capacity, he sits on the Board of Quinte Conservation, the Audit Committee, Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee and the newly formed Environmental Advisory Committee.

Contact John at


Learn more about South Shore Joint Initiative Board of Directors here.

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