About us

The Gosling Foundation is a private, registered philanthropic foundation. We act as an environmental venture fund, identifying and supporting strategic projects that enhance the capacity of organizations to protect and restore nature. We are driven by our passion to protect birds in particular and the natural environment more broadly. The Foundation is a sustaining member of Environment Funders Canada.
 
Our history
The Gosling Foundation began in 1977 as the Outdoor Art and Science School. Our initial focus was supporting publications about protecting natural amenities, as well as organizing nature and environmental courses for adults in a number of communities.
 
In 1987, the Foundation partnered with the University of Guelph to create, develop and maintain the Gosling Wildlife Gardens. This facility — open to the public and located at the University of Guelph Arboretum — offers learning experiences that demonstrate how urban landscapes can work in harmony with local ecosystems. At the same time, it provides enjoyment and greater awareness of native plants and animals.
 
Over the years, the Outdoor Art and Science School initiated and supported a variety of environmental education and research projects, including:
The Agroforestry Research Library at the University of Guelph
  • Agroforestry scholarships
  • Support for agroforestry research plots
  • Endangered species research
  • Land protection initiatives through the Nature Conservancy of Canada and other organizations
  • Support for a wide range of environmental and natural history organizations, including the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Long Point Bird Observatory, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, and Nature Canada.
In December 2000, our name changed to the Gosling Foundation.
 
Our founder
Philip Gosling became captivated by the wonders of the natural world at summer camp. That sense of wonder grew into a life-long commitment to conservation.
 
Professionally, Philip took an early interest in real estate, developing it into a career that included property appraisal, management and consultancy. He applied his business acumen in other areas as well, playing a significant role in developing Ontario’s microbrewery industry.
 
In his free time, Philip provided leadership for many endeavours, including in his roles as a director for the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and chair of its Nature Reserve Committee. However, his most notable achievement was helping to found the Bruce Trail in the early 1960s, following in the footsteps of the visionary naturalist Ray Lowes.
 
To make the Bruce Trail a reality, Philip took on the role of organizer. He recruited and motivated volunteers who worked with him to establish the world-renowned 800-kilometre route. In the span of a single year, the Bruce Trail went from a vision to more than 400 kilometres of physical paths. This early work brought significant recognition to the Niagara Escarpment’s ecological importance, contributing to its eventual designation as an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
 
Recognition for Philip’s many achievements include:
•    Member of the Order of Canada (2013) for his crucial contributions to the creation of Ontario's Bruce Trail and for his philanthropic devotion to the natural world
•    W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award, Ontario Nature (2012)
•    Mayor of Guelph Citizen Award (2009)
•    Honorary Doctor of Law, University of Guelph (2008)
•    Honorary President, Bruce Trail Conservancy
•    Certificate of Appreciation, Province of Ontario
•    Natural Heritage Award (1982)
 
Birds continue to be Philip’s biggest passion. Over the decades, he has observed more than 3,000 bird species in their natural habitats during travels to all seven continents.
 
In appreciation of the opportunities that Ontario has provided, Philip established the Gosling Foundation to further support, protect and share his joy for wildlife and the natural world.