Fragile Inheritance
ecological change
in Canada
mission cray fish
Mission: Fragile Inheritance promotes and supports the long term study of species and habitats, human & environmental effects on them, and the conservation of biodiversity, based on the lifetime work of Fred Schueler & Aleta Karstad.

"I am increasingly convinced that the study of biodiversity is far and away the most important endeavor in the history of humanity, certainly until now, and very possibly into the future as well. . . . Unlike physics, unlike chemistry, unlike geology, the clock is ticking on our ability to capture this information before it's gone. Forever."

Fragile Inheritance
6 St-Lawrence St
Bishops Mills Oxford Station
Ontario, Canada KOG 1T0
(613) 299-3107

Participating Schools

Fragile Inheritance will again be exploring and revisiting places across Canada in October of 2022. We invite students and their teachers to join in the survey of their local biodiversity along our route.

The Teachers Guide to Canada's Biodiversity will help to prepare your class for making their own natural history observations to contribute to the Fragile Inheritance database. Participants from Grades 4 to 12 will learn to:

  • use the senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch to perceive their environment
  • consider the possible significance of every observation
  • carefully collect plants, amphibians, and invertebrates for identification
  • consult field guides as aids to identification
  • note correctly and consistently the date, time, weather, and location for every observation
  • understand the terms used in a "tick off" site visit datasheet and fill one in onsite
  • compose their own brief summary of a habitat
  • make informative sketches
  • expand brief notes into prose descriptions (journalling).

OBJECTIVE: Empower citizens of all ages to contribute to scientific knowledge of species, ecology, biodiversity, and the environment.
ACHIEVEMENT: Students learn to observe carefully and to achieve the consistency of data gathering required for scientific records while at the same time observing, writing, and drawing at their own level of proficiency.

Dr Fred Schueler will also give talks and lead discussions with interested students or teachers on topics important to the study of biodiversity:

  • the principles of scientific naming and evolutionary relatedness of organisms
  • the discovery of local problems in distribution and identity of species.
  • patterns of diversity & adaptation across Canada

The studies of ecology, biodiversity, and the environment are not accomplished indoors. We have urgent need of curious minds, perceptive eyes, ears, fingers, noses, and diligent pencils out here in the real world. Participate in onsite nature interpretation on the ground and in the field as we all write, draw, paint, and talk about our discoveries.

Contact us at for our itinerary and fees, and to suggest places for the Expedition to explore with your class.

What can we do to increase awareness of habitat loss, invasive species, and human impact on nature?

There is no other independent organized group in Canada which is dedicated to promoting long term monitoring. This is your chance to support the work of Fragile Inheritance.

About the book...
a painter's ecology of glaciated North America

lavishly illustrated with watercolours and
descriptive prose from sea to sea
drawing the baseline for
a legacy of beauty and
change - Aleta Karstad
and Frederick W .
Schueler's life work