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Local environmental champions honoured with LSRCA awards

Twenty-three individuals, businesses and groups were celebrated by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) at its 37th annual Conservation Awards ceremony Oct. 16 for their work to improve our environment

The Earth was smiling last night.

Twenty-three environmental champions — individuals, businesses and groups — were honoured by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) at its 37th annual Conservation Awards ceremony Oct. 16 at Madsen’s Greenhouse in Newmarket.

Aurora Mayor and LSRCA board chair Geoffrey Dawe lauded the outstanding achievements of the award winners who are working in their communities to improve the environment.

“Each and every one of our recipients have made a positive impact on the health of our watershed, in their own community and collectively, across the entire watershed community,” Dawe said.

“Tonight, we thank them, we honour them and we acknowledge that their actions are an inspiration for others.”

The George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour went to Sylvia Bowman, a public health nurse and East Gwillimbury resident whose leadership and lifelong passion for the environment has had an impact across the entire LSRCA watershed.

For 37 years, Bowman, “a gentle, passionate and extremely dedicated advocate for the environment”, has been involved in organizing projects such as tree plantings, invasive species removal and hikes. Her leadership motivates others to embrace environmental guardianship and action.

The Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award went to Newmarket’s Pickering College Grade 11 student for his leadership on the school’s Green Team.

Wang encourages his fellow students to reduce their environmental footprint by minimizing the amount of food waste they produce and also works with the school’s dining services to measure and record food waste produced during lunch hours.

Other activities and initiatives that the club has taken on include a green energy audit, plantings, banning plastic water bottles and hosting a Green Week to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Healthy Community Awards

  • Cannington and Area Historical Society & Cannington Horticultural Society — For their enthusiasm and hard work organizing a community tree planting and a hands-on nature experience for a local school.

  • Carol Karner —  For spearheading the creation of themed Nature Backpacks, available at Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Newmarket libraries, containing resources, materials and equipment for families to get active outdoors and connect with the natural environment.

  • Children’s Development Services, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury) —  For developing a program that enables early learners with developmental needs and their families to engage in outdoor life experiences in a supported and safe environment.

  • Innisfil Library Seed Program — For offering library patrons a selection of vegetable, herb and flower seeds to grow at home and enjoy.

  • Michelle Nye (Newmarket) —  For engaging students in rich inquiry-based outdoor learning and enhancing local greenspaces.

  • Mount Albert Lions Club (East Gwillimbury) —  For organizing a community Nature Day engaging participants in various environmental activities.

  • Nature’s Emporium (Newmarket) — For developing a Sustainable Selections product family and introducing compostable shopping bags.

  • Simcoe Country District School Board — For being a leader in implementing environmental initiatives within their schools.

  • Tycoed Restorative Farm (Uxbridge) — For undertaking a restorative farm project and encouraging self-reliance through permaculture, hugelkultur (no-dig raised garden beds), solar and wind power.

  • Wellington Public School (Aurora) — For taking ownership of a local park and regularly cleaning up garbage and other debris and for their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint within the school environment.

Healthy Land Award

  • Hossein Esmaelidaeh (Georgina) — For planting 1,670 tree seedlings and shrubs on almost 1 hectare of his property.

  • Ian Smith (East Gwillimbury) — For reducing soil erosion by interseeding 800 acres of muck soil and installing a rotating finger de-dirter at the front end of his vegetable processing plant.

  • Jim Stewart (Schomberg) — For planting 4,075 tree seedlings on 2 hectares of his rural property.

  • John Nagy (Sunderland) —  For planting 1,000 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants on his property.

  • Larry Onisto (Uxbridge) —  For increasing forest canopy by planting 4,575 White Pine and White Cedar trees on more than 2 hectares of his property.

  • Ontario Landscaping Ltd. — For donating numerous 60 to 70 cm caliper Red Oak and Kentucky Coffee trees to be planted throughout the watershed.

  • Tim Horlings (King) —  For controlling erosion and reducing nutrient loss in his fields by planting 60 acres of cover crops.

  • York Bassmasters (East Gwillimbury) — For planting trees within ‘difficult’ and ‘hazardous’ designated areas, due to the steep slopes of the Holland River bank.

Healthy Water Award

  • Bayshore Property Management (Barrie) —  For setting an example in winter maintenance practices and educating clients on using reasonable quantities of winter salt.

  • Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Services Board (Bradford West Gwillimbury) —  For creating a sediment removal area for storm runoff and alleviating flooding problems for multiple homes by constructing a stormwater management pond.

Honourable Mention

  • Kaiden Taylor, 6 (Keswick) —  For participating in community clean-up days, reminding others to recycle and educating his peers on the importance of the environment.


Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's community editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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