The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has recognized two Newmarket groups for their efforts in planting trees in its 40th annual awards.
Both the Newmarket Scouting Group and Neighbourhood Network garnered community awards for their efforts in tree planting this past year. The Town of Newmarket also garnered an award for a stormwater pond management workshop.
The awards are meant to celebrate “watershed heroes” that engage in positive environmental actions.
“Their actions help clean up Lake Simcoe, restore the banks of our rivers and streams, improve the health of our soil, conserve our precious water resources and continue to healthier communities,” the conservation authority said.
The awards recognize communities and projects from across the watershed, with the organization handing out 23 awards this year. Recipients gathered Oct. 11 at Newmarket’s old town hall to receive recognition.
Neighbourhood Network, which operates in communities throughout York Region, earned its award for planting nearly 1,200 native trees and shrubs this past spring. The community organization has done plantings every year since 2010.
“Since 2010, Neighbourhood Network has planted more than 22,000 native trees and shrubs with over 1,000 volunteers including high school students, families, community,” the conservation authority said.
The Newmarket Scouting Group also earned an accolade for tree-planting, which it has done for several years. In 2022, they helped mulch 300 trees at the East Holland River buffer project, as well as pulling out invasive garlic mustard plants.
“The efforts involved all ages — from the youngest beaver scout through to cubs, scouts and venturers,” the authority said.
The municipality garnered a healthy water award alongside Caledon for holding a stormwater pond inspection and maintenance workshop at Lake Simcoe.
“The training provided both technical instruction and encouraged learning and information sharing on ways to extend the service life of stormwater features and to save on maintenance costs. Close to 100 participants attended the workshops, with training provided both virtually and in-person, with a hands-on component,” the authority said.
“These actions come from people who are part of the solution to the many environmental challenges we face. To hear their stories and learn about their accomplishments gives us all hope for the future, said the authority’s chair, York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson,
Conservation authority’s chief administrative officer Rob Baldwin added, “This is our favourite event of the year. And this year is particularly special because we returned to celebrating in person for the first time since 2019. Meeting in person to celebrate these extraordinary accomplishments and meet the recipients is so uplifting and energizing. It’s a great way to round off the year. We hope our awards ceremony gives recipients a sense of our appreciation for their efforts… efforts that positively affect us all.”
You can find a full list of award winners on the authority's website.