The Award Winners
Heather and Bill Wilson
Carolinian Forest Festival
Catfish Creek Conservation Authority
Jane Marie and Brent Ward
photos provided by recipients
|David Clemons has lived at 501 Blue Lake Road, St. George all of his life. He has worked in the agriculture sector and is currently working developing the market for Omega 3 Milk. For 10 years David has been the steward of a significant population of American Columbo, an endangered wildflower reaching over 2 m tall. During that time he has removed invasive species and completed three prescribed burns. In 2006 David completed the low complexity prescribed burn worker course and has volunteered in the last two prescribed burns. Under his stewardship the population has increased from ~ 800 plants to 1250 in 2008; making it the largest population of this species in Canada. David has had a profound influence on other landowners of Blue Lake. He has helped to initiate three other private land restoration projects at Blue Lake. One has led to the discovery of a new area of American Columbo. American Columbo is entirely confined to the Carolinian Life Zone, as is most of its habitat, tallgrass oak pine savanna-woodland.
|Bill and Heather Wilson
|Bill and Heather Wilson of Cambridge: Since the winter of 2002/2003, Bill and Heather Wilson have coordinated the monitoring of bald eagle wintering activities in the Grand River valley from Kitchener downstream to the Glen Morris area. Bill and Heather coordinate the monitoring activities of up to 30 individuals each winter. As coordinators, some of Bill and Heather’s activities include soliciting observational information from birders, distributing copies of digital air photos, organizing Saturday morning bald eagle “blitzes”, compiling and submitting data to the MNR and assisting in the preparation of annual reports. Our level of understanding about how wintering bald eagles use the Grand River would not exist without the information collected through this monitoring program. Monitoring activities have provided invaluable information on arrival and departure dates of bald eagles in this part of the watershed, the location of overnight roost sites, the trend in bald eagle numbers over time (increasing) and bald eagle behavior and tolerance to humans.
|Carolinian Forest Festival
|Carolinian Forest Festival organized by Betsy McClure on behalf of a wide array of partners aimed to provide a hands-on learning environment in which students in grades 6 and 7 from Elgin County and surrounding areas discover the importance of the Carolinian Life Zone, forest ecosystems, and stewardship and conservation. The 3-day festival took place on October 7-9, 2008 at Springwater Conservation Area and Jaffa Environmental Education Centre near Aylmer, Ontario. This inaugural event was a great success and now a 2009 Festival is being planned and other areas are adopting the model. Festival coordinators developed 31 interactive activity stations that were directly linked to the Ontario Curriculum. These activities were grouped around five themes, including: forest resources, forest ecosystems and interactions, climate change, biodiversity and species at risk, and stewardship and conservation. Grade 6 and 7 students from 18 schools in Elgin County and surrounding area participated. Over the course of three days, more than 900 students learned about Carolinian Life zone and forest ecosystems through dynamic displays and creative, hands-on learning opportunities. It took over 70 volunteers per day to help pull this event off. These included secondary students, many of whom were in an outdoor specialization program. The festival provided teachers with take-away resources for use in the classroom.
|The Catfish Creek Conservation Authority
|The Catfish Creek Conservation Authority of Aylmer has run one of Ontario's most successful Maple Syrup Festivals for more than twenty years. It is the smallest of Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities but has been one of the most active, particularly in the field of wildlife conservation. At the heart of Carolinian Canada, it has done much to preserve Carolinian species through dozens of projects and partnerships. CCCA’s small staff and limited resources have done exceptional things for environment and conservation. CCCA has worked in Conservation and Environmental Education for years, benefiting more than 60 thousand students from the Thames Valley District School Board and its Roman Catholic counterpart. CCCA’s location is the lynchpin of Carolinian Canada, midway between major Carolinian natural areas such as Backus Woods and Skunk’s Misery. It provides a broad-based wildlife corridor for the species of the Carolinian life zone.
|Alan Ernest is a long-time (joined in 1991) member of the Hamilton Naturalists Club (HNC) whose passion is for preserving and restoring natural habitat through land acquisition and ongoing maintenance. As well, he is knowledgeable in all aspects of nature. He has helped out in a voluntary capacity since then, leading work parties at the HNC Sanctuaries, seeking out new opportunities for land acquisition, and leading negotiations to finalise land purchases. As a consultant, he has held 2 paid positions with HNC in recent years, Project Coordinator, and Land Trust Coordinator of their Head-of-the-Lake Land Trust. In both of these positions, he dedicated himself to the successful acquisition of 2 properties as well as spending uncounted volunteer hours helping out the club with these projects and other work. He also represented the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club on Carolinian Canada’s Landowner Links project. He has been a member of the HNC Sanctuary Committee since the early 1990s. He has also served on the Board of the Ontario Land Trust Association, and has done a great deal of work for the Bruce Conservancy. Alan’s enthusiasm and his work on community outreach has helped to draw in substantial numbers of additional volunteers to help with maintaining properties. And this is on top of all the properties that he has helped to acquire for HNC Head of the Lake Land Trust. Nature benefits and so do the people who get involved in helping with this work.
|Brent and Jane Marie Ward of Wheatley are dedicated to transforming their 50 acre commercial farm into a Heritage Farm with a conservation area and environmental study centre. They have put great care in planting species native to the Carolinian Life Zone. The habitat created is geared toward the migrating animals that follow the shore of lake Erie and find the Heritage Farm a save haven to rest, mate and feed. The Wards have planted close to 13,000 trees and shrubs, created two large ponds, meadow and snake hibernacula for the threatened Eastern Fox snake. Working with many local and provincial partners, Brent and Jane Marie started their conservation efforts a few years ago (in 2005) and their efforts will be a project in progress for many years to come. Their actions show great vision for the next generations that will benefit, both nature and people. The educational aspect of the Heritage Farm will impact many students, teachers and parents alike and have impacted the Wheatley Boy Scouts certainly as they were part of the tree planting crew last fall (2007). Brent and Jane Marie have already inspired many local friends and neighbours to be involved in conservation and consider undertaking similar habitat projects.