October 25, 2016
Carolinian Canada Recognizes Conservation Heroes
Toronto - Carolinian Canada recognizes that it takes millions of actions to protect biodiversity. A few conservation heros were recognized this week at the Toronto Botanical Gardens.
Carolinian Canada Conservation Awards recognize the people and groups who help to save the unique nature of this special ecoregion. 8 awards and 1 honourable mention were presented by Dr. Dawn Bazely and Don Pearson, Director and Chair of Carolinian Canada Coalition. They were selected from an outstanding slate of candidates nominated by Carolinian Canada members and partners across the zone. Awards included:
Caring Landowner: Dr. Bob Haig has a prescription for healthy landscapes. He has helped over 30 species of mussels, rare fish, blue ash, bladdernut and green dragon by bringing back a rundown 40 ha (100 ac) forest on the Sydenham River.
Visionary Volunteer: Barb Ferris plays a critical role in many aspects of the operations of the Friends of Pinery Park and enables many projects to become reality.
Big Picture Thinker: Town of LaSalle secured the LaSalle Woods Environmentally Significant Area a critical step in the ongoing effort to protect endangered species habitat in Carolinian Canada.
Passionate Youth: The Antler River Guardians from the 4 Directions were there to help, learn and connect across generations, cultures and landscapes. In the 2015 pilot year for this Thames River Clear Water Revival program, they included Carlyn Johnston and Jake Albert from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation; Theo Blackbird John, Wabsi Shognosh and Brent Blackbird from Walpole Island First Nation; Shaylene Stone from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Caldwell First Nation hosted the program as well.
Smart Business: Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery, owned and operated by Steve and Anita Buehner have created and restored nearly 25 acres of wetland, pond and tallgrass prairie with the help of the Alternative Land Use Services program in Norfolk County.
Green Collaborators: With a small number of staff, dedicated volunteers and supporters, Long Point Basin Land Trust runs Conserving Carolinian Reptiles program and collaborates with many groups and community members to save reptiles, reducing road mortality at Long Point by ~90% and establishing habitat. The Long Point Basin is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Canada and is an important area for reptiles.
Lifetime Achievement: Rick Hornsby is an Ontario Parks employee who is a huge champion of science and evidence-based ecosystem management. Rondeau Park biodiversity recovered measurably, under his tenure.
Lifetime Achievement: Paul Georges has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the importance of our unique Carolinian ecosystem to his geography students.
Honourable Mention: Teenagers Blake and Quinton Pluzak started their own recycling business Pluzak Useful Recycling Protecting our Sacred Environment (PURPOSE) and donated some of their earnings to Carolinian Canada to support meaningful action to enhance the natural environment
Carolinian Canada is honoured to recognize the passion and dedication of these conservation heroes. We thank everyone who nominated this year and helped on the awards committee. We know that there are many more Conservation Heroes out there. Do you know someone who makes an outstanding contribution to biodiversity in the Carolinian Life Zone? We encourage you to nominate for 2017.