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Environmental Champions Recognized for Their Outstanding Role in Conservation

Ontario Nature’s Conservation Award Recipients Announced

2022/23 Conservation Award Recipients © Noah Cole

Sudbury, June 12, 2023 – Ontario Nature, a leading environmental charity, recognized the exceptional contributions to nature conservation made by individuals and organizations. Their dedication and hard work have inspired others to protect nature in Ontario.

The conservation awards celebrate individuals, groups, government agencies and corporations whose efforts have helped protect some of Ontario’s most vulnerable wild species and wild spaces.

The award winners are:

Mark Schwarz, the recipient of the Steve Hounsell Greenway Award, was honoured for leading several multi-pronged initiatives to recreate ecosystems in the Township of Woolwich, Region of Waterloo. Those initiatives included the naturalization of local parks, native plantings along rural roadsides, and the design and implementation of the 67-acre Elmira Nature Reserve.

Blu and Douglas Mackintosh are the co-winners of the Ontario Nature Public Service Award for their work engaging members of the public in stopping the massive expropriation of private lands in the Thousand Islands area. Their efforts led to the founding of the Thousand Islands Area Residents Association in 1975, which helps protect multi-generational cottage and private land ownership.

The Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association was awarded the Ontario Nature Natural History Award for its conservation, restoration and education projects on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula. The association’s achievements include much-needed research on the endangered red-headed woodpecker and the species’ ecological importance to the peninsula.

The Narwhal received the Ontario Nature Media and Conservation Award for its leading investigative and in-depth journalism. The non-profit magazine is a free online source of credible news on climate, nature, government and community-based action.

Margaret ‘Marg’ Paré was awarded the Ontario Nature Education Award for her tireless work with the Waterloo Region Nature Kids Club. Paré also founded the Waterloo Region Nature Teens group in 2018, which has since grown to more than 70 committed participants.

The rare Charitable Research Reserve was honoured with the Ontario Nature Corporate Award for its work as a community-based urban land trust and environmental institute that protects more than 1,200 acres of extremely sensitive natural areas in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

Bernie VanDenBelt was the recipient of the Ontario Nature Conservation Leadership Award, honoured for his work with the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, the Thames Talbot Land Trust and Nature London over the last 25 years. Bernie’s tireless efforts in southwestern Ontario have led to the protection of more than 50 native species at risk and more than 2,000 acres of natural habitat.

The City of Windsor, Parks and Recreation Department was awarded the Lee Symmes Municipal Award for signing the Montreal Pledge, being a lead partner in establishing the new Ojibway National Urban Park, obtaining bird-friendly certification and protecting urban forests.

For more information, visit: ontarionature.org/conservation-awards.

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Media inquiries contact:

John Hassell, Ontario Nature
Director of Communications and Engagement, ON Nature Editor
johnh@ontarionature.org, 416-786-2171

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario.