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Environmental Champions Recognized for Their Outstanding Role in Conservation

Ontario Nature’s Conservation Award Recipients Announced

2023-24 Ontario Nature Conservation Award recipients © John Hassell

Red Bay, June 1, 2024 – Ontario Nature, a leading environmental charity, recognized the exceptional contributions to nature conservation made by individuals and organizations. Their dedication and hard work are an inspiration.

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:

Larry McCurdy, the recipient of the Ontario Nature Leadership Award, was honoured for more than 50 years of leadership and hands-on conservation work with organizations including the Kingston Field Naturalists, the Land Conservancy for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, and Cataraqui Conservation.



Save Georgian Bay are the winners of the Ontario Nature Corporate Award for working with partners and mobilizing the public to protect the ecosystems of the Niagara Escarpment and Georgian Bay to oppose a proposed large-scale pumped water storage hydroelectric generation project.




Dr. Sheila Colla was awarded the Ontario Nature Education Award for her outstanding achievements in educating and engaging students and the public in the conservation of wild bees. Her efforts galvanized a community of people and organizations dedicated to conserving imperilled wild bees across North America.



The Pointer received the Ontario Nature Media and Conservation Award for its excellent reporting about environmental issues that held all levels of government to account through in-depth, investigative and evidence-based journalism.




The Arboretum, University of Guelph was awarded the Ontario Nature Natural History Award for its rich history of connecting people to nature and conserving biodiversity for future generations.





John Kemp was honoured with the Ontario Nature Public Service Award for his work to curb the spread of invasive giant hogweed in the Grand River watershed. He founded the Giant Hogweed Mitigation Project, which is dedicated to eradicating the plant.




Derek Nguyen was the recipient of the Ontario Nature Youth Leadership Award for championing biodiversity conservation, combatting climate change, and cofounding Operation EcoPen, which promotes recycling used writing instruments in hospitals, businesses, municipal offices and more than 50 schools to divert thousands of pounds of waste from landfills.



Brian Buckles received the Steve Hounsell Greenway Award for his work to protect green spaces and conserve natural habitat along the Oak Ridges Moraine in Durham Region. He also established linked trail systems in north Pickering, south Uxbridge and adjacent Greenbelt lands.




The City of Richmond Hill was awarded the Lee Symmes Municipal Award for its achievements in conserving and restoring biodiversity, which includes increasing tree cover to 30 percent over ten years, representing a net gain of over 100,000 trees and shrubs.




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

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Media Inquiries Contact

John Hassell, Ontario Nature
Director of Communications and Engagement, 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.