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Environmental Champions Recognized for Their Outstanding Role in Conservation

Ontario Nature’s Conservation Award Recipients Announced


Lakeside daisy, Quarry Bay Nature Reserve

Ontario, June 11, 2022 – Ontario Nature, a leading environmental charity, recognized the exceptional contributions to nature conservation made by individuals and organizations. Their dedication and hard work inspires others to protect nature in Ontario.

This year, the awards celebrated ten winners across eight award categories. The recipients are building a natural legacy for future generations and are owed a debt of gratitude for their tireless efforts.

The award winners are:

Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus, the recipient of the Ontario Nature Conservation Leadership Award, was honoured for her major contributions to our knowledge of species at risk biology and conservation planning. An expert on turtles and snakes, Dr. Litzgus has contributed to many species at risk reports for provincial and federal committees.

George Thomson and Elizabeth Churcher are the co-winners of the Ontario Nature Education Award. Following award-winning careers as science teachers in Hastings County, they have gone on to tirelessly volunteer in their community, inspiring and educating people of all ages to advocate for conservation. Elizabeth and George reside on a 100-acre farm in rural Tweed that they converted into a nature reserve.

Jane Fogal was awarded the Ontario Nature Public Service Award. Fogal is a Councillor for Halton Hills and serves on the Halton Regional Council. She was instrumental in convincing the Council to declare a climate emergency. Fogal also helped convince her fellow regional councillors to protect 5,200 acres of prime farmland from development.

Kurt Hennige received the Ontario Nature Natural History Award for his tireless efforts to protect wild birds in Ontario. Hennige has participated in surveys and studies to establish data records for many species and deepen our knowledge of the natural world.

Victor MacBournie was awarded the Ontario Nature Media and Conservation Award for his website on nature and gardening. Upon retiring from the Hamilton Spectator, MacBournie devoted time to his website, “Ferns and Feathers,” posting articles that encourage gardening practices that provide food and habitat for wildlife.

The Toronto Zoo received the Ontario Nature Corporate Award for their involvement in conservation projects across Ontario. From protecting Blanding’s turtles to educational campaigns, the Toronto Zoo has played an integral role in conservation across the province.

Richard (Dick) Tafel was the recipient of the Steve Hounsell Greenway Award for the instrumental role he played in the establishment of Laurier Woods – a 250-acre natural area in North Bay. Even though he is approaching 90 years of age, Tafel still leads public bird walks in Laurier Woods.

Ally Zaheer and Devin Mathura are co-winners of the Ontario Nature Youth Leadership Award. Their creative tactics and determination garnered huge community support which led to successfully defending the Lower Duffins Creek Wetland in Pickering from a proposed development under a Minister’s Zoning Order.

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

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Media inquiries contact:

John Hassell
Ontario Nature, Director of Communications and Engagement
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 155 member groups across Ontario.