(Back row, left to right) Skye MacKenzie, Allan Elgar, Linda Elgar, Fraser Gibson, Peter Delanty, Mia Frankl, Michael Mesure, Brendon Larson, Moe Qureshi (front row, left to right) Iris McGee, Renee Sandelowsky, Angela Martin, Marilyn Ohler, Jane Schneider, Stephanie Glanzmann
Ontario Nature recognized the exceptional contributions of nine individuals and also the County of Wellington to natural habitat protection through the organization’s Conservation Awards.
Ontario Nature Achievement Award – Jim Johnston
Jim Johnston is a tireless contributor to environmental and conservation issues in Ontario, with a particular emphasis on his enlightened approach to dealing with nuisance bears in and around Elliot Lake. Jim spearheaded the development of the Elliot Lake Bear Smart Project, which subsequently became the Ministry of Natural Resource’s Bear Wise program. Jim has also initiated projects studying at-risk wood turtles as well as bird banding efforts, starting a wild rice re-introduction program, and building bird boxes for northern saw-whet owls, wood ducks and bluebirds.
W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award – Jane and Fred Schneider
For more than three decades, Jane and Fred Schneider have welcomed visitors to their 500-acre rural property outside Waterloo, which contains swamps, woodlands and fields. The Schneiders have planted hundreds of trees around their home, enhanced woodland and prairie habitat, and created a butterfly garden. They have led campaigns to protect the Waterloo moraine against urban sprawl and are widely respected for their knowledge of natural areas and their ability to find solutions.
The Steve Hounsell Greenway Award – Iris McGee, Renee Sandelowsky, Allan Elgar
Iris McGee, Renee Sandelowsky, and Allan Elgar founded the Oakvillegreen Conservation Association more than 10 years ago in response to a proposal to urbanize 7,600 acres of agricultural land in North Oakville. Since then, the group has spent countless hours raising awareness and fighting for a preservation plan that included a Natural Heritage System. Their victory was the inspiration for the subsequent Halton Natural Heritage System that now protects 50,000 acres including lands within the Greenbelt.
Richards Education Award – Fraser Gibson
Fraser Gibson has fostered environmental values and actions in children and adults throughout his career teaching outdoor and environmental education and has continued to promote the importance of the natural world in his retirement. Fraser was a founding member of the “What on Earth Are We Doing” committee dedicated to teaching staff and students about environmental issues in a natural setting. He has led countless nature walks, participated in dozens of butterfly and bird counts, maintains bee hives and monitors marshlands.
W.E. Saunders Natural History Award – Christine Hanrahan
Christine Hanrahan has held a long-time commitment to building awareness about the importance of protecting and learning from the natural world. Whether writing articles, posting nature photos, advocating for conservation, leading nature outings or going on bird and butterfly counts, Christine is always able to awaken a sense of wonder in others.
J. R. Dymond Public Service Award – Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP)
The Fatal Light Awareness Program was established in 1993 by Michael Mesure and a team of volunteers dedicated to safeguarding migratory songbirds in the urban environment. FLAP has mobilized the NGO, business, educational, and government sectors to find progressive ways to protect birds from the hazards of the built environment.
The Lee Symmes Municipal Award – The County of Northumberland
Northumberland County initiated a comprehensive, public, Forest Management Plan process to best conserve a 5,400-acre forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine. By bringing together a 21 stakeholder advisory committee, the County brought peace to the forest under the spirit and intent of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and Plan. Throughout the duration of the process, the County and its Council maintained its stance of putting sound ecological management first and foremost in all decision-making, thereby raising the standard in traditional county forest management.
Ontario Nature Corporate Award – Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance
The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance has undertaken numerous energy conservation initiatives over the past decade, including a lighting retrofit throughout its facilities, lowering energy use during times of peak demand, and partnering with other organizations in progressive energy conservation and efficiency programs.
Ontario Nature is a charity that has been protecting wild species and wild spaces through education, conservation and public engagement since 1931. We are there when nature needs us most.