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Conservation Awards

Ontario Nature’s annual awards recognize environmental heroes.

Nottawasaga Valley, Greenbelt © John Vetterli CC BY-NC 2.0

Recipients for 2021-2022

Community involvement defines Ontario Nature’s character and approach. Together with our member groups and individual members, we are the voice for nature in Ontario and are building a natural legacy for future generations.

This year, we recognized 10 exceptional contributions to nature conservation made by individuals and organizations. Their dedication and hard work inspires others to protect nature in Ontario. Please join us in congratulating and thanking the recipients for their vital contributions to nature conservation. 

Monarch butterfly © James Wheeler

Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus

Ontario Nature Conservation Leadership Award 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.

Jacqueline Litzgus

George Thomson and Elizabeth Churcher

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. Churcher and Thomson reside on a 100-acre farm in rural Tweed that they converted into a nature reserve.

George Thomson and Elizabeth Churcher

Jane Fogal

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.

Jane Fogal

Kurt Hennige

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.

Kurt Hennige

Victor MacBournie

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.

Victor MacBournie

The Toronto Zoo

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.

Dolf DeJong, Blanding's Turtle © Toronto Zoo

Richard (Dick) Tafel

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.

Dick Tafel

Ally Zaheer and Devin Mathura

Ontario Nature Youth Leadership Award for their creative tactics and determination, which garnered huge community support to successfully defend the Lower Duffins Creek Wetland in Pickering from a proposed development under a Minister’s Zoning Order.

Ally Zaheer and Devin Mathura


If you have any questions, please email Lisa Martell at lisam@ontarionature.org.

Ontario Nature is committed to equity, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility.

Lost Bay Nature Reserve