Every year, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority honours its “Watershed Heroes” – those individuals, businesses and groups whose actions improve the health of Lake Simcoe and its environs.
Awards are presented for water conservation projects, soil conservation, environmental education, and for long-lasting and significant contributions to the watershed – from manure storage, to sustainable development.
This year’s Conservation Awards were presented on November 7, at Madsen’s Greenhouses & Garden Centre. Emcee for the evening was Julia Bachelor, host of Rogers TV’s A Greener York.
Water Conservation Awards were presented to the Aurora Bassmasters for their wild rice restoration projects in Lake Simcoe, and for their work on naturalizing Scanlon Creek in Bradford West Gwillimbury; Musthaven Farms in Uxbridge for a manure storage project; and The Stubborn Farmer in Brock, for a variety of livestock exclusion and naturalization projects.
Soil Conservation Awards were presented to Sue and Brian Wookey of Georgina, and Walter and Ineke Duyvestyn of Brock, for their tree-planting efforts.
Education Awards went to the EcoCrew of Quaker Village Public School in Uxbridge; the Eco Team at Alexander Muir Public School in Newmarket; and the Uxbridge Watershed Advisory Committee.
A media recognition award was presented to Johanna Powell and Lake Simcoe Living Magazine, published in Bradford and Barrie, which focuses on the history, arts, culture and science of Lake Simcoe.
A new award was presented in 2013 – a Pioneering Green Communities Award, recognizing individuals or groups who strengthen the connections between human and natural systems. Receiving the inaugural awards were Living Green Barrie; and The Friends of Scanlon Creek, who through their volunteer work days and other activities, have built stronger ties with the urban community and encouraged residents to discover Scanlon Creek Conservation Area.
The Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award was awarded to Kelsey Shaw of Orillia. Shaw is the founder and president of the Green Team at Twin Lakes Secondary School, and a volunteer with Kids for Turtles Environmental Education and the Couchiching Conservancy.
The Conservation Award of Merit was presented to Paul Bailey of Mosaik Glenway Homes in Newmarket, for incorporating energy and water conservation, and Low Impact Development principles into a sustainable subdivision development.
Finally, the George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour for lifetime achievement went to John McCutcheon of Uxbridge, member of the Uxbridge Trails Committee, and founder of the Pat & John McCutcheon Foundation, which supports environmental protection.
The 81 year old McCutcheon was in Florida and unable to attend. The award was accepted by his son Bill, who read from a speech prepared by his father, that urged the creation of a trail system from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe – “a difficult task, but… it will one day be a dream realized.”
Debbie Bath, Chair of the Board of Directors at the LSRCA noted, “Human actions can have a positive or negative influence on our surroundings.” Each one of the award recipients “is making the decision to contribute in a positive way, building a more resilient environment. The importance and the impact of their actions can’t be overstated.”