Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Each year the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) honours individuals, businesses or groups who are taking action to improve our natural environment - one step at a time.

This year’s Conservation Awards celebrate the accomplishments of many throughout the watershed.

Nominations are based on conservation projects completed between August 2012 and July 2013.

Winner of the lifetime achievement George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour in 2013 is John McCutcheon of Uxbridge. A member of the Uxbridge Trail Committee for more than a decade, Mr. McCutcheon is the chair of the Uxbridge Naturally group. He has developed ‘in town’ trails, placed a conservation easement on his 73.5 acre property and created the Pat & John McCutcheon Foundation which provides support in the areas of environmental protection and social enterprise within Ontario.

The Conservation Award of Merit goes to Paul Bailey of Newmarket. Mr. Bailey has become a conservation leader by advocating and incorporating advanced energy and water conservation and innovative lot level controls known as Low Impact Development (LID) into his Newmarket housing development. A partner in Mosaik Glenway Homes in Newmarket, when this community is complete it will be the first of its kind within the Lake Simcoe watershed involving water and energy conservation measures and incorporating innovative green infrastructure to manage urban stormwater on the site. Paul Bailey is moving the yardstick forward for innovative sustainable development in the Lake Simcoe watershed.

The Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award goes to Kelsey Shaw of Orillia. The founder and president of the Green Team at Twin Lakes Secondary School, Orillia, Kelsey led the team as it restored a community butterfly garden, participated in a city-wide clean-up to celebrate Earth Day, planted over 100 native tree seedlings, raised funds for landscaping of gardens at the school and has taken on the task of making the school a certified ecoSchool. Kelsey also volunteered with Kids For Turtles Environmental Education and the Couchiching Conservancy, and was a student member of the Environmental Advisory Committee to Orillia Council.

New in 2013 is the Pioneering Green Communities Award. Open to individuals or groups who have completed a program that strengthens connections between our natural (ecological systems) and human (built) systems, this year’s recipients are the Friends of Scanlon Creek from Bradford West Gwillimbury and Living Green Barrie. The Friends of Scanlon Creek is a volunteer subcommittee of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation. The Friends work to create nature-oriented programs and events at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area in the community of Bradford West Gwillimbury. The group also focuses on promoting Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, helps run an eWaste collection day alongside the Foundation, coordinates a Family Fun Day event, the Bradford West Gwillimbury trails day and numerous bird watching hikes and community volunteer days.

Living Green Barrie has been an active group in the community for over 25 years. During the past year committee members spearheaded the Urban Canopy Coalition whose objectives are to increase native tree cover in an urban environment and to educate the community about the many benefits.

Water Conservation Awards are presented to those who have completed a project that improves water quality and wildlife in our watershed.
This year LSRCA honoured:
Aurora Bassmasters
The Bassmasters group seeks out opportunities and participates in a variety of projects that improve water quality and fish habitat around the watershed including support for the naturalization project at Scanlon Creek and the Wild Rice Restoration project working to restore native wild rice beds to Lake Simcoe. Their work was focused in East Gwillimbury and Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Musthaven Farms
Chris and Craig Mustard of Uxbridge received an award for the installation of a large manure storage tank on their farm, preventing potential runoff during the spring season. This new storage tank will help to protect the quality of local ground and surface waters as well as fish and aquatic habitat.
The Stubborn Farmer
Meghan Bennett and her father-in-law David Glas, of Brock, are partners who completed a number of projects on their farm including the creation of a pond bypass with natural channel design including native species plantings, installation of cattle fencing and installation of an innovative livestock watering system.

Soil Conservation Awards are presented to individuals and groups who have completed a project that improves soil, vegetation and wildlife. This year’s awards go to:
Sue and Brian Wookey of Georgina for planting 450 native species trees adding to the existing stand of trees planted previously.
Walter and Ineke Duyvestyn of Brock for planting of 2450 native species trees to increase forest cover and wildlife habitat on their property.Education Awards are presented to individuals and groups who have delivered an innovative environmental or education program, or service to students, or the community-at-large. This year’s awards go to:
Quaker Village Public School ecoCrew of Uxbridge. Among the many projects accomplished the students built birdhouses, maintained the Quaker Trail, planted trees and completed a Yellow Fish Road program.
Alexander Muir Public School Eco Team of Newmarket. Having encouraged the banning of plastic water bottles, the team sold reusable water containers and is working to raise $2500 to purchase a water bottle filling station. The students helped with other projects including a butterfly garden, an outdoor classroom and a Yellow Fish Road program.
The Uxbridge Watershed Advisory Committee of Uxbridge. This group produced a video to educate people about where they live, where their water comes from and how humans impact this process.
The Media Recognition Award goes to Lake Simcoe Living Magazine. Having just celebrated its fifth anniversary, this publication promotes history, arts, culture and the environment around Lake Simcoe. Over the past year, Lake Simcoe Living has been very active in promoting the efforts of LSRCA by featuring the "Lake Simcoe Science" newsletters.

Article courtesy of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority


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