Often, it is after the death of someone that you truly realize how much they were involved in making a difference in this world and in the lives of others.
Lorrie Mackness was one of those people. He was an extremely passionate individual who was committed to community building. Not only was he a member of many sustainable organizations that are doing great work for our planet, he was usually the Chair, or a Director!
Just to mention a few: He was the Chair of York Environmental Stewardship in 2008; Chair of the Maskinonge River Recovery Project in 2009; Founding Member of Green Connections in 2010; and Director of the York Durham Ontario Woodlot Association in 2013.
Lorrie's passion for making the world a better place was infectious. He was well-known for his distinctive laugh and his dry wit. Recently, one of his friends shared with us, that even when things got frustrating or contentious in a committee meeting, he always found a funny turn of phrase, and joined in with a good-natured chuckle. All who knew and volunteered alongside him benefitted from his leadership, mentoring and friendship.
In addition to his involvement in so many environmental organizations, Lorrie personally hosted edible walking tours, garden tours, pond tours and forest tours, all on his property in East Gwillimbury. He had his own landscape business where he was a passionate promoter of native plants and organic gardening.
He also helped to launch the inaugural Repair Café in York Region, which has now become a Region-wide initiative. Lorrie believed that if people would take a little bit of time to learn how to repair household items like toasters or lamps, that we could divert a lot of waste from our landfill sites.
Lorrie also believed that another way to preserve nature is to have residents enjoy it and see its wonders with their own eyes. It's been said that anyone privileged enough to attend any of Lorrie's events walked away wiser.
Lorrie was a challenger. He had exactly the kind of personality required to get things done. But he was also a gentle, knowledgeable man who lived life to the fullest and was always eager to share his experiences and knowledge with anyone who would listen. He especially enjoyed encouraging youth to become engaged in environmentalism, conservationism, and compassion for all things flora and fauna.
His dedication over many, many years has motivated others to complete environmental projects and to become involved in amazing partnerships. His impact and legacy will live on through his passion, courage and commitment and the many projects he touched.
Lorrie Mackness made a difference in so many ways, without expectation of recognition or reward, but simply for the sake of doing the right thing - for the environment, for the community, for the trails, for all of it.
Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award:
Eva Crothers (Uxbridge)
After LSRCA's Outreach Instructor, Dana Eldon, attended Uxbridge Public School to do a presentation, Eva realized just how important it is to protect our environment.
Wanting to do something that would make a difference, 10 year old Eva decided she would start up an Eco Club at the school.
With the support of her teachers, Eva promoted and coordinated the majority of work that went into creating the Club, which is now made up of 10 students from Grades one to four.
Some of the activities and initiatives that the club has taken on so far include, garbage pick-up in the school's nature garden, evaluating how each classroom can reduce the amount of garbage they produce, designing wall posters to make students aware of the club, designing posters placed at school printers and photocopiers to encourage less paper use, and producing eco- announcements to the entire school.
Eva demonstrates what it is to be an ambassador for the environment and is a true example of leadership.
Healthy Water Award
Town of Newmarket In the last 4 years, the Town of Newmarket has significantly changed their approach to stormwater management, demonstrating strong leadership in incorporating Low Impact Development techniques into their capital projects, new developments, site plans, as well as implementing by-laws and policies.
The Town completed three Low Impact Development projects in partnership with LSRCA in 2017 including Lions Park, Ray Twinney Recreation Complex and Forest Glen Road. All three sites include Low Impact Development features such as a wetland area complete with native plantings, signage and walkway at Lions Park; permeable pavement and a rain garden feature at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex and bioswales and stream erosion protection at Forest Glen Road.
All of the projects were a great success and will be used as demonstration sites for future projects in the municipality.
Town of Aurora In April of this year, The Town of Aurora completed a Low Impact Development (LID) retrofit in and around The Aurora Community Centre parking lot. The project included the restoration of a portion of Tannery Creek, reconstruction of the existing parking lot, and implementation of LID features including permeable pavement in the parking lot, bioswales, and rain gardens. These features reduce the volume of stormwater running off the site, by encouraging infiltration and they also improve water quality before it enters into the Tannery Creek, which runs adjacent to the community centre.
There were many challenges with taking on this major project at a busy community centre, including keeping the centre open to the public while completing major construction in the parking lot, but the Town's commitment to the project paid off. In addition to the environmental benefits, the function and aesthetics around the Aurora Community Centre's parking area and Fleury Park are significantly improved allowing for public awareness and enjoyment.
Town of Innisfil and South Simcoe Streams Network (Innisfil)Back in the 1960s, a dam was built to create a recreational pond in Centennial Park. At first, the pond was used for recreational fishing but over time, the dam prevented sediment from filtering out of the pond and it began to fill with sediment, contributing to declining water quality. This prompted the Town of Innisfil and the South Simcoe Streams Network to join forces on a collaborative project to take the pond offline. The project has enhanced water quality, improved water temperatures and now allows for fish passage. The wetland features of the project also enhance wildlife habitat.
While this project was led by the South Simcoe Streams Network and the Town of Innisfil, it was a tremendous collaboration between multiple partners, including Ducks Unlimited, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, LSRCA, and the Dufferin Simcoe Collaborative.
Carson and Margaret Thorn (Kawartha Lakes)Carson and Margaret Thorn are the owners of a cattle farm in Kawartha Lakes. The Thorns undertook a project to reduce manure-laden runoff from entering the nearby White's Creek. By converting their livestock containment yard to a concrete pad with a curb to control runoff, the Thorns are now able to manage manure, keep the yard clean and reduce the amount of runoff and any contaminants from reaching the creek.
Matthew Jewell (Kawartha Lakes)Matthew Jewell is a resident and a cattle farmer in the City of Kawartha Lakes. In order to prevent his cattle from entering White's Creek, which passes through his property, Matthew installed nearly two kilometres of fencing. In lieu of access to the creek, his cattle now enjoy an alternate watering system. The fencing provides a much-needed protected corridor so the stream is able to grow naturally and form a buffer along the watercourse and wetland.
Holland Marsh Growers Association Water Project (East Gwillimbury)The Holland Marsh Growers Association Water Project involves the evaluation of innovative whole-farm approaches as a way to find effective treatment methods and technologies to reduce risks to water quality in Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. This project has resulted in important research and discoveries related to wash water systems and de-dirting equipment. The results of the research from this project have helped farmers make even better environmental choices and also helped the LSRCA update its funding programs.
Mike Nealon (Georgina)In 2015, when Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff found water soldier in the Black River, Mike Nealon took great interest and volunteered to help. He began by providing 400 feet of silt curtain, at no cost, for staff to surround the colony of this dangerous aquatic invasive plant. The following spring, when the Town of Georgina was prepared to pay for a barrier at the dam to prevent Water Soldier from flowing over and spreading downstream to Lake Simcoe, he volunteered his time and materials to design, build and help install a custom barrier to prevent any more spread of the invasive species.
Murray Hawman, Hawman Container Services (Barrie)Murray Hawman is the President of Hawman Container Services, a company that produces various shipping and storage containers. Due to certain processes occurring at one of Hawman Container Service facilities, and its proximity to municipal wells, The City of Barrie had an opportunity to work with Murray to develop a Risk Management Plan around drinking water sources. Even though Murray learned that the fuel that is stored at his facility is not a significant drinking water threat, he still decided to go above and beyond legislated requirements by replacing his above ground single-walled tank with a double-walled unit. Murray and his team designed and manufactured the storage container in-house, and because of his team's expertise and excellence in their craft, the storage container is now certified for worldwide use.
Gerties Creek Restoration Project (Georgina Island)
The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation worked with LSRCA to develop a subwatershed plan for Georgina Island. One of the results of the subwatershed planning exercise was the development of the project along Gerties Creek, which flows under the main road and into Lake Simcoe at the north-west side of the Island. Restoration at the Gerties Creek site included debris removal, stream bank stabilization, re-vegetation, and replacement of an undersized and damaged culvert, with multiple larger culverts.
The project has rehabilitated the environmental health of the creek, has restored a memorable and historic community site, and will now help alleviate local flooding.
Funding was secured through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America, and through the federal Lake Simcoe South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-up Fund.
Waabgon Gamig First Nation School (Georgina Island)As part of the project to restore Gerties Creek back to a flowing and healthy creek, the students of Waabgon Gamig participated by planting shrubs along the edge of the creek. The students also came up with a plan to continue monitoring and caring for the Creek so it remains vibrant and healthy.
This past spring, the students began monitoring and collecting information on the creek such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels and phosphorus levels as well as the aquatic critters that can tell us a lot about the health of the creek. The students plan to continue caring for the creek and to monitor it on an ongoing basis.
Healthy Lands Award
Jason Chang (King Township) Jason Chang, a resident in the Township of King, contacted LSRCA in June 2016 with interest in planting a new forest on the farm fields that he had formerly rented to a tenant for the last decade.
As a result of his interest in supporting our environment, in May of this year LSRCA machine planted 5,000 tree seedlings over 6 acres of his property.
Mr. Chang's enthusiasm and desire to improve the natural function of his property is exceptional. He's now responsible for creating a small forest on his property; property that he could have continued to personally profit from in the years to come. Instead he's contributing to the ecological assets we all benefit from.
Elie and Janie Riviere (Uxbridge)Elie and Janie Riviere, residents in the Township of Uxbridge, contacted LSRCA in March 2016 expressing interest in increasing forest cover on their rural property.
In May of 2017 LSRCA planted 8,600 trees on 10.5 acres of their property. This was LSRCA's largest planting project in 2017. Landowners who commit to establishing large block plantings are a huge asset to LSRCA's planting program and to the overall health of our environment and communities.
Maple Grove Public School (Barrie)This year, five classes at Maple Grove Public School in Barrie went above and beyond to create a diverse habitat for pollinators within their school grounds.
Classes worked with LSRCA to pilot a new Terrestrial Plant Program where they grew a variety of native pollinator-friendly plants from seeds and installed them in a dedicated no-mow zone they created in their schoolyard. The students also created signage that was displayed in the no-mow zone to inform the school community and neighbourhood about the purpose of the space. Students also took some of their plants to the school board Education Centre and installed plants in demonstration outdoor learning spaces.
St. Nicholas Catholic School (Newmarket)St. Nicholas Principal, Deirdre Vance and teacher, Noelle Mikkelsen helped to organize a schoolyard naturalization project which included removing pavement from a portion of the kindergarten area and an old court yard.
In partnership with Windfall Ecology and LSRCA, a community event was held at the Newmarket school to complete the work. Over 160 participants helped to install a rain garden, trees and outdoor classroom features. These features now contribute to a more positive outdoor learning experience for the students.
Healthy Communities Award
TS Tech Canada Inc. (Newmarket/Aurora)
This past year, over 60 TS Tech staff volunteered and demonstrated their commitment to the environment by planting 800 native trees and shrubs in our community – and their contribution didn't stop there.
Over the last two years, TS Tech volunteers participated in Conservation Days, a Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation program that celebrates employees working together to contribute to a healthier environment. Between 2016 and 2017, staff volunteers planted over 2,000 native trees and shrubs in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
The efforts of TS Tech staff have returned huge ecological rewards for the overall health of our watershed.
Gord Bennett, Telus Day of Giving (watershed wide)For the past three years, through the Telus Days of Giving program and thanks to Gord's leadership and organization skills, Telus staff have participated in LSRCA's community tree planting program.
Each year Gord organizes approximately 50 volunteers to plant close to 750 plants. Rain or shine, the staff are always hardworking and enthusiastic about the task ahead of them. Gord's leadership and the Telus staff's dedication to helping the environment has resulted in over 2,200 new trees in our watershed – providing long-term and vital community benefits.
It is the mission of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to work with our community to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed by leading research, policy and action.
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Phone: 905-895-1281, ext. 264
Toll Free: 1-800-465-0437
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