Cannington and Area Historical Society and Cannington Horticultural Society
Cannington, Township of Brock
This past year, the Cannington Historical Society partnered with the Cannington Horticultural Society and LSRCA to implement a community tree planting project.
These two groups organized over 50 volunteers to plant approximately 240 native trees and shrubs in various areas within a local park. Their efforts will create a more natural park, will enhance wildlife habitat and increase forest cover.
Serving the Cannington, Sunderland and surrounding area for over 40 years, the Cannington Horticultural Society also engages in various beautification projects and frequently organizes expert guest speakers who offer information on various horticultural subjects like open gardens, flowers, and vegetables. This spring, the Cannington and Area Historical Society also engaged with a local school group to offer students an opportunity to expand their environmental literacy by providing hands-on experience with nature and the environment.
Town of Aurora, Town of East Gwillimbury, Town of Newmarket
Carol is an avid trail user, educator and volunteer who believes in the benefits of active transportation.
She is a champion in the preservation and development of trails to connect residents to their community and a positive healthy lifestyle. Carol not only talks the talk, she walks the talk. She provides literature to keep residents healthy while also enjoying local trails. And she also spear-headed a Nature Backpack initiative, in collaboration with several community partners, including LSRCA.
This initiative includes six themed backpacks that Aurora and Newmarket library patrons are able to sign out. Each backpack contains resources, materials and equipment to encourage users to get active outdoors while strengthening their connection to the natural environment and engaging with local green space. The initiative has been hugely popular, with waiting lists to sign out the backpacks, and has since expanded to include local Aurora elementary schools and libraries in Georgina, Markham and Vaughan.
Carol's dedication to living a healthy lifestyle will provide long-term and long-lasting community benefits.
Children's Development Services, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
City of Barrie, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
Therapy in the Woods is a program that enables early learners with developmental needs, from the ages of 2 to 5 years old, and their families to engage in outdoor life experiences in a supported and safe environment. The connection of nature, to the intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical development of children is very important.
Children with disabilities fall far short of their peers when it comes to typical play and outdoor life experiences. This program addresses this shortfall by allowing children with disabilities and their families to work on multiple areas of development simultaneously.
Participants engage in activities like obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, music and singing, arts and crafts, and circle time. Parents and caregivers also learn how to implement therapeutic strategies with their children in a natural environment.
Innisfil Library Seed Program
Town of Innisfil
The Lakeshore Library in Innisfil, while also offering the typical books and periodicals, also offers a seed program to patrons and visitors. This program is free and open to all who choose to participate. It works by allowing participants to browse through the selection of vegetable, herb and flower seeds, sign some out and grow them at home to enjoy. At the end of the growing season, the seed borrower returns some of the seed to help replenish the library stock.
Throughout the growing season, the library also offers workshops and presentations, including the proper methods for saving and returning viable seeds. Some of the many benefits of this program include helping members of the community to cultivate and maintain biodiversity and developing locally adapted seeds while sharing with the community.
Town of Newmarket
Michelle Nye is an intermediate teacher who models what environmental literacy and outdoor learning look like, both in and beyond the classroom. Michelle regularly takes her students outside to learn. She engages them in the environment through rich inquiry based learning like mapping wetlands and observing seasonal changes at the pond adjacent to the school.
Michelle has also participated in the revitalization of the D'Arcy Creek Wetlands. Michelle firmly believes that when students and adults build a relationship and connection to our land and our water, they have a desire to protect that space. Michelle is a truly inspiring teacher, and her students would agree that she is both committed to outdoor environmental learning and to enhancing local green spaces.
Mount Albert Lions Club
Town of East Gwillimbury
Over the last couple of years, the Mount Albert Lions Club has organized the Mount Albert Lions Nature Day, an event that has grown to include over 100 community volunteers and multiple partners including the Town of East Gwillimbury, local Scouts and Guides and the LSRCA. Event participants have enjoyed hands on activities such as using dip nets to discover aquatic bugs, and planting shrubs for bees and butterflies.
They've also engaged in various interactive nature games, nature hikes and other environmental activities, like the release of several Monarch butterflies.
This nomination recognizes the dedication and effort the Mount Albert Lions Club has shown in organising the Nature Day event. It has become a well-known and wonderful annual family event in Mount Albert.
Town of Newmarket
Nature's Emporium believes that good health begins on farms that grow in partnership with Nature. That's why they provide natural and organic foods, vitamins, supplements, whole body and home care products.
They share in a global commitment to tomorrow's oceans with new sustainably sourced fresh fish and seafood options and have invested heavily in developing a Sustainable Selections product family that includes ultra-green cleaning products, 100% locally manufactured using pure, plant-based ingredients to ensure they're biodegradable, petroleum free and phosphate free.
In addition, Nature's Emporium is the first business in the area to provide a compostable shopping bag. Compostable is different from bio-degradable. If a plastic bag is bio-degradable – it may not be compostable. But, if a plastic bag is compostable – it is biodegradable.
Nature's Emporium also protects the Lake Simcoe watershed by donating the proceeds from their compostable bag sales to the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation.
Simcoe County District School Board
The Simcoe County District School Board is a leader in implementing environmental initiatives within their schools. Fifty-three schools across Simcoe County have been awarded Ontario EcoSchools certifications: three platinums, twenty-four golds, twenty-four silvers and two bronzes.
Together with these certifications, schools have implemented recycling programs, waste-free lunches, energy conservation programs and school ground greening projects.
The collective impact from all of these efforts on reducing the environmental footprint of the schools is significant.
But they haven't stopped there. The school board has also implemented a curriculum based outdoor education program for Grade 4 students to participate in. These students are immersed in outdoor environmental programming, both within their local community and at the Scanlon Creek Nature Centre.
A new initiative in partnership with LSRCA, called Schoolscaping, was also piloted by the school board. This project created naturalized schoolyard spaces in various schools, contributing to the health, well-being and intellectual development of students, while also providing opportunities for student-led stewardship and enhanced outdoor learning.
All of these initiatives, and they are many, are contributing to the overall health of the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Tycoed Restorative Farm
Township of Uxbridge
Tycoed Restorative Farm, a multi-phase project – currently in the first phase, is committed to fostering sustainability by cultivating self-reliant and restorative practices, like permaculture, hugelkultur (pronounced Hoo-gul-culture), and solar and wind power, among others.
Tycoed, surrounded by forests, ponds, creeks, diverse animal life and amazing views, is also dedicated to becoming a future learning centre and model of how to make changes, both large and small in your own home or community, to live in harmony with the land and to be sensitive to the earth's needs.
The emphasis on the value of being connected to one's own bioregion is showcased across all phases of the project, with the next phase including workshops dedicated to educating the community on peaceful and sustainable living.
Wellington Public School
Town of Aurora
The students at Wellington Public School are environmental heroes. They contribute to the health of the environment and to the Lake Simcoe watershed on a daily basis because they know how important it is to protect the environment and that each and every student has the power to improve the health of the planet, no matter how small the action may seem.
This school's Eco Team is comprised of over 60 members and is engaged in many different activities to collectively amass many small deeds and make a significant contribution to the care and health of the local, and in many ways, global environment.
Some of the activities include formally adopting, and essentially taking ownership, of a park nearby and regularly cleaning up garbage and debris. Students have also participated in a planting event at the park to contribute to the health of the community by improving air quality and providing habitat to local wildlife.
This school also has an Earth Guardians club where students are hard at work as eco-educators. These students are tasked with spreading the word on environmental health and conservation in the school by going to each class and ensuring that garbage is being thrown out using the correct bin and by ensuring classes are saving energy whenever they can.
Students happily eat lunch with the lights off while students in other classrooms care for their new eco-friends …their eco-worms.
Through the efforts of teachers, students and administration, this school has laid a foundation for watershed stewards of the future.
Bayshore Property Management
City of Barrie
Bayshore Property Management is a full service and fully licensed property management firm. They manage in excess of 5,000 units including condominium corporations, non-profit housing corporations, residential properties and commercial facilities.
In their property management practices, they appreciate the need to use winter salt in reasonable quantities. Bayshore Property Management is committed to setting an example in winter maintenance practices by educating their clients about using appropriate amounts of winter salt and the environmental benefits of doing so.
With the level of winter salt use steadily increasing in Lake Simcoe over the years, service organizations following similar practices as Bayshore will be crucial in lessening the amount of salt being used and impacting our water and the environment.
Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Services Board
Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
The Holland Marsh is an area that is commonly referred to as Ontario's “vegetable patch" because of its incredible variety and copious amounts of fresh produce. At first, this area was thought to be unusable land, but in the early 1900s, it was in fact found to be fertile muck soil. 28 kilometers of canals and dykes were constructed around the Marsh to expose the fertile ground below. This system of canals and dykes keeps storm water and upstream drainage from entering the marsh.
Today, the Marsh is approx. 2,833 hectares of primarily organic soils and is governed by the Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Services Board, in partnership with the Township of King and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
This Municipal board was formed in 2007 to maintain and manage the Holland Marsh drainage system, to plan future development for the Holland Marsh and to tackle any environmental issues.
The Morris Road Drain construction project is one project managed by this board that has recently been completed. It included the construction of a stormwater management pond which provided a sediment removal area for runoff and also alleviated flooding problems for a number of Bradford residences.
Town of Georgina
Mr. Esmaelidaeh purchased a rural property in the Town of Georgina approximately 5 years ago. He contacted LSRCA in the spring of 2015, 2017 and again in 2018 about planting some trees on his property. A total of 1,600 tree seedlings and 70 wildlife shrubs were planted on open areas throughout his property over the 3 years.
Mr. Esmaelidaeh has added nearly 1 hectare of new forest area and these trees and shrubs will help to reduce soil and water erosion while also improving water quality in the Lake Simcoe watershed – a benefit we all enjoy.
Town of East Gwillimbury
Ian Smith currently farms nearly 324 hectares on muck soil in York Region. He grows carrots, onions, parsnips, beets and lettuce. In the spring of 2018, Mr. Smith interseeded almost 324 hectares with barley to prevent soil erosion. He did this because barley seed has been found to hold the seed bed during the early phases of vegetable seed growth and reduces soil erosion by wind and water and prevents wind damage.
But that's not all – Mr. Smith's commitment to the health of the environment is also found at the vegetable processing plant he owns and operates.
He currently harvests approximately 156 hectares of vegetables and has installed a new rotating finger de-dirter at the beginning of the wash cycle to knock off excess dirt from the vegetables before being washed. This new process is more efficient and reduces the amount of dirt that is added to the water during the wash water treatment process.
Schomberg, Township of King
In an effort to naturalize his property in Schomberg, Mr. Stewart worked with the LSRCA to plant some trees on his land. Together, they planted rows of trees along the edges of Jim's agricultural fields, as well as six separate and fragmented open spaces located on his property. In total, 2,675 Norway Spruce and 1,400 White Pine seedlings were planted on just over 2 hectares of land.
These trees will help to reduce wind and soil erosion and improve water quality in the Lake Simcoe watershed. Not only has this planting extended forest cover, it has also increased the forest canopy connectivity on the property. Environmental impacts we will continue to enjoy now and into the future.
Sunderland, Township of Brock
John Nagy has been purchasing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants since 2014, in an effort to enhance existing plantings, increase biodiversity, increase forest cover and create wildlife corridors on his property. John's property is located in Brock Township and is a rural, non-farming property with a section of the Uxbridge Brook running through it.
Each year, he orders trees through LSRCA's DIY Tree Planting program and by the end of 2018, he will have planted over 1,000 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
John's love for the environment is clear. John is a dedicated and long standing supporter of planting seedlings. He is a true inspiration.
Township of Uxbridge
Larry Onisto has planted many trees throughout his life. Most recently, he expressed an interest in having some trees planted on his rural property in Durham Region.
Some unused land areas on Larry's property were found to be too wet for agricultural use so he decided to plant trees instead. With the help of the LSRCA forestry team, Larry approved a tree planting plan that would see 3,575 White Pine trees and 1,000 White Cedar trees planted on over 2 hectares of land. This tree planting project will increase the forest canopy and connectivity on his property, will help control wind and soil erosion and help improve water quality in the Lake Simcoe Watershed.
Frank Matos – Ontario Landscaping Ltd.
Frank Matos of Ontario Landscaping has worked with LSRCA since the fall of 2009, providing tree planting services throughout the years.
Year after year, Frank planted trees, until the time finally came in the fall of 2017 for him to retire. After wrapping up his tree nurseries and tree planting business, he generously donated and delivered numerous 60-70 cm caliper Red Oak and Kentucky Coffee trees to be planted throughout the watershed.
The value of the tree donation was significant, and the value to the environment was even more significant. Mr. Matos' generous donation will help the LSRCA to provide caliper sized trees to a number of conservation areas throughout the watershed.
Township of King
Tim is a famer in the Holland Marsh who is passionate about soil conservation and preservation. His father participated in our planting program in 2011 and 2014. In the fall of 2017, Tim initiated another fall planting project on his farm property.
LSRCA planted 200 shrubs along 95 metres of streambank in the Holland Marsh. Tim is also an advocate for using cover crops and has planted close to 60 acres of tillage radish and oats on his fields. Using cover crops has significant benefits, including a reduction in soil nutrient loss from wind, soil and water erosion.
Tim's contribution to soil erosion doesn't stop there - he has also constructed his own cropland erosion control structures on his property to further prevent soil loss. Landowners like Tim, who commit to establishing large block plantings, are huge assets to the overall health of our environment and communities.
Town of East Gwillimbury
York Bassmasters is a group of anglers who are focused on issues related to fisheries and aquatic resource conservation.
Their commitment to protecting the bass fisheries of the future inspired them to volunteer in assisting with the Rogers Reservoir Habitat Restoration project.
This group fearlessly planted 168 trees within an area identified as “difficult" and “hazardous", due to the steep slopes of the river bank and close proximity to the Holland River.
This group will continue their conservation efforts by coordinating future community tree plantings and providing support for the installation of habitat features in the meadows and wetlands of the reservoir.