2018 Annual Report
A Message from Our CAO
"With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing." — Catherine De Hueck
This past year we sought out opportunities to enhance our relationships with our partners and collaborators with the goal of building more meaningful, respectful and reciprocal relationships.
The highlight of this journey took place in the fall, when staff participated in in-depth learning about Indigenous Communities’ cultural values, traditions and history through a series of four full-day sessions, each with a particular focus. Session one taught us how Wampum Belts were used to record the relationships and treaties between the First Peoples of Canada and settler societies. The second session explored the history of Indigenous people and how colonization occurred in Canada, through what’s known as a blanket exercise. The third session looked at the “duty to consult” as well as the “Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action” from both a non-Indigenous as well as an Indigenous Community lens. The final session was forward looking… based on what was learned, how do we move our relationships forward?
Perhaps we only scratched the surface of what Indigenous Peoples have been through, but I see these sessions as deepening our understanding and stimulating more respectful and reciprocal relationships with our First Peoples.
Strengthening our relationship with nature is, was, and has always been, central to our mission, and 2018 was no exception.
We completed a new 1.06 hectare wetland complex in East Gwillimbury with funding from a new ecological offsetting program we launched. We continued to grow and evolve our already outstanding education programs, adding more experiential learning opportunities. We published a natural heritage strategy, complete with a 39-action implementation plan.
We took steps to address our own carbon footprint with the adoption of a Carbon Reduction Strategy. We released a report recommending revisions to our tree selection process to keep up with changes in the watershed as a result of climate change. We received approval to review Environmental Compliance Approvals for stormwater management projects in Newmarket —a first of its kind in Ontario—which will result in a more integrated, efficient process that will reduce development application wait times.
These are just some of the highlights. The pages that follow provide more detail. In the end, it’s all about reciprocity and finding balance… reconciling with one another and with nature. We all have a role to play to heal this planet and ourselves and it starts with listening.
A Message from Our Chair
Listening is the basis of communication. When we listen—when we truly give our undivided attention to another—we show a deep and authentic respect.
We are all aware of the importance listening plays in good communication with one another, but are we listening as intently to nature?
The unprecedented floods, fires and heatwaves may be nature’s way of telling us that something is deeply wrong. We need to respond, even if out of pure self-interest, since what’s in nature’s best interest is also in humanity’s best interest.
As an organization, LSRCA is listening and responding. We’re undertaking projects to re-naturalize areas previously disturbed. We’ve launched new programs to offset the environmental damage caused by human activity. In recognition of the importance we place on this work, we’ve restructured, creating a new Watershed Restoration Services division, whose main goal is to focus resources, collected through development activities, into restoration programs. The Rogers Reservoir constructed wetland, which was completed in 2018, is just one example. There will be many more in the coming years.
As an individual, you may find it difficult to choose which positive actions you can take to help this watershed and planet. It can feel overwhelming when you look at the enormity of a problem such as climate change. But if you take the perspective that we are each responsible for our own actions and set a goal to focus on what you can do, the enormity of the challenge can be overcome.
So… what can you do? Join us at one of the many community tree plantings we offer (check our calendar of events). Donate to the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation and support their shared vision of a cleaner and healthier Lake Simcoe watershed. Follow our activities on social media. Carpool. Take a walk in nature. Follow the 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. Each of us has the power to change things. Even small changes have the ability to add up to big results.