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.