The Healthy Community Award celebrates individuals or groups in our watershed who have completed a project that increases community connections and engagement through events, fairs and festivals; tree plantings; clean-ups and community programs. It also acknowledges significant traditional media or social media coverage; delivering innovative environmental programs or services; as well as sharing knowledge and information through campaigns.
The Healthy Community award was presented to the following recipients in 2022:
Anna Bourgeois (Watershed Wide)
Believing we can change the world and make it a better place, Anna is committed to adding her voice to environmental issues and has been volunteering tirelessly to protect Lake Simcoe and its watershed for nearly twenty years. She brings a selfless, “can-do" attitude as she volunteers with and supports over a dozen organizations that are collectively trying to raise awareness about protecting Lake Simcoe and the watershed.
Anne Wright (Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury)
As a teacher from Fieldcrest Elementary School, Anne has been teaching her students about their roles and responsibilities as global citizens and how to engage with issues facing humanity and the environment. As part of their learning journey, Anne and her students discovered that the school property was once a farmland before it had become a school. Embarking on a mission to restore an overgrown area of the property, Anne and here students created a "no mow" zone, planted native species, created pathways, planted shrubbery, and made a conservation area for students, staff, and their community to learn from and preserve.
Carly and Cassie Wry (Township of Brock)
Seven-year-old twins Carly and Cassie have been cleaning up garbage in their community since the spring of 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic they'd walk down their street with their mom, garbage bags in tow to clean up their neighbourhood. Now an annual adventure, the girls also pick up litter during their lunch break and recess, collecting several bags of garbage. They were inspired from talking about Earth Day at school and the negative consequences of littering and the damage it does to the environment and all the animals in it.
Douglas Latimer (Town of Innisfil)
Committed to caring for the environment and his community, Douglas spends his spare time removing graffiti from not only hydro boxes on local streets in his neighbourhood but disposal boxes at a nearby school. He also participates in the Township of Innisfil's local Clean-up Days to contribute to the health of his community and has also helped the Lake Simcoe watershed by dedicating years of his life to the mobile wash and containment industry, where his efforts include the invention of a cleaning system for boats that catches invasive species and prevents them from entering waterways and spreading to neighbouring areas.
Jen Slykhuis (City of Barrie)
Spearheading the Facebook Group "Clean Up Barrie!", Jennifer is committed to cleaning up the City of Barrie by eliminating litter, one bag at a time. In 2021, Jennifer single-handedly cleaned up 50 bags of litter while the Clean Up Barrie group members collected over 240 bags over the course of numerous clean-up events. Jen continues to inspire and care for the community and leads cleanups with other organizations like Barrie Housing, Telus, and Barrie Families Unite. Her volunteerism is creating a positive impact, not only in the City of Barrie but the entire Lake Simcoe watershed.
Living Green Barrie (City of Barrie)
A charitable organization that engages in building a well connected and literate green community, Living Green Barrie has delivered community planting events and has inspired volunteers to get involved to reach their goal of planting 10,000 trees by 2024. Since October 2021, Living Green Barrie and its volunteers have helped plant 710 native plants, with support from the Conservation Authority.
Neighbourhood Network (Towns of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King Township, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville)
In supporting the enhancement and rehabilitation of natural public spaces, Neighbourhood Network has been hosting native tree and shrub planting events since 2010. Every year, the event grows as more municipalities in York Region get involved. This past spring, 230 volunteers planted nearly 1,200 native trees and shrubs at planting events located in Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King Township, Newmarket, and Whitchurch-Stouffville! Since 2010, Neighborhood Network has planted more than 22,000 native trees and shrubs with over 1,000 volunteers including high school students, families, community groups and local businesses, restoring nearly 14 hectares in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Newmarket Scouting Group (Town of Newmarket)
This group has been involved in planting trees along the northern portion of the Tom Taylor Trail for several years. In 2022, the group helped mulch 300 trees planted at the East Holland River Buffer Project and undertook the grueling work of pulling bushels of the invasive Garlic Mustard plant along the trail and the riverbank. The efforts involved all ages - from the youngest Beaver Scout through to Cubs, Scouts and Venturers, along with parents and Scouters.
Phil Mowles (Watershed Wide)
An avid angler, Phil spends much of his spare time on and around the shores of Lake Simcoe. He is often found fishing, walking the shoreline of the lake, or creating videos for his Instagram page – which he uses to help educate others on Lake Simcoe wildlife and to promote local clean-up initiatives. Phil enjoys Lake Simcoe in every season, and his commitment to cleaning up the shoreline and surrounding areas is apparent in the amount of effort he puts into organizing and promoting clean up events at local beaches and parks.