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 2021:
Aileen Barclay (Town of Newmarket)
Aileen oversees an active Facebook group called “York Region Nature". The group has over 2,200 members and delivers pertinent content through hundreds of posts each month. Through this group, Aileen promotes respectful appreciation and knowledge of ways to honour and protect nature, which is key to helping restore the watershed and our planet. Social media can be a breeding ground for misinformation, and Aileen not only uses this outlet to provide evidence-based facts, but also to support accurate information that protects nature. Aileen is passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to promoting the importance of our natural world and our place within it.
Claire Malcolmson (Watershed-wide)
Claire has been working to protect Lake Simcoe since 2001. She's been instrumental in educating residents, building support, and starting conversations about the importance of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and its review. She's travelled across the watershed sharing factsheets, getting petition signatures and engaging with community groups. Claire demonstrates an unwavering commitment to a healthier watershed now and into the future.
East Gwillimbury Environmental Advisory Committee
This group of more than 60 residents participated in a “No Mow May" initiative where residents stopped mowing their lawns for the month of May, in an effort to help protect bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Each year, the East Gwillimbury Environmental Advisory Committee also participates in anti-litter events, battery collections and textile recycling. Through their combined efforts, they have made a significant contribution to the care and health of the local environment.
Ryan Marques (Town of Bradford)
Age is just a number, right? Ryan is one of the youngest recipients we've recognized with an award. He's only 6 years old and for the last 2 years he's taken it upon himself to clean up the local parks, streets and ponds around his neighbourhood. We're inspired by our young watershed superheroes like Ryan. We can't wait to see where Ryan's passion for a healthy environment to live in will take him into the future. Keep up the great work, Ryan!
The Sutton Beavers, Scouts and Guides (Town of Georgina)
This group was inspired by the Ontario Road Ecology Group to build and donate a number of turtle nesting cages to help protect turtle nests from predators. Almost all of the cages the Sutton Beavers, Scouts and Guides built have been installed throughout the watershed. These nesting cages help ensure our local turtle populations survive their infancy to help increase populations. And the hope is to turn this activity into an annual event. That's turtley awesome!
Tom Lewis (Town of Newmarket)
Tom has worked as an Outdoor Education Specialist for many years, leading adventures in every season; from hiking, creating trails, planting trees, tracking animals, to maintaining grounds, and documenting invasive species. He has touched the lives of many students, including international boarding students who otherwise may not have a chance to experience nature in Canada. Tom has helped to influence a generation of kids to get out and experience and love nature.