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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

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He​​​althy Land

The Healthy Land award celebrates improvement projects that help to support and protect natural heritage features​ including woodlands, wetlands and their functions; wildlife habitat; biodiversity and ecological restoration; soil erosion; and trail development.

The Healthy Land award was presented to the following recipients in 2021:

Brian & Kristal McDonald (Town of East Gwillimbury)

Brian and Kristal planted 5,300 tree seedlings and shrubs on their property. These plantings represent an additional 2.6 hectares of forest in York Region, contributing to wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration and erosion control.​​




Catherine McNeely (Town of Georgina)

Operating under the philosophy that “what goes into the land around the lake, also goes into the lake", Catherine began transforming her lakeshore property from the usual, run-of-the-mill cottage lawn, into a haven of biodiversity, with native trees, bushes, shrubs, and flowers. She avoided pesticides in favour of pollinator-friendly plants & grasses to attract and feed our many pollinators and has stopped using gas-powered lawn equipment to limit airborne pollutants.


Danielle & Allyson Flynn (Township of King)

This mother-daughter duo planted 2,300 trees seedlings in 2019 and another 4,300 in 2021. Danielle & Allyson have created over three hectares of forest cover in York Region and have certainly helped mitigate the impacts of climate change through their actions.​




Donny Crowder and Gail Loder (Town of Innisfil)

Donny and Gail are active partners in their community, and are owners of HotBox Huts, giving them a great opportunity to share their environmental message about the importance of protecting Lake Simcoe and the surrounding area with both locals and those visiting. This duo's efforts include adopting a section of Highway 89 and coordinating regular clean-ups with local volunteers. They also help with removing abandoned ice fishing huts to keep Lake Simcoe clean. In winter, they host a YouTube Channel with daily ice safety updates and are featured on local television as the voice of local environmental supporters. They've also set up a community garden that grows local sustainable produce and have planted over 500 trees and seedlings on their property.

Innisfree Limited (Town of Innisfil)

This group of landowners takes great pride in preserving the history and ecological value of their properties and for years have been working to restore the rare oak-pine savannah ecosystem that exists there. Along with forest management plans and invasive species removal, Innisfree Limited has conducted prescribed burns to stimulate seed growth and to re-establish numerous hectares of grasses unique to the area. In 1998, when their rehabilitation efforts began, the savannah was reduced to 1.6 hectares, from its original 24 hectares. Today the area is back to roughly 9 hectares of grasses.

Karat King (Township of King)

Karat King farms over 220 acres on muck soil and uses cover crops to help improve poor soil conditions, prevent wind and water erosion, and increase nutrient retention and replenishment. This farm also installed a closed loop wash-water treatment system for their vegetable processing plant, and a de-dirter to knock off excess dirt from the vegetables before they are washed and rinsed. The excess water from this process is stored in a tank, treated and re-used for other purposes such as cleaning equipment. This extensive system reduces the amount of water used in the vegetable washing process and prevents discharge from the processing plant.

Linda and Steve Pugh (Township of Uxbridge)

Over 15 years ago, Linda and Steve planted hundreds of trees on their property. The success of these plantings compelled them to continue on with more. You might say they ascribe to the edict “Once you plant a tree, you just can't let it be". This year they planted 2,850 trees, adding more than one hectare of new forest in Durham Region. These tree plantings create wildlife corridors, help reduce soil and water erosion, and improve water quality. They are doing their part for the environment while also leaving a legacy for their family.

Marie Rolfe (Town of Georgina)

Marie has been continuously naturalizing her property in Willow Beach since purchasing it a few years ago. She's planted numerous native wildflowers, shrubs and grasses, removed several invasive species, and installed bird and bat boxes. Her efforts have turned her once barren landscape into an oasis for all kinds of native species.


The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust (Township of King)

This group restored a 2.4 hectare grassland in the MapleCross Nature Reserve, a reserve of over 32 hectares located in the Township of King. This grassland restoration project provides breeding habitat for the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark bird species, who require this rare type of ecosystem to breed in, which has led to their decline. The work involved removing fences and invasive trees, using large tarps to solarize areas of the grassland, planting native plants and prescribed burns. We're happy to report that the Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink have been seen on the property for the first time.

Siegfried & Tamara Jung (Township of Brock)

This father-daughter team planted a total of 4,350 trees across their two properties, creating nearly two hectares of new forest cover in Durham Region. Siegfried wanted to leave a permanent, positive mark on the landscape in Canada and the tree planting does just that. It helps reduce wind and soil erosion, which also improves water quality. By extending the forest cover, they have increased the forest canopy and connectivity on their properties.​​

The Town of Innisfil

The Town of Innisfil completed three separate restoration projects over the last 2 years. The first project located at Circle Park in Gilford transformed a formerly wet field into two new wetlands, offering a place for turtles to nest as well as an osprey platform. The second project included planting trees and shrubs at the Innisfil Works Yard to enhance local biodiversity, improve water quality and beautify the area for the public to use in the future. The third project included re-grading ditches, replacing culverts and diverting external drainage to improve drainage along Park Road in the Town of Innisfil.​​

Ziemba Farms (Township of King) 

​Ziemba Farms is passionate about soil conservation and preservation and is currently farming 100 acres in the Holland Marsh. They use cover crops to control wind and water erosion, prevent soil loss and reduce weed control.​​ This farm also installed de-dirting equipment on their carrot harvester to help improve the system's efficiency and prevent soil from clogging the harvester. A de-dirter is used to knock off excess dirt from the vegetables as soon as they are harvested, allowing the soil to fall back onto the field rather than being taken from the fields. ​​