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Conservation Halton presents 2016 awards to local conservation heroes

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Conservation Halton (CH) held its 34th annual Conservation Halton Awards on Tuesday, November 15 at the Milton Centre for the Arts. The awards are presented to people and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to conservation in the Halton watershed, which includes Halton, Peel, Hamilton and Puslinch.

Every person, group, or school, in the various awards categories are nominated from the community. The 2016 Conservation Halton Award winners are as follows:

  • Citizen - Diane and Jim Miller, Milton
  • Citizen (Youth) - Jack Mogus, Oakville
  • Community - Halton Region, Tremaine Road Wildlife Passage
  • Education - Tom Thomson School, Burlington
  • Stewardship - Italian Canadian Club of Milton

More details about the Conservation Halton award winners and their accomplishments can be found below.

“The Conservation Halton Awards are a night to celebrate the great work being done in conservation by people and organizations in the watershed,” said Conservation Halton Chair John Vice. “This year’s recipients are a diverse group who show once again the different ways people are making a difference by helping to protect or preserve the environment in their community.”

There were 100 guests and dignitaries who attended the awards ceremony. In addition to the award recipients, Watershed Stewards in the Halton Watershed Stewardship Program were recognized.

2016 Conservation Halton Awards Recipients

Citizen Award Diane and Jim Miller

Presented to a citizen who has made a significant effort to improve the natural environment in the Halton watershed.

Diane and Jim have been doing reforestation and protecting a natural environment and watershed on their property to protect the native flora and fauna for 37 years working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Guelph Corrections. The Millers reforested and maintained a 22 acre woodlot on a 27 1/2 acre property which includes environmentally sensitive land, home to rare flora and fauna and a peat moss bog. They have planted 9,000 new trees on 10 acres of the property in 1979, and continued to maintain the rest of the property, which includes white cedar swamp and peat moss bog, without intrusion. Contracts are regularly drawn up in accordance with the Ministry of Natural Resources in order to maintain the natural status of the land.

Citizen (Youth) Award Jack Mogus 

Presented to a youth who has made a significant effort to improve the natural environment in the Halton Watershed.

16 year old Jack Mogus founded a youth-led organization in 2012 ‘Change by YOUth’ which spearheads environmental initiatives through volunteerism, opportunity and leadership. Jack began his volunteer work in 2011 when he helped organize a local shoreline cleanup in Oakville at the age of eleven. Jack’s dedication in helping to keep our waterways clean has now expanded to over 20 shoreline cleanups throughout Oakville serving as Shoreline Cleanup Site Coordinator in at least 18 of those cleanups. In 2014 Jack volunteered as a Forest Health Ambassador with the Town of Oakville where he surveyed trees helping to identify signs and symptoms of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and Gypsy Moth. Jack actively participates in the annual Earth Week Clean Up of Nature Sites in Oakville with the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights (OCCPEHR). Jack served as a volunteer with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Swift Watch bird monitoring program in 2013 and 2014, where he collected valuable data on the number of Chimney Swift birds at three locations in Oakville. Since 2012 Jack has participated in numerous tree planting events with Conservation Halton, Oakvillegreen and at TD Tree Days Tree Planting. Jack’s dedication to the environment, outstanding volunteer efforts and humbleness is truly exemplary to all.

Community Award Tremaine Road Wildlife Passage, Halton Region

Presented to a community organization, institution, municipality, or business that has undertaken a significant conservation action that exemplifies wise conservation.

During the Reconstruction of Tremaine Road from Main Street to Steeles Avenue, the Project team led by Dave Collum of Halton Region incorporated wildlife passage into road design to improve road safety and facilitate wildlife movement across the road corridor in key locations. This included installation of a wildlife culvert, strategically placed fencing for amphibians, sizing drainage culverts to include wildlife passage. By incorporating wildlife movement/passage into the road design, the realigned section of Tremaine Road will handle increased traffic volumes while facilitating wildlife movement, thus mitigating impacts to the existing Natural Heritage System. This is particularly important in this sensitive area along the base of the Niagara Escarpment.

Education Award Tom Thomson Public School 

Presented to an individual, group or school that has promoted a better understanding and appreciation of conservation.

Tom Thomson P.S. is not only an EcoSchool but a Platinum certified school. At the annual Eco-Nights, the entire school was involved with their art work on environmental issues being showcased for parents to see as well as those community partners invited to partake in the Eco-Night Celebration (through information displays). In addition, this art was also on display at the Royal Botanical Gardens and Burlington’s Central Public Library. Tom Thomson students and teachers planted 16 trees and 45 shrubs on school property; held book swaps with over a thousand used books recirculated to other students each time the event was held; clothing drives to send used clothing to a less developed country; freshwater campaigns to provide clean water for villages in less developed countries; challenging other local schools (Clarksdale and Lakeshore public schools) in a weeklong Halton Waste Challenge encouraging students to minimize their waste; and Battery Blitz Campaigns. Last year, a clean up was organized at Spencer Smith Park on April 4 as part of the City of Burlington’s Love My Hood program. Another clean up also took place around the school property and Optimist Park as part of the Burlington Clean Up Green Up events taking place around Earth Day.

Stewardship Award Italian Canadian Club of Milton 

Presented to a landowner who demonstrates stewardship excellence in protecting the natural environment either on their property or on public land.

The Italian Canadian Club of Milton created Milton’s first Monarch Watch certified Monarch Waystation, with 128 square feet of native species pollinator garden, abutting Conservation Halton and Niagara Escarpment land. 30 people were involved with the garden which was established in Spring of 2015 and expanded/certified in 2016. Their work enhanced native species habitat on Niagara corridor. The club held a public planting, as well as education and social events. Other activities by the club include Halton Green Screens film events, and host of Milton Green Drinks.

Halton Watershed Stewardship (HWSP) Program Award Recipients 

The Halton Watershed Stewardship Program award recipients are members of a group of more than 310 landowners voluntarily protecting more than 12,800 acres of land, which includes in excess of 7,800 acres of natural land, and 160 kilometres of stream. It is important to remember that by simply enjoying these natural heritage features as they are, and conserving them for future generations, Watershed Stewards are making a significant contribution to the health of the environment, which leads to a healthy society.

Each year Watershed Stewardship Technicians assist landowners who are looking for advice and recommendations regarding activities they can undertake to restore woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and streams. The following landowners were recognized at this year’s award as Watershed Stewards:

  • Fern Hill School, Burlington
  • Jerry Bloom and Mary Jane Freedman, Campbellville
  • Dave Hulsman and Nicole Sagolili, Burlington
  • Frances Miller and Gord Bingham, Burlington
  • Marion and Peter Pawlik, Flamborough
  • Linda and Dennis Smith, Freelton (Flamborough)

The Conservation Halton Awards were first presented in 1982. For more information, please go to www.conservationhalton.ca/conservationawards.