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Ontario Nature honours provincial conservation heroes

Monday, June 11th 2007 11:38:22am

Ontario Nature honours provincial conservation heroes

Thunder Bay, Elliot Lake and Orillia residents, as well as Windsor hospital, recognized for leadership in conservation and nature protection

(Peterborough, June 11, 2007) – This weekend, Ontario Nature acknowledged the contributions of three individuals and one hospital for their efforts to protect nature and habitat through program development, education and leadership.

Several hundred naturalists from across Ontario gathered in Peterborough for a weekend of workshops, educational seminars and an event to honour environmental heroes from across Ontario.

The 2006 Ontario Nature Conservation Awards were presented during the Friday evening session of the 76th Annual General Meeting and Conference at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

This year’s winners are:

• Robert L. Bowles of Orillia, Ontario who, for over 30 years has dedicated himself to compiling and publishing data about the natural world. He has consistently proven his commitment to nature conservation by volunteering with numerous organizations and is a founding member of the Muskoka Field Naturalists. As such, the 2006 W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award, which recognizes outstanding personal service for nature conservation, was given to Mr. Bowles.

• Dr. Nicholas G. Escott of Thunder Bay, Ontario, who has undertaken bird research and advanced the knowledge of birding over the last 25 years. For his efforts, the W.E. Saunders Natural History Award was given to him for achieving a natural history or a natural science research goal.

• Terry Carr of Elliot Lake, Ontario who has shared his love of nature with members of the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists and Sherriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary visitors since becoming President in 1999. His passion for sharing his knowledge and teaching others about nature and conservation has earned him the Richards Education Award.  The award recognizes success in helping people to understand and become supporters of nature and conservation throughout the community or province.

• Windsor Regional Hospital, which has strived to become a green hospital by improving its recycling rates, reducing mercury use and by hosting Greening Health Care Days in March, 2007. As a provincial leader in providing green healthcare through the use of unique programs, the 2006 Ontario Nature Corporate Award was given to Windsor Regional Hospital.

Rosemary Speirs, President of Ontario Nature, was on hand to present the awards. She said this year’s selection process proved particularly difficult.

“Determining the winners was a challenge because the quality of nominees. Each has done some excellent and important work in the field of nature conservation. I congratulate the winners and thank the hundreds of others nominees for the contribution they make each day as they continue to protect and conserve nature in Ontario.”

Ontario Nature board members also took advantage of the weekend to debate, consider and pass various resolutions concerning nature and wildlife.

Some resolution highlights include:

• Recognizing the inadequate capacity of the Ministry of Natural Resources to fulfill its mandate, Ontario Nature urges the Provincial Government to immediately restore funding so that sufficient staff may be hired to monitor wildlife populations, manage forests and enforce laws.

• An important migratory bird route for millions of birds each year in Southern Ontario (particularly the GTA).  With millions of lights emitting unnecessary light pollution into the sky, countless numbers of birds are killed when they become disorientated and fly into buildings. Consequently, Ontario Nature insists that the Ontario Government bring forth new legislation and programs to reduce light pollution and commit to energy conservation. Changes to the Ontario Building Code, which would require light replacements, light retrofits and automated systems to turn off lights are all suggested.

• Protecting Ontario’s northern boreal forest, which represents the largest expanse of boreal forest left on the planet.  Much of it is currently occupied by mineral exploration, forestry and hydroelectric projects. Ontario Nature asks that the Ontario Government institute a comprehensive land use process for the region that balances the needs of First Nations, industrial development, endangered species and protected areas.

[Contact Leslie Marshall for a complete list or resolutions and the full text.]

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For more information on the recipients, to arrange an interview, or for photosplease contact:

Lesley Marshall, Director of Development and Communications, Ontario Nature
(416) 444-8419 ext. 236, cell: (416) 995-9850, lesleym(a)ontarionature.org  

Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, (416) 972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com

Ontario Nature is a not-for profit that works to protect and restore natural habitats through research, education and conservation. It connects thousands of individuals and communities with nature through various conservation groups across the province (charitable registration # 10737 8592 RR0001). For more information, visit www.ontarionature.org.

On Friday, June 8, 2007, Ontario Nature presented the 2006 Conservation Awards at Trent University in Peterborough during its 76th Annual General Meeting and Conference (Please see photo release section) )

Pictured from left to right:

1. Eric M. Card, Director, Engineering and Telecommunication, Windsor Regional Hospital with the Corporate Award for leadership in environmental policies and actions.

2. Terry Carr, volunteer with the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists (Elliot Lake), with the Richards Education Award for his success in helping people understand the natural world and environmental protection.

3. Dr. Myra McCormick on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Escott, of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists with the W.E. Saunders Natural History Award for contributions to natural science research, natural history development and leadership in local conservation.

4. Robert Bowles of Orillia, Ontario with the W.W.H. Gunn Conservation Award for his professional and volunteer work in the field of nature conservation and education.

For more information on the recipients, to arrange an interview or for photos, please contact:

Lesley Marshall, Director of Development and Communications, Ontario Nature (416) 444-8419 ext. 236,
cell: (416) 995-9850, lesleym(a)ontarionature.org  

Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, (416) 972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com