Jean WilliamsLast week 28 volunteers were recognized in a ceremony held at Queen’s Park for the Caring Canadian Awards. These awards are given annually to recognize volunteers who have made a significant, sustained and unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.

We are happy to share that Jean Williams was among the list of recipients. Jean has been a valued partner and environmental advocate for 40 years. Her tireless efforts have been critical in the protection, restoration and maintenance of Rattray Marsh. Jean is a true steward in our community through her work as Chair of the Rattray Marsh Protection Association, member of the CVC Foundation Board and dedicated CVC volunteer. She shares a passion for nature and knows the importance of leaving a healthy environment for future generations.

Jean shared her thoughts with us after receiving her award last week:

Earlier today, Governor General David Johnson presented me with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award at a ceremony in Toronto also attended by our Ontario Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell. This was presented to me in recognition of the 40 years I have spent working with the Rattray Marsh Protection Association, Credit Valley Conservation and Conservation Halton. This was a great honour and an award I will respect and treasure. I was lucky enough to have my husband present and also my daughter, Jacqueline, who currently lives in California. We will share our memories of this very special afternoon for a long time.

While I know I am responsible for my own 40 years spent looking after the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area, I am sure that part of this longevity is due to the great people with whom I have been working and the opportunities that have arisen. All the past and present members of the Rattray Marsh Protection Association have been a pleasure to work with, bringing so much expertise, experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to the table. I thank them all and look forward to continuing working with our current members.

Over the many years, the Rattray Marsh Protection Association has been able to develop a very successful working relationship with CVC and its Foundation. Forty years ago Rattray Marsh was a quiet CVC asset that the volunteers used to take care of with trail maintenance annual clean-ups, retrieval of the “bridge” that would float away each spring, interpretive walks and the like. Today Rattray Marsh is very different. It enjoys the most visitors of all CVC’s conservation areas, has the Waterfront Trail passing through it, significant boardwalk trails, a great restoration project in process and, unfortunately, a battle with the Emerald Ash Borer. All this means we now have the pleasure of meeting and working with many different CVC employees all of whom are great ambassadors for CVC. We enjoy partnering with them and are very happy to see their hands-on involvement in ensuring the original vision of those who fought so hard to get the Rattray Marsh into public ownership to protect and preserve it for future generations continues.

In conclusion I say a big “thank you” to CVC for nominating me for this award but even more so for providing me with this great positive environment in which to devote 40 years to taking care of Rattray Marsh. This natural area is so important, not just for local residents but also as a contributor to the health of the Great Lakes system.

– Jean

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