Read our Six-Part Weekly Series Highlighting the 2023 Conservation Award Recipients
Part Three: Environmental Awareness Award Winners
This week in our Conservation Matters: Award-Winning Work in the Credit River Watershed series, we’re highlighting our Environmental Awareness Award winners. This award is issued to those who connect communities with nature through education and outreach to promote environmental awareness, appreciation and action.
First Environmental Awareness Award Recipient
Our first award recipient was Mary Kate Whibbs for her dedication to education and inspiring communities about the importance of a healthy environment. She fosters a deeper appreciation of water resources through direct, hands-on learning for students and has facilitated over $60,000 in grants to help create rain gardens on school grounds with CVC and Toronto Zoo’s Blue School Programs.
Mary Kate’s efforts are significant because rain gardens slow down, soak up and filter rainwater coming from nearby rooftops, driveways and parking lots before it flows into the stormwater system. Rain gardens help us adapt to a changing climate by reducing pressure on municipal stormwater systems while also adding beauty to school grounds and providing students and teachers a hands-on learning tool within an outdoor classroom.
Second Environmental Awareness Award Recipient
Our second recipient of the Environmental Awareness Award was Janette Roy, for her leadership as a classroom teacher and Eco-Lead at St. James Catholic Global Learning Centre in Mississauga. She fosters an environmental connection with students and started many initiatives to protect and connect the Credit River Watershed.
Janette has achieved Platinum Eco-Schools certification for her school and has taken the lead on working with the school board to encourage environmental learning, appreciation and action. Her actions are shaping school culture and contributing to strong environmental practices that students and teachers can actively participate in to help protect nature.
Third Environmental Awareness Award Recipients
Brook Schryer and Matthew Robbins, received their award on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for spreading awareness of the Invading Species Awareness Program, particular through events hosted with CVC. The Invading Species Awareness Program has educated the public about aquatic invasive species and the new provincial rules about cleaning watercrafts and equipment, preventing the spread of aquatic invasives.
This work is highly important as invasive species pose the greatest threat to biodiversity in the Credit River Watershed. Through their work, they are inspiring on-the-ground action to help stop the spread of invasive species.
Fourth Environmental Awareness Award Recipient
Our next Environmental Awareness Award recipient was Derek Stone, for his leadership at The Riverwood Conservancy through stewardship activities supporting a healthy watershed. In 2022 Derek led 211 public nature programs with 8,000 participants. Derek helped people connect with nature by overseeing 135 stewardship programs and 1,150 volunteers.
Derek excels at connecting with people and inspiring actions through his passion and energy for environmental care. He uses his leadership skills to coach staff and volunteers on how to educate the public of their role in keeping the watershed healthy.
Final Environmental Awareness Award Recipients
Our final recipients were Pam Sheldon and Sean James, for their dedication to leading environmental action at St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church in Acton. They volunteered their time to help the church adopt an action plan that included retrofitting the property with sustainable landscaping through the Greening for God committee.
The project included a double rain garden with over 300 plants, an artisan library and bench. Pam and Sean brought the project to life to improve the biodiversity and health of the property. They built a functioning garden with education weaved throughout it, inspiring the community to take those ideas back to their properties.
Check back next week for our fourth installment of this series, highlighting our Landowner Stewardship and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award winners.
Nominations Now Open!
We are accepting nominations for this year’s conservation awards. Submission deadline is Feb 20, 2024. Learn more about Our Conservation Awards program or nominate someone today!