Meet Some of Our Watershed Champions

Six people standing, posing for a photo.

Celebrating Hard Work

On June 15 we held our annual Conservation Awards at Cambium Farms in Caledon. These awards recognized 20 community and business leaders as environmental champions who have made significant impacts on the conservation and health of our watershed. 

The Landowner Stewardship category recognizes landowners implementing restoration projects that increase natural cover and improve habitat on private lands. This year we had two winners in that category: Gary and Debbie Mountain of Caledon, and Birha and Sohail Farooqi of Erin.

The Mountains

Two people and a dog standing outside in the snow for a photo.
Gary and Debbie Mountain in their field.

The Mountain family has been stewards of their land for almost 200 years and take their role seriously, carefully considering past land management decisions when determining the best options for the future. With a goal to heal and protect the land, they’ve made changes to improve soil health, protect water quality, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and improve habitat.

They’ve accomplished this by planting cover crops, retiring sensitive farmland, planting more than 2,000 trees and shrubs, and establishing plant growth along 1.2 kilometres of stream area. They’ve also completed six Agricultural Best Management Practices projects and are among the first farmers participating in the ALUS Peel Pilot, a project which recognizes farmers as producers of ecological services that benefit everyone.

The Farooqis

Two people posing for a photo.
Sohail and Birha Farooqi holding their Conservation Award.

The Farooqis family were new to their property in 2021. After completing an Action Plan with CVC’s Landowner Engagement and Stewardship team, they set out to improve the health of their land and water for their family and community. In two short years, they’ve improved habitat, increased natural cover and mitigated climate change impacts by planting 1,250 trees, infilling almost a hectare gap in the forest and completing a Forest Management Plan to protect their woodland for the next 10 years. 

Both the Mountains and the Farooqis demonstrate leadership and inspire social change through their actions. They’ve shown us that it doesn’t have to take a long time to make meaningful change. 

Visit our website for the full list of Conservation Award winners.

To learn what you can do for your rural property, connect with a Stewardship coordinator today.

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