Essex Region Conservation Foundation Annual General Meeting Celebrates 40 Years of Conservation Success

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Essex Region Conservation Foundation celebrated their 40th Annual General Meeting with an overview of four decades of enriching our region as the Place for Life.

“Since 1977, thanks to you – our supporters and partners – we have accomplished so much,” said Susan Stockwell Andrews, President of the Foundation.  “The legacy that we have collectively created for this region is truly something we should all be proud of and celebrate.  Over the past 40 years, we have created  over 80 kilometers of connected greenways, supported the planting of more than 6 million trees, protected some of the precious and vulnerable tracts of our region’s natural heritage, and have helped more than 350,000 young people connect with nature through conservation education.”

Highlights from 2017 were presented, including the launch of the Foundation’s Place for Life fundraising campaign, the opening of the Cypher Systems Group Greenway and the creation of the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub.  In 2017, the Foundation raised over $900,000 in support of conservation initiatives across the region.

The Reid family was recognized with the 2017 Clifford Hatch Award for Outstanding Individual Contributions.  In 2008, they established the David & Margaret Reid Nature Fund, dedicated to wildlife, habitat preservation and restoration in the Harrow area, while promoting environmental stewardship with the youth of our community. A $50,000 donation was made to the Foundation to establish this donor advised fund.

Over the course of a decade, this contribution supported a number of community plantings at schools in Harrow, the creation of the Harrow Rain Garden and several wetlands. In 2017, in conjunction with the Place for Life campaign, the Reids announced that $15,000 from this fund would be used over the next three years to ensure that the young people of our region are provided with opportunities to connect with nature through ERCA’s Outdoor Education program.

“Connecting young people to nature and the outdoors is one of the greatest challenges of our times,” said Richard Wyma, Executive Director.  “The importance of ensuring our young people connect with nature through outdoor education cannot be overstated.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation was presented the Essex Region Conservation Foundation Award for Outstanding Corporate Contribution, in recognition of its longstanding partner in helping to make our region the Place for Life.

“Like us, the Ontario Trillium Foundation cares about healthy and vibrant communities, and has created significant opportunities for positive community change,” said Richard Wyma, Executive Director.  “In 2017, our region was fortunate to receive a contribution of $250,000 through its Ontario 150 Fund. This investment allowed the entire 50-plus kilometres of the Chrysler Canada Greenway to be resurfaced. This project significantly improves accessibility for trail users; fosters active people; supports a healthy and sustainable environment and connects people by building inclusive and engaged communities.”

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