Essex Region Conservation Honours Award Winners

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Essex Region – Eight organizations and individuals were honoured with Essex Region Conservation Awards for their efforts in making the Windsor/Essex/Pelee Island region the Place for Life.

“It’s very inspiring to have the opportunity to celebrate so many organizations and individuals who have made an incredible impact on the environment,” said Tania Jobin, who was elected as ERCA’s Chair. “Following the worldwide challenges faced in the past year, it is a pleasure to honour and recognize those who are making a difference to our local environment. This pandemic has demonstrated while there is much we can live without, our need for nature is paramount.”

Winners included:

Don Waffle – John R. Park Homestead Award to long-time Homestead volunteer and Past Chair of the Homestead Advisory Committee. As an accomplished artist, Don also has used his talents to preserve and promote the human and natural history of the Essex Region.

Emily Browne – Youth Award to this University of Windsor Environmental Science student, Youth Environment Ambassador, and How-To-Crew member, who helps to ensure  the quality of community restoration projects across the region.   

Xander Campbell – Volunteer Award for volunteering since age 12 to protect habitats and wildlife at Point Pelee, Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, and as an ERCA How-To-Crew Member.  Volunteers to lead nature hikes for youth to engage them in environmental restoration, and removes trash and recyclables from Conservation Areas in his spare time.

Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre (FREC) – Education Award for ground-breaking research while engaging the public in Great Lakes biodiversity education. It aims to better understand key stressors and threats to our freshwater biodiversity like climate change, habitat alteration, and urbanization, and engages an integrated team of high school student volunteers, undergraduate and graduate students, youth and elders from Walpole Island First Nation, and the public in this educational work.

Dr. Ken Drouillard – Environmental Achievement as a professor with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research who trains the next generation of aquatic biologists. His expertise is used to assess Great Lakes water and sediment quality, inform beneficial use impairments to the Detroit River, and bridge the science-to-practice gap to ensure our food and water are safer. Current research includes tracking COVID-19 in wastewater, and researching the best practices for reusable masks to keep healthcare workers safe.

Essex Power Corporation – Environmental Achievement for reducing its carbon footprint and offering solutions for a low carbon future. A successful energy conservation endeavor through the Independent Electricity System Operator’s Conservation First Framework. EPC exceeded its 6-year conservation target, achieving 119% almost 2 years ahead of the program end date. It has increased its fleet of solar photovoltaic (PV) assets and infrastructure in Windsor-Essex and across the province, and encouraged customers to switch to paperless billing, saving approximately 340,000 pieces of paper, and reducing the cradle-to-grave emissions by nearly 14 tonnes.

County of Essex – Robert Pulleyblank Award for Municipal Environmental Achievement for its leadership in adopting a Climate Emergency declaration and initiating the Essex County Regional Energy Plan to help to meet the community’s climate priorities and strengthen the local economy. The County has promoted healthy lifestyles by constructing more than 415 km of active transportation corridors through the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS), addressing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The County has also taken strong action on climate adaptation through initiating a floodplain mapping prioritization study to protect residents and ensure safe, responsible, and sustainable development practices.

Bevin Martin – Dennis Chase Staff Award for his dedication to the region’s sustainability in a  manner that is conscientious, hard-working, thoughtful and compassionate to his colleagues, guests and the environment.  As a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, Bevin shares information and trains colleagues with patience and kindness, and readily greets all visitors to our conservation areas.

Since 1973, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.

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