Local conservationists win provincial awards
Margaret Prophet, Kate Harries and Sandy Agnew at the Ontario Nature AGM -Noah Cole photo
News release from the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and AWARE Simcoe
Ontario Nature has awarded their Steve Hounsell Greenway Award to Sandy Agnew, Chair and Margaret Prophet, Executive Director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition (SCGC).
The pair were honoured to accept the recognition on behalf of the coalition and the work that it does to promote a vision for Simcoe County that preserves its water, green spaces and nature while promoting a strong economy and healthy communities.
AWARE Simcoe board member Kate Harries received the Carl Nunn Media and Conservation award, which is presented to an individual, team or media outlet who has engaged in effective communication on one or more conservation issues.
The Greenway Award is presented to those who are contributing to Ontario Nature’s Greenway vision – a connected landscape made livable through the protection, restoration and enhancement of its biodiversity and natural features. Like SCGC, Ontario Nature believes that working on such vision will result in:
- Healthier wildlife populations and habitats
- Cleaner water and healthier water systems
- Greater ability to respond to drought, flooding, extreme weather events and other anticipated impacts of climate change
- Improved human health
- Enhanced recreational opportunities
To Prophet, working for this type of vision is not only purpose filled, but necessary.
“I have children that I would like to inherit clean lakes to swim in, forests they can explore and a liveable climate. Much of that is at risk currently, so the push to do more is constant. You never feel like you’re giving enough even when you’ve put in late nights and early mornings.
“The thought that we could do something important here in Simcoe by permanently protecting our forests, shorelines and nature from unnecessary destruction keeps me going. Imagining future generations being able to live in that legacy inspires and encourages me. This award reminds me that our work is important to those even outside of Simcoe County and it must continue.”
Agnew, as a lifelong member of Ontario Nature, is also extremely honoured to receive this award from a group as illustrious as Ontario Nature.
“We started this coalition as an alternative vision to what was on offer around the county – more pavement, fewer green spaces and higher municipal debts. SCGC believes that protecting nature permanently works in hand with building a strong economy. Ontario Nature has been at the forefront of protecting nature since 1931 so having them recognize our vision and effort shows that we are on the right track.”
Elmvale resident Kate Harries is webmaster for the AWARE website where she writes a blog and contributes articles. She is an active member and past president of the Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club and a board member of the MTM Conservation Association. She also has a native plant nursery and blogs about plants and gardens at returnofthenative.ca.
“I’m thrilled to be recognized by an organization as large and influential as Ontario Nature,” Harries said. “The award is recognition of the efforts of all our members who are active across Simcoe County, and I’m privileged to be working to share their information and perspectives.”
Ontario Nature is a conservation organization that protects wild species and spaces through conservation, education and public engagement and is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and more than 150 member groups from across Ontario.
The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is a diverse coalition of 35 organizations from across Simcoe County and the province calling on local and provincial leaders to better protect our water resources, green spaces and farmland through smart growth and sustainable policies including expansion of the Greenbelt into Simcoe County.
AWARE Simcoe is a citizens’ group that works to protect water, the environment and health through transparency and accountability in government.