The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Durham Region recognizes local environmental achievement

WHITBY, ON May 13, 2016

The Durham Environmental Advisory Committee’s (DEAC) prestigious 2016 Environmental Achievement Awards were handed out last night, during a special ceremony at The Regional Municipality of Durham Headquarters in Whitby.

Established in 2003, the award categories—named in memory of past environmental leaders—recognize and acknowledge environmental achievements of individuals and organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors within Durham Region. The program is intended to recognize efforts to promote, preserve and enhance the local environment.

The George A. Scott Stewardship Award for the maintenance, protection or preservation of the natural environment, was presented to the Town of Ajax, for their innovative three-year program, “Protect Our Pollinators.” The Town brought together local suppliers, local community groups and businesses, the public, different levels of government and various funding sources for the project, which was organized as a partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and local stakeholders. Funding was provided by the Ontario Trillium Fund (OTF), along with TRCA’s OTF Fund, and the Town’s operating and capital budget. The outcome was the installation of three demonstration pollinator gardens.

The Dr. J. Murray Speirs Restoration Award for the restoration of degraded natural environments was presented to Canadian National Railway (CN) for a reforestation initiative in Durham Region on the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt. CN partnered with Tree Canada and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) as a part of their corporate commitment to reduce their environmental footprint. The project focused on two tracts of land owned and managed by CLOCA; the Sanderson and Carruthers Tracts. These two properties represented 30 ha (74 acres) of regenerating agriculture fields. CN partnered with CLOCA to have 44,000 native conifer trees planted in 2015 and provided the resources to host an Earth Day Tree planting with the Enniskillen Scouts and their families.

The Irene Kock Education/Communication Award for fostering effective communications, sharing knowledge or exhibiting leadership in helping others to learn about the natural environment was presented to the Uxbridge Youth Centre (UYC) and the Uxbridge Watershed Advisory Committee (UWAC) for The Brook Never Sleeps, a hands-on educational event for youth aged 10 and over. This introduces young people to the nature and ecology of their local creek, Uxbridge Brook. This free event has been run annually during March Break. Through a combination of indoor and outdoor activities, conservation experts have shared their knowledge and experience with hundreds of participants since the program began in 2011.

The Eric Krause Innovative Plans/Policies/Initiatives Award for forward-thinking efforts to encourage positive change, with respect to the natural environment, was presented to Durham College Centre for Food for its commitment to conserve energy and protect and improve the environment. The Centre for Food is a 35,000 square-foot living laboratory designed to train a new generation of skilled professionals and inspire health and well-being in the community with its “field-to-fork” philosophy. The Centre was designed and built following the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an internationally accepted benchmark for the design and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The Jessica Markland Partnership Award for co-operative efforts to enhance the environment involving public, community and private interests, was presented to Marlaine Koehler, for her work with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust that resulted in the completion of three kilometers of Waterfront Trail through the Lynde Shores Conservation Area. The completed trail connects the Town of Ajax and Town of Whitby, and with the pending Victoria Street reconstruction and trail by the Region of Durham, will complete this “missing link” of the Waterfront Trail system. Marlaine has spent the past 20 years developing and leading the innovative partnership to regenerate the Great Lakes waterfront through the creation of the 1,600 km Waterfront Trail.

The Evylin Stroud Lifetime Achievement Award for the continued promotion of protecting the environment, through small, but meaningful ways, was presented to Gail Lawlor, for her contributions to the environment, specifically within her community as the leader of South Rosebank Good Neighbours (SoRo). Since 2013, the SoRo Good Neighbours team of 45 families has organized a variety of sustainable initiatives. Gail has also organized and supported the Eco-Teams at Rosebank Public School and Dunbarton High School. Her volunteer experiences includes: the Recycling Council of Ontario; the Ontario Waterworks Association; and she is a founding member of Durham Environmental Network and Durham Conservation Centre.

For more information on the awards program, visit the Region’s website at

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