Couchiching Conservancy one of 22 finalists for museum’s Nature Inspiration Awards

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Couchiching Conservancy is one of 22 finalists for the Canadian Museum of Nature’s 2019 Nature Inspiration Awards.

Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences will announce the winners at a gala on Nov. 13 in Ottawa.

It’s the sixth year for these national awards that celebrate projects by individuals, groups and organizations whose leadership and innovation connect Canadians with the natural world. Awards recognize individuals, not-for-profits and businesses.

“To be listed as a finalist for the Museum of Nature ‘Nature Inspiration Awards 2019’ is a validation of all the work that has been done by staff, volunteers, members and supporters of the Couchiching Conservancy over the last 25 years,” said Jamie Ross, board president.

“It is also a great honour. We are inspired by this recognition of our efforts to protect important habitats. Thank you to the members who nominated the Conservancy.”

The finalists’ projects address topics including environmental education, sustainable food production and food rescue, climate change awareness, and biodiversity conservation.

The awards honour youth who advocate for environmental responsibility and sustainable living, as well as adults who are scientists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and writers.

Businesses and not-for-profits organizations show leadership in sustainable energy practices and operations, alternative energy production, biodiversity stewardship, community outreach, food security and more.

The shortlist for the 2019 awards include: youth, individuals, not-for-profits, and businesses.

“As in past years, this year’s finalists inspire us through their actions. They show the diverse ways in which people and organizations can lead the way to support a sustainable future,” said Meg Beckel, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature and Chair/ex-officio member of the selection jury.

“We are pleased to recognize their efforts, and we look forward to sharing their achievements through these national awards.”

Organizations nominated in the Not-For-Profit category (small/medium organization) are:

  • Quebec Mining Association, sustainable mining program, Quebec City, Quebec
  • Ecoschools Canada, environmental learning programs, Toronto
  • The Couchiching Conservancy, land stewardship, Orillia
  • Trans Canada Trail, national trail network, Montreal, Quebec
  • Zooshare Biogas Co-operative, Toronto, Ontario

Zooshare Biogas

Located at the Toronto Zoo, the ZooShare facility will convert zoo manure and commercial organic waste into fertilizer and energy to power 500 homes.

It will divert 30,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfills each year, resulting in a 60,000-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars off the road.

Tom Longboat Rain Garden and Pollinator Habitat

Canadian furniture maker Calstone stepped outside its manufacturing space to help students learn about nature and make a difference in their community, working with students at the Tom Longboat School in Scarborough and the local school board to turn barren land into a pollinator garden and education centre.

The garden’s 2,300 species of trees and plants attract pollinators, including the monarch butterfly. Calstone also worked with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and schools to engage industry, city government and schools.

This project is the pilot of The Meadoway, an initiative to re-green part of Toronto into the largest urban park.

Ontario Power Generation – Biodiversity-conservation program

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) protects and maintains ecological areas under its control through a stewardship program for 31 priority natural areas.

It reviews activities that affect these areas then acts to retain what is ecologically significant, restore degraded habitats, replace lost habitats where feasible and recover species at risk.

OPG is investing in new technologies such as drones for aerial surveys and an electronic tracking system from Bird Studies Canada to monitor wildlife. Specific projects, such as a pollinator garden at the Darlington Energy Centre, are developed in partnership with local schools and nature clubs.

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