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Essex Region Conservation Authority Honours Award Winners

ECRA Award winners
ERCA recognized its 2024 Conservation Award winners as part of the 50th annual AGM last Thursday

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) has recognized its annual Conservation Award winners.

Six organizations and individuals were honoured last Thursday night in Essex “for their contributions to creating a sustainable future of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region” as part of ERCA’s 50th annual general meeting.

“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 Jim Morrison, who was acclaimed as ERCA’s Chair.  “We thank them for all of their contributions.”

Morrison returned for a second year in the chair’s position, with LaSalle councillor Sue Desjarlais acclaimed for another term as vice chair.

Amherstburg resident Nancy Roy won the Dennis Chase Staff Award. Roy was recognized for her humour, kindness and dedication.

“What a better way to celebrate the legacy of Dennis Chase?” Roy said of the annual award.

Roy thanked all of her co-workers and said they make each other’s lives better.

Clayton Armstrong and Susan Iatonna were awarded Conservation Farm Award for their commitment to sustainable farming through best management practices that protect soil health, the installation of solar panels toward becoming a net zero operation, and planting hundreds of trees. 

Darlene Marshall won the John R. Park Homestead Award for leading programming and supporting educators (K-12) with infusing Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives across the curriculum with authentic resources and learning opportunities, as the Indigenous Program Lead with the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board.

Ben Margerison captured the Youth Award for his commitment to protecting our local ecosystems as part of the Leamington District Secondary School EcoTeam, taking a lead role in maintaining the school’s pollinator gardens, for recruiting volunteers for ERCA’s tree planting events and for developing and delivering environmental awareness campaigns to better inform his fellow students about environmental issues like climate change and biodiversity loss.

Dr. John Hartig won an Environmental Achievement Award for a career dedicated to improving the health of the Great Lakes and the Detroit River Corridor, including roles as the Detroit River Navigator, Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and his current role as Visiting Scholar at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority won the other Environmental Achievement for numerous environmental sustainability priorities in its construction and through its Community Benefits Plan. 

Essex MP Chris Lewis, a former ERCA board member, thanked current board members for their work.

“As a Conservative, I promise you will have a partnership with us federally,” he said.

Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Trevor Jones also brought greetings, noting he learned a lot during his time on the board. ERCA CAO Tim Byrne thanked his staff for their work, as well as surrounding municipalities for their support.

Byrne urged people to continue to network and to build relationships going forward.

Staff awards went to retiring biologist Dan Lebedyk for his 33 years of service, geomatics technician Tom Dufour (20 years), restoration biologist Kate Arthur (20 years), and supervisor of field operations Bill Tate (15 years). 

By Ron Giofu


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