Recipients of the 2013 Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence
County of Simcoe partnering with five local school boards
Learning and Living Green: 3Rs at school and home
The County of Simcoe partnered with five area school boards to develop and operate the Learning and Living Green program. More than 40,000 students from over 100 schools participated, recycling and collecting organics. The school boards' waste and organics diversion rate increased by an impressive 70 per cent.
For more information visit: www.simcoe.ca/learningandlivinggreen
Regional Municipality of Durham
Curbside collection of household single-use batteries
Durham is the first region in Ontario to launch a curbside battery recycling program. The program collected more batteries in the first week of collection than the region's four hazardous waste drop-off facilities received in a year.
Keeping batteries out of landfills prevents their mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals from contaminating the environment. During the first two collection periods, 39,000 kilograms of batteries were collected.
For more information visit: www.durham.ca
Alderville First Nation Black Oak Savanna
Protecting and enhancing rare ecosystems on Rice Lake Plains
Alderville First Nation naturalized 150 acres of farmland with native species, and are protecting tallgrass prairie and oak savanna ecosystems that are currently more threatened than rainforests. Community members and visitors participated in education workshops, tours, and special events to help protect these rare ecosystems.
The Alderville First Nation are protecting their lands from development, and restoring rare ecosystems that are home to over 20 species at risk and 163 species of birds that use the site for nesting, foraging or as a migrating stop-over.
For more information visit: www.aldervillesavanna.ca
Murray and Wilma Scott
Solving water quality issues on their farm
Murray and Wilma Scott controlled their farm's nutrient and sediment runoff through erosion control berms, new wetlands, and natural channel design. They have also improved the water quality in a nearby municipal drain and Belgrave Creek. They provide tours to encourage other farmers to use the same best management practices. The Scotts manage their woodlot and collect data for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to be used for a case study.
The Scott's environmentally friendly farming practices resulted in the return of brook trout and wildlife such as bobolinks and other species at risk, and captured the interest of other farmers.
For more information visit: www.mvca.on.ca/demos.php
Development and Use of Western University's Energy Dashboard
Western University is conserving energy with their Energy Dashboard. The Dashboard displays green facts about Western's buildings, helps staff identify and mitigate energy peaks, and motivates students, faculty and staff to reduce energy consumption.
The Energy Dashboard reduced electricity, water and steam consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4.3 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
For more information visit: http://energy.uwo.ca
Office furniture manufacturer reduces use of water and toxic chemicals
Teknion, an office furniture manufacturer based in Toronto, uses less toxic chemicals in its cleaning and paint finishing processes by using a new phosphate-free chemical. The company has also reduced its water and energy consumption.
Teknion reduced its water use by 31 per cent. Rinse water, no longer contaminated with phosphorus, can now be recycled and reused. Teknion also reduced their hazardous waste by 50 per cent, their natural gas consumption, and their greenhouse gas emissions by 367 metric tonnes.
For more information visit: www.teknion.ca
Credit Valley Conservation and IMAX Corporation
Leading water innovation at IMAX to protect our Great Lakes
Credit Valley Conservation and IMAX Corporation, along with six local industry leaders (Imbrium, Unlock, Aquafor Beech, Ontario Centre of Excellence, Maxxam and the University of Guelph) partnered to reconstruct a parking lot, making it the first parking lot in Ontario to treat stormwater and prevent pollutants and nutrients from entering Lake Ontario.
This parking lot retrofit reduces stress on municipal stormwater infrastructure and protects drinking water quality. The learnings from this project are being shared with over 600 local professionals.
For more information visit: www.creditvalleyca.ca/source/2012/11/imax-parking-lot-innovation/
Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Ontario
Conservation support to farmers and ranchers
ALUS helps farmers and ranchers improve their crops and livestock while conserving and restoring native habitats. Farmers are rewarded for land management practices that create productive agricultural systems and a healthy countryside.
More than 250 farms are enrolled in the program, participating in 500 projects that cover 1400 acres of farmland. ALUS projects conserve wetlands, retain soils with hedgerows and windbreaks, provide habitat for pollinators and native biodiversity, and increase vegetative cover along streams and rivers.
For more information visit: http://alus.ca
Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association
Stream restoration and enhancement
Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association, a community-based organization, rehabilitates aquatic ecosystems on Manitoulin Island feeding into Lake Huron. The association restores these ecosystems through bioengineered site designs, landowner support, and community engagement.
Restoring streams and riparian habitat, tree and shrub plantings, and installing fencing for livestock have improved water quality, bank stability and aquatic habitat, and brought back brook trout.
For more information visit: www.manitoulinstreams.com
Two honourable mentions:
Summerhill Impact Group
Shuttle Program engages commuters to drive better and drive less
The Shuttle Program challenges commuters to drive better and to drive less. Their innovative program uses an on-board data tracking system, direct feedback to participants, opinion surveys, and incentives. Participants who reduce their gas consumption by 10 per cent were rewarded with gift cards.
Air pollution, greenhouse gases and congestion were reduced, benefiting the health of all Ontarians and reducing the healthcare burden on the province.
For more information visit: www.shuttlechallenge.ca
Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group
Community partnerships removing Phragmites and restoring habitats along Lambton Shores
The Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group is working with cottage owners to remove Phragmites, an invasive reed that is damaging Ontario's wetlands. The group has mapped the occurrence of all invasive Phragmites, developed a control plan, and trained front line staff (municipal, conservation authorities, contractors).
The program reduced Phragmites by 85 - 95 per cent, and increased human and wildlife activity along the shoreline and riverbanks, restored habitat for many species, and improved water quality.
For more information visit: http://greatlakesphragmites.net/project-port-franks-community-phragmites-control-project-2/