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Environmental Excellence Awards

Otonabee Conservation presents its Environmental Excellence Awards at our Annual General Meeting. The presentation describes the actions/ projects that inspired the nomination. The award includes a framed nature photo with plaque.

The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize outstanding people and groups within our watershed. The awards celebrate actions and projects that:

  • Protect and promote a healthy watershed
  • Demonstrate the environmental work done by people and organizations
  • Show leadership in environmental excellence in the community
  • Inspires people to take environmental action

The categories below allow us to highlight a wide range of projects in the community.

Individual Conservationist Award

Recognizing outstanding people who have undertaken projects, demonstrated leadership, and inspired others to create a healthier watershed.


Photo: Otonabee Conservation CAO, Janette Loveys Smith, award winner, Cathy Dueck and Board of Directors Chair, Michael Metcalf

Awarded to: Cathy Dueck

Cathy Dueck has a long history as a local champion and advocate for nature and the environment. Cathy has contributed to the naturalization of many parks and greenspaces, and the establishment of Peterborough Ecology Park.

Most recently, as the coordinator of the Pathway to Stewardship Project, Cathy worked to develop resources and opportunities to help families, students, and community members get outside and enjoy nature.

In all her roles, Cathy has worked with Otonabee Conservation, resulting in many partnership projects and funding applications. Cathy has always generously shared her expertise with Otonabee Conservation and the community. She has inspired many people to get outside through her enthusiasm and involvement in education and stewardship activities, which not only supports Otonabee Conservation’s corporate goals, but also creates a healthier watershed for wildlife and for the people who live here.

Environmental Stewardship Award

Recognizing community or organized groups that have successfully undertaken projects that contribute to a healthier watershed. Groups are volunteer-based, and include multiple individuals who are not paid for their efforts; the groups may or may not be incorporated.


Photo: Jess Conlin from Peterborough Humane Society (PHS), Board of Directors Vice Chair, Kevin Duguay, Shawn Morey (PHS), and Otonabee Conservation CAO, Janette Loveys Smith

Peterborough Humane Society (PHS) has worked with Otonabee Conservation’s Plan Review & Permitting Services staff to facilitate the construction of their new Animal Care Centre building, while protecting the environment. PHS also connected with Watershed Management staff for assistance to secure funding in support of their landscaping plan, which included planting native species and opportunities to engage students and community groups in planting and naturalization activities.

In total over the past three years, 4 planting events have been held at the new Animal Care Centre location, engaging 412 volunteers who have planted 868 native trees and shrubs on site.

Peterborough Humane Society has demonstrated their commitment to the planning and permitting process to support a healthy environment by including native species and working with Otonabee Conservation to plant trees and shrubs around their new facility.

Conservation Partnership Award

Recognizing an individual municipal employee having made a significant, positive contribution to furthering the objectives of Otonabee Conservation in one or more areas of the Authority’s operations.


Photo:  Board oDirectors Member, Gary Baldwin, award winner, Brad Appleby, and Otonabee Conservation CAO, Janette Loveys Smith

Awarded to: Brad Appleby, City of Peterborough

Brad Appleby is the City of Peterborough Director of Planning, Development, and Urban Design.

Brad’s team works closely with Otonabee Conservation staff to review applications under the Planning Act and to guide development away from natural hazards such as floodplains.

Brad has also been a champion for monitoring projects conducted by Otonabee Conservation, within the City of Peterborough, which are designed to investigate impacts to water quality and local ecology alongside new development within the City.

Brad has also taken on responsibilities related to the Drinking Water Source Protection Program, providing leadership to City staff, and engaging with Otonabee Conservation to ensure that the City is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and the Trent Source Protection Plan.

Business Award

Recognizing a business that has made a significant contribution(s) to projects or programs at Otonabee Conservation, advancing our vision of a healthy watershed. The businesses have employees who are paid for their efforts.


Photo: Otonabee Conservation CAO, Janette Loveys Smith, award winner, Conor Maloney from Nefab, and Board of Directors Member, Ryan Huntley

Awarded to: Nefab Canada - Peterborough

Nefab Canada is a global manufacturing company that optimizes supply chains to save financial and environmental resources. They focus on innovation and creating smart packaging and logistical solutions for industry. Nefab works with their clients to save resources and reduce CO2 emissions and costs for businesses.

Nefab has planted trees with Otonabee Conservation for the past three years. In total, 50 Nefab employees have planted 1,023 native trees and shrubs at three properties in the Otonabee Region watershed.

While Nefab has been supporting sustainability on the ground in our watershed, they are also progressing with the latest trends, solutions, and best practices in sustainable supply chain management and discovering smarter ways to reduce environmental impact and boost cost efficiency for their clients.

Past Award Recipients

2023 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Since Fall 2020, Robert Crowley has partnered with Otonabee Conservation to plant 4,500 trees on the family farm in Otonabee-South Monaghan Township!

Robert has contributed countless amounts of time, provided equipment for preparation of site before planting, provided funding, assisted with planting of trees, engaged friends and family in the planting process, and collaborated with Otonabee Conservation staff to assess the ongoing survival and health of trees.

These efforts make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change impacts. A tree sequesters around 220-225 kg of Carbon in its lifetime. The 4,500 trees planted on the Crowley family farm will sequester over 1 million kg of carbon over their lifespan of about 80 years.

While mitigating the effects of climate change, these trees also enhance habitat, and increase biodiversity.

Robert has also provided opportunities for students and volunteers to visit his family farm to assist with the tree planting activities, enabling participants to engage in real opportunities to work on the landscape and enhance the local environment.

We are pleased to present the Crowley Family with the Environmental Excellence Conservationist Award for their demonstrated commitment to enhancing the health of the Otonabee Region watershed and setting an amazing example for current and future generations.

In all her roles, Cathy has worked with Otonabee Conservation, resulting in many partnership projects and funding applications. Cathy has always generously shared her expertise with Otonabee Conservation and the community. She has inspired many people to get outside through her enthusiasm and involvement in education and stewardship activities, which not only supports Otonabee Conservation’s corporate goals, but also creates a healthier watershed for wildlife and for the people who live here.

Members of the Curve Lake First Nation Cultural Centre have collaborated with Otonabee Conservation on several signage projects to coordinate translations by Elders and community members from Curve Lake First Nation so that the Ojibway language can be included on a variety of signs at several sites throughout the Otonabee Region watershed and at Curve Lake First Nation.

Ojibway and English languages are now included on signs for the Drinking Water Source Protection Program, Mikinaak (pronounced Mick-in-ack) or Turtle Crossing Signs to help encourage drivers to watch for, avoid, and help turtles to cross the roads during nesting season, and most recently on signs along the Jackson Creek Trail.

Translations on the Jackson Creek Trail signs include species names for birds, trees and wildlife.

Future projects are being planned to add an audio component to these educational signs via QR Code linkages so visitors to the Jackson Creek Trail can see and hear the Ojibway language while out along the trail.

Recently, Curve Lake First Nation Chief Keith Knott spoke at the Jackson Creek Trail Re-opening event referring to Otonabee Conservation and Curve Lake First Nation as neighbours and recognizing that neighbours help each other and work together.

The Curve Lake First Nation Cultural Centre has been a wonderful and gracious neighbour, sharing their knowledge, their language, and assisting Otonabee Conservation staff with matters related to local traditions and protocols as a starting point to establishing respectful, positive relations between neighbours.

We are honoured to celebrate our shared projects with our neighbours.

Please join me in congratulating Anne Taylor, Tracey Taylor, Eliza Braden-Taylor, and Jack Hoggarth from the Curve Lake First Nation Cultural Centre with the Environmental Excellence Conservation Partnership Award.

Manager of Facilities and Planning Initiatives at City of Peterborough accepts the Conservation Partnership Award.

Otonabee Conservation has recently worked with Gillian on several projects that have enhanced habitat, increased biodiversity, showcased sustainable practices, and helped to mitigate climate change.

Gillian was supportive of the partnership between Otonabee Conservation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Brock Mission to include the planting of over 300 native trees and shrubs on the site of the new shelter to offer a safe outdoor space for residents and increase greenspace in the City of Peterborough.

Gillian has been deeply involved in the upgrades at the Beavermead Campground, which is owned by City of Peterborough and operated by Otonabee Conservation.

Recently at Beavermead Campground, Gillian managed two construction projects: a new fully accessible comfort station and sustainability built mass timber gatehouse, which is a natural, renewable and sustainable building material providing a low carbon footprint and aligning with the City’s climate action plan.

Gillian was always considerate to include Otonabee Conservation staff feedback and requirements into the design and construction of these projects and involved staff as part of the project team during the infrastructure projects.

After the gatehouse construction completion, Gillian reached out to collaborate with Otonabee Conservation to facilitate the use of native plants for landscaping around the new building.  The project was completed in October 2022 and included the installation of a rain garden and a native plant garden at the Beavermead Gatehouse. The designs for both gardens were created by Otonabee Conservation with support from GreenUP and installed with the help of students from the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board Youth Leadership and Sustainability Program. 

Gillian was supportive of incorporating techniques to capture runoff by building the rain garden, which was designed to capture runoff from the roof of the new gatehouse, which is then temporarily stored in the garden during a storm event and slowly drains away reducing flooding, filtering pollutants, and channelling runoff into the ground.

This garden is now a demonstration site at the campground for an average of over 17,000 campers who visit each season, to showcase sustainable landscaping techniques and to enhance habitat with over 100 native trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers that also increase biodiversity in the City of Peterborough.

The Beavermead Gatehouse Garden Project also enabled students from the local Youth Leadership and Sustainability class to assist, providing hands-on learning opportunities for students.

Gillian Barnes has managed projects in partnership with Otonabee Conservation that clearly facilitate and demonstrate the City of Peterborough’s commitment to enhance local sustainability and support community efforts to adopt sustainable practices.

We look forward to continued collaborations that will support the shared mission of conserving, protecting, and enhancing a healthy, natural environment in the Otonabee Region watershed.

D.M. Wills Associates Limited is a multi-discipline firm, offering civil, structural and water resources engineering, along with land use planning and environmental services in Peterborough and across Ontario.

Outside of their professional services, D.M. Wills is active in the community and has sponsored many local events including Otonabee Conservation’s Discovery Days event in 2019 to encourage the public to learn about heritage, nature, and the outdoors.

For 15 years, under the leadership of David Bonsall, D.M. Wills has provided support for inspections and maintenance of Otonabee’s water control programs.

Over the past six years, D.M. Wills has provided Otonabee Conservation with project management contract administration for engineering, design, and project management on numerous infrastructure projects for the Conservation Lands Program.

Some of these programs include:

  • Structural assessments at Brookwood Wildlife Area
  • Multiple years of work on the Jackson Creek Trail including:
  • engineering and design, tendering support, and construction project management for Jackson Creek Trail Bridge Replacement,
    • refurbishment plans, engineering, and design for erosion drainage repairs
    • tendering support and construction project management for bridge repairs in support of the Jackson Creek Trail Revitalization Project
  • Engineering and design, tending support, and construction project management for the Warsaw Caves Gatehouse and the Harold Town, Selwyn Beach and Squirrel Creek accessible washrooms (which are currently being installed), with Rajeev Shan coordinating the structural design of the washroom facilities.

Managing construction projects has been particularly challenging in recent years during the pandemic, with widespread difficulties sourcing materials and contractors, managing rising costs, and executing project timeline requirements.

David has gone above and beyond to ensure that Otonabee Conservation’s projects have been successful in these ever-changing times.

David has been instrumental in sourcing a construction team to take on the 3 accessible washroom projects with very tight timeline requirements. He has also worked closely with project partners to negotiate the costs to meet the Authority’s budget requirements.

David continues to provide quick turnaround times to review and authorize construction documents from the contractor to keep the projects moving forward and on schedule.

He has always provided an exceptional level of expertise when dealing with structural engineering, design, project management, and contract administration services for Otonabee Conservation.

2022 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Many people living throughout the Peterborough Region will be familiar with Brianna’s work as the Executive Director at GreenUP. In this role from 2016-2021, Brianna built up the non-profit's organization’s programs and partnerships while addressing the environmental challenges of our time including climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental justice.

Trout Unlimited Canada is a not-for-profit environmental organization that aims to conserve, protect, and restore Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and their coldwater resources, for current and future generations.

Trout Unlimited Millbrook is a relatively new chapter located in Millbrook, Ontario, that focuses on Baxter and Squirrel Creeks, which meander through the town and the surrounding landscape.

Otonabee Conservation partners with Peterborough Public Health to provide many services in our watershed, with our shared vision of a healthy environment for residents.

We are all likely very aware of the important work that Peterborough Public Health is doing to keep our community safe during the pandemic. Otonabee Conservation would like to first recognize their guidance provided through the pandemic to help us ensure our Conservation Areas, facilities, and amenities are safe for public use.

Trent University is known around the world for research in climate, environment, and sustainability-related issues. The University’s renowned School of the Environment offers over a dozen undergraduate degree programs and more than 140 environment-related courses across multiple disciplines in the arts and sciences. New in 2022, is a climate change science & policy specialization, which will equip graduates for the growing number of climate-related careers. The University also offers several environmentally themed graduate programs.

2021 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Cameron Douglas has been an educator for over 20 years. Cam is the founder and program director of the Youth Leadership in Sustainability Program (widely known as the YLS program), an innovative new educational program that prepares secondary students for leadership roles in pursuing sustainability at the local and global levels.

The Peterborough Trailbuilders Association is a volunteer-run, membership-based organization, devoted to trail maintenance and development in the Peterborough area.

The PTA have dedicated many hours of time from countless volunteers to enhance and maintain natural surface trails for non-motorized uses, in and around the Peterborough and surrounding area. A majority of their work is focused at Harold Town Conservation Area and the Ganaraska Forest.

Ian Boland worked at Otonabee Conservation starting in 2012. His path towards environmental excellence was evident when he started at Otonabee Conservation. Much of his time at Otonabee Conservation was focused on technical review and his aptitude for project work and moving the yardstick forward, was apparent. One thing that stood out was his vision around and commitment to improving the floodplain mapping information available in the watershed.

The Environmental Excellence Award for Business recognizes a business that has made a significant contribution to Otonabee Conservation projects or programs, advancing our vision of a healthy watershed.

Wild Rock Outfitters is a small, privately owned store for outdoor enthusiasts offering equipment, supplies, workshops, and resources for community members to, “Get out and Play!”. They have been operating in the Peterborough community for over 25 years encouraging cycling, paddling, mountain biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking – all activities that you can participate in at our local Conservation Areas.

2020 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

As a retired high school science teacher, Paul has a keen interest in the natural environment, and has worked tirelessly to enhance habitat and protect water quality near his home in the Ferghana Condominium development.

Paul has worked with the condo association to ensure that the stormwater management ponds provide habitat and are functioning property. His efforts have resulted in the establishment of a Pond Committee, which includes representatives from 9 condo associations; Paul is the current chair.

His efforts have resulted in the enhancement of pollinator habitat near the pond using native plant species installed with the help of volunteers, the management of Phragmites, an invasive plant species near the stormwater ponds, and the installation of an aerator in the pond to prevent algae growth and enhance water quality and habitat.  Paul has also reached out to Otonabee Conservation staff on many occasions for advice on best practices, and presents these to the Condo Association Directors to raise awareness about what residents can do to ensure that the stormwater pond is functioning optimally.

Peterborough Pollinators is a citizen-led initiative born at Peterborough Dialogues in November 2015. They are a volunteer group that meets weekly to share and discover ways to create a pollinator-friendly communities.

The Peterborough Pollinators provide resources and support for area residents to understand the importance of pollinators and pollinator gardens. Peterborough Pollinators work in the community to cultivate a resilient environment for local pollinators, while recognizing our food security & ecosystems are dependent upon pollinator health.

Each year, The Riverview Park & Zoo and Otonabee Conservation work together to deliver the Bondar Challenge, which is a program that engages youth participants to use the camera as a gateway to learning about our environment.

Over two days, youth learn about the natural environment through the art of photography. They learn digital photography skills and a variety of photography techniques. Participants then have the opportunity to apply their new skills as they explore scenic environments, including the Riverview Park and Zoo, Beavermead Park and Warsaw Caves Conservation Area.

In addition to the Bondar Challenge, The Riverview Park & Zoo have several partnerships with Otonabee Conservation including:

  • The production and implementation of the Community of Conservation display, which highlights the programs of local organizations related to conservation and sustainability.
  • Many habitat enhancement projects that have been implemented over the past several years including shoreline naturalization, invasive species management, and the Riverview Creek Restoration.

Since 2012, TD Canada Trust staff have worked with Otonabee Conservation to support TD Tree Day events throughout the watershed, resulting in the planting of 1,585 trees and shrubs, and enhancing sequestering 350,000 kg of carbon.

Locations include:

  • The Medical Drive Stormwater Management Facility
  • Meade Creek/Little Lake Shoreline Naturalization at Beavermead Park
  • Stormwater Pond Naturalization at Peterborough Regional Health Centre
  • The Otonabee River Shoreline at Riverview Park and Zoo
  • Isabel Morris Park in Lakefield
  • The Station Trail in Millbrook
  • Shoreline naturalization at the Millbrook Pond/Baxter Creek

2019 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Individual Conservationist Award - Drew Monkman

Stewardship Award - Peterborough Field Naturalists

Partnership Award - Harold Nelson, Manager, Public Works, Township of Douro Dummer

Business Award - Peterborough Regional Health Centre

2018 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Individual - Meaghen Thompson and Olivia Handley, Ennismore Guides

Stewardship - Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Business - Winslow Gerolamy Motors Limited

2017 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Individual Conservationist Award - Barbara Elliot

Stewardship Award - Peterborough Junior Field Naturalists

Partnership Award - Mike Richardson

Business Award - General Electric Canada (Peterborough) and BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Volunteers

2016 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Stewardship Award - Peterborough Cycling Club

Partnership Award - Millbrook Valley Trails Group

Business Award - Siemens Canada

2015 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients

Individual Conservationist Award - Drew Monkman

Stewardship Award - Peterborough Field Naturalists

Partnership Award - Harold Nelson, Manager, Public Works, Township of Douro Dummer

Business Award - Peterborough Regional Health Centre

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