Land trust honours year’s ‘enviro-heroes’

By Jenn Watt

Published Oct. 24 2017

A dozen years of stewardship were marked on Sunday evening when the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust held its annual fundraising banquet thanking those who had donated land money and volunteer hours to preserve 700 acres of forests and wetlands.

“The land trust was established 12 years ago by this group of people who believed in the concept and saw the value of a land trust in our county and who were able to finance and help form the first board of directors” said board chairwoman Mary-Lou Gerstl to the audience at Pinestone Resort on Oct. 22.

“Two years later in March of 2007 Norah’s Island a 22-acre island in Kennisis Lake was donated through the Eco Gifts program by Bruce Carruthers in memory of his late wife Norah.”

From there more land was donated first by Peter Dahl and his sister Nana McKernan (the Dahl Forest) then by Don Smith (the Smith Forest) and then by Dennis Barry (the Fred and Pearl Barry Wetland Reserve).

As is their tradition the organization also took time to celebrate individuals or “enviro-heroes” from each of the county’s four municipalities for their environmentalism.

This year’s honouree from Dysart et al was Brian Nash of Haliburton Solar and Wind.

“Haliburton Solar and Wind is an innovative energy organization that has built Ontario’s first off-grid demonstration centre right here in Haliburton County at the Abbey Gardens property” said board member Sheila Ziman who presented all four awards. “The centre is a critical component to Haliburton Solar and Wind’s ongoing efforts to increase Ontario’s situational awareness in context to energy policy and individual energy security.”

Nash is an active volunteer who divides his time between the Rotary Club of Haliburton Haliburton County Development Corporation Dysart et al’s environment and conservation committee and Haliburton County Heat Bank Ziman said.

In Algonquin Highlands this year’s enviro-hero was Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Association for its Love Your Lakes program. This program brought together the expertise of Trent University professors and environmental studies students with local lake associations to conduct shoreline evaluations helping to protect area lakes.

“The goal of the Love Your Lake program is to help shoreline owners landscapers and contractors maintain a minimum of 75 per cent of the 100-foot ribbon of natural vegetation along the shoreline to mitigate runoff reduce pollution and provide natural habitat for shoreline wildlife” Ziman said.

Accepting on behalf of the program was John McHardy and Rita Moore. In the last four years 72 lakes and 1000 kilometres of shoreline were surveyed – more than anywhere else in the province she said.

Highlands East’s enviro-hero was the Glamor Lake Cottagers’ Association represented by Brian Cain.

Along with participating in the Love Your Lake program the association also was instrumental in supporting and promoting the septic inspection program. Members met with other lake associations encouraging them to also support septic inspections.

“In addition they passed a motion to provide funds for shoreline restoration work at the public park between Glamor and Little Glamor lakes. Little Glamor Lake Association will also provide funds for this project” Ziman said.

From Minden Hills the TD Tree Days volunteers were honoured for their work planting trees in Minden.

“TD Minden has hosted TD Tree Days for the last two years in Minden” said Ziman. More than 1000 native trees shrubs and flowers have been planted along the Riverwalk during that time.

“The new vegetation will help stabilize the shoreline create wildlife habitat and mitigate the effects of flooding not to metion deter the geese and lessen the poop factor” she said.

Carol Patrick manager of TD Minden accepted the award on behalf of all the volunteers.