2011 recipients of The Cottage Life Environment Grant
Cottage Life is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2011 Cottage Life Environment Grant. We were impressed with the quality of the proposals submitted and with their evident passion for preserving cottage country’s natural environment. Applications included a lake-level study, a solar installation for a group of cottagers, and a stream inventory.
We are happy to award two initiatives with funds towards their environmental projects. They will both benefit the environment in cottage country for years to come.
Conostogo Lake Cottagers’ Association
Conostogo Lake, Ontario
This cottager association proposed to replant an area of planted forest destroyed by a 2005 tornado. The group is working in partnership with the Grand River Conservation Authority, and are sourcing native tree species (including cottonwood, dogwood, red oak, white cedar and white pine) for the planting, which will be done by volunteers from the community of 399 cottage owners. The growing trees will promote water quality through filtration of water by the roots and stabilizing the soil to prevent erosion.
Selection Panel comments: While tree-planting doesn’t seem very jazzy, it provides solid results with just a bit of money. The lake is situated in a watershed that is largely agricultural, so replanting the trees is important for maintaining water quality, providing cover for migrating birds, and for preventing soil erosion. Because this area is not dominated by existing forest, replacing the tree cover will provide a greater variety of ecosystem types and encourage biodiversity. The group is working with the support and advice of experts their Conservation Authority to ensure that appropriate stock and planting techniques are used, however the panel liked that the cottagers will be the ones with shovels in-hand, putting in the work to care for their ecosystems.
Muskoka Heritage Foundation,
The Muskoka Heritage Foundation proposed a project to update and reprint the Muskoka Stewards’ Guide, which advises cottage landowners on good stewardship practices. The five-booklet series (Forest management options, Shoreline and native plants, Wildlife habitat, Trail building, and Species at Risk) will contain action-oriented tips and best practices for cottagers in Muskoka and elsewhere.
Selection Panel comments: The expert panel liked the broad, but focused topics covered in the series, and felt that it has the potential to positively effect forests, shoreline, and water quality. Because the group serves a large number of lake associations, the information will be disseminated effectively to a broad area and a large number of cottagers, maximizing the influence of the initiative. The selection panel also liked that the group will be following up on the publications by continuing their one-on-one visits from master stewards, advising cottagers how to apply the information to their own shoreline and cottage environment.
Meet the Selection Panel
- Bev Clark is a scientist who focuses on lake health and aquatic biology. Many cottagers know him from his years of work with the Ministry of the Environment and its Lake Partner Program. Bev is currently working as an environmental consultant at Hutchinson Environmental Sciences in Bracebridge, Ont. and is President of the North American Lake Management Society.
- Leslie Garrett is an author, journalist, and mother of three children. She writes on the environmental and social justice issues for a wide variety of publications. The Virtuous Traveler, her column on sustainable travel, runs in The Toronto Star and on the website of CBS travel correspondent Peter Greenberg. Her book, The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World (and one our kids will thank us for!) was released in July 2007 and won The Green Prize.
- Dirk Janas is a Senior Ecologist and Principal with Beacon Environmental in Bracebridge and has more than 12 years of applied field botany experience in Ontario with special expertise in wetland plant identification and wetland habitat assessment. His areas of expertise include: botany, wetland evaluations, vegetation, wildlife, restoration ecology, Species at Risk inventories, Ecological Land Classification, and associated evaluation of natural heritage features and functions.