2012 recipients of The Cottage Life Environment Grant

Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project

Cottage Life is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2012 Cottage Life Environment Grant. We received a great variety of entries, from those proposing to monitor lake quality, re-naturalize shorelines, and create loon habitat, to one that is starting an eco-centre. We congratulate all entrants on their work towards protecting the cottage environment.

We are happy to award two initiatives with funds for their environmental projects for 2012. We believe they will both benefit the cottage environment for years to come.

Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project

Pender Harbour, BC

This group’s goals are to foster local environmental stewardship and help protect the Western Painted Turtle, a federally endangered population (and the only freshwater turtle species in BC), by building turtle nesting habitat and educating fellow cottagers about how to maintain and protect wildlife habitat on their properties.

The group’s activities include:

  • Install of two new turtle nesting beaches at areas popular with cottagers, under consultation with the provincial Western Painted Turtle Recovery Team;

    Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project
    Tiny turtle hatchlings, emerged from new turtle beach

  • recruit and train cottager-volunteers to participate in turtle nesting and hatching surveys, amphibian breeding surveys, and wildlife habitat enhancement activities;
  • distribute stewardship manuals and conduct one-on-one stewardship visits with cottagers to encourage them to understand, maintain, and enhance habitat on their property.

The project is headed up by a husband and wife, both biologists, who have been working for the last five years to protect species at risk in their cottage area, in communication with the MOE. Their approach is to provide opportunities for cottagers to help wildlife with fun, hands-on activities that are positive and rewarding.

On the Land and In the Water—Lovin Lake Erie Education Project (LLEEP)

Lake Erie, Ont.

A grassroots project, proposed by two cottagers, will raise public awareness and educate cottagers and residents about preserving the local water, lake, air, and habitat. The project aims to reach the more than 500 cottages in the Rondeau-Lake Erie area stretching from Morpeth to Erieau.

The group will be organizing a public lecture series during the summer season to introduce cottagers to the key issues facing the Lake Erie cottage environment, such as lake pollution and the role played by human habitation. The initiative will complement efforts of both the Ministry of Natural Resources and the local Provincial Park Team by fostering awareness at a grassroots level. The hope is that a little education will go a long way in helping cottagers understand their role in enhancing and preserving this unique shoreline community.

Applications for the 2013 Cottage Life Environment Grant are due September 12th, 2012.

Click here for application information.

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 aquatic scientist at Hutchinson Environmental Sciences in Bracebridge, Ont., and is past-president of the North American Lake Management Society.

* Leslie Garrett is an author, journalist, and mother of three children. She writes on 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 was released in July 2007 and won the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.

* 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 a focus 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.