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Conservation Authority celebrates remarkable groups and individuals

Presents 2016 Grand River Watershed Awards, scholarships and Community Conservation Grants
award winner



The Grand River Special Recognition event took place Oct. 20 to present the 2016 Grand River Watershed Awards, scholarships and Community Conservation Grants.

The evening was jointly organized by the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Grand River Conservation Foundation. Listed are the 2016 award, grant and scholarship recipients.

2016 Grand River Honour Roll Award

David Lamble (Fergus): David received a Watershed Award from the GRCA in 1999, when he had already banded 60,000 birds. He has continued his work as a master bird bander and has now banded over 200,000 birds of nearly 200 species. He works independently as a volunteer and bands at Luther Marsh, Belwood Lake and many other locations. A retired teacher, he also enjoys sharing his knowledge of birds with others, especially young people.

2016 Grand River Watershed Awards

Youth Outdoors Day (Luther Marsh): For 15 years, volunteers have held a special free event each September at Luther Marsh for young people. This event started out small and has grown. About 150 volunteers give kids the chance to learn new skills and connect with nature in new ways. Over the years, the event has engaged an estimated 3,000 youth and their parents in many outdoor activities. In the technological era, connecting kids with nature encourages an understanding of nature and land stewardship in the next generation.

The Neighbourhood Group of Companies (Guelph and Kitchener): The planet comes first for The Neighbourhood Group of Companies (NGC), founded by Bob Desautels. The company has three restaurants in Guelph and one in Kitchener. Since opening the first restaurant in 1990, NGC has focused on sustainable operation in all areas of business. NGC holds an annual River Restoration Dinner at each restaurant and is supporting their major commitment to a new nature centre at Guelph Lake. Bob has served on the Foundation board and the nature centre fundraising committee.

Dr. Paul Karrow (Waterloo): Dr. Paul Karrow is a pioneering geologist who mapped the surface geology in much of the Grand River watershed. He taught and mentored many geology students. He also worked closely with the geologist who updated the surface geology and created 3D geology mapping of the Waterloo moraine. Understanding the underlying geology in a watershed is fundamental to understanding and modeling how water flows through and infiltrates into the landscape.

John Rowe (Guelph): For almost 50 years, John Rowe has been a leader in sustainable farming. He started out growing antibiotic-free and hormone-free beef that he sold at his farm. Now Rowe Farms has stores in Toronto and Guelph and a network of farmers who share his approach to growing food.  John also shares his farming philosophy with numerous groups who visit his farm including high school students on field trips to the Guelph Lake Nature Centre. John grows grass-fed beef and believes this farming method can reduce the impact of climate change. He is making an old agricultural practice new again.


These scholarships are given by the Grand River Conservation Foundation to support students attending post-secondary institutions in the watershed.

  • S.C. Johnson Environmental Scholarship – Laurissa Christie, University of Guelph, B. Sc.  Environmental Sciences
  • Allan Holmes Scholarship – Maricor Arlos, University of Waterloo, PhD Biology
  • McEwen Clean Water Prize – Joseph Salerno, University of Guelph, M.Sc. Environmental Sciences

Community Conservation Grants

Grants are provided to support environmental projects being undertaken by community groups and elementary schools. The grants for $500 are going to these community groups:

  • Laurel Creek Citizen’s Working Group (Waterloo) to enhance a new stormwater management pond in Waterloo
  • Galt Horticultural Society (Cambridge) to redevelop a quiet garden at the Ferguson Cottage to attract pollinators
  • House of Friendship (Kitchener ) to introduce native plants to a supportive housing community garden in downtown Kitchener
  • Nature Guelph, Guelph in relation to treatment of 10 windows at the University of Guelph Arboretum. The treatment will help make birds award of the windows in order to prevent them from flying into them and becoming inured or dying.