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Local ecologists earn national honour for protecting biodiversity

Two Dougan teammates elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Two staff from an ecological consulting and design company have received one of the country’s highest honours – election to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Steve Hill and Heather Schibli attended a black-tie event in Ottawa earlier this month as part of the announcement. There were 450 people in attendance.

As new members of the College of Fellows, Hill and Schibli join a list of Canada’s foremost geographers, scientists, artists, anthropologists, soldiers, business leaders, historians and educators of all kinds, a virtual who’s who of Canada.

"Steve and Heather are two remarkable Canadians,” says Aran O’Carroll, national and environment director, government relations at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

“It is a thrill to work with them and the team at Dougan. They are very professional, passionate and deeply committed to promoting, conserving and restoring the natural world. We at Canadian Geographic are honoured to call them partners in our shared Network of Nature project.”

The Network of Nature is a non-profit created and managed by Hill, Schibli and their Dougan colleagues. Through the Network of Nature, Canadian Geographic and corporate partners are protecting Canada’s unique biodiversity against the stresses of development and climate change by inspiring Canadians to plant native seeds, plants and trees to establish a national network of native habitats.

“It’s hard for the vast majority of people in Canada to learn about the plants and ecosystems around them,” says Hill, director and senior ecologist at Dougan. “Planting seeds of knowledge makes a huge difference in bringing biodiversity back. We make it easy for anyone to have a positive impact.”

Dougan has helped design some of Southwestern Ontario’s most ambitious projects. The company uses GIS and spatial analysis to drive almost every project.

“At Dougan, we’re passionate about ecology and the land,” says Schibli, landscape architect, ecologist and arborist at Dougan. “This energy spills over to the other professionals we work with, like civil engineers and land planners. We love inspiring and explaining why it’s important to do the things we propose when designing projects.”

Getting to the core of what needs to be done to bring biodiversity back is bigger than what Dougan can do alone. The Network of Nature is a free resource that makes it easy for anyone to have a positive impact.



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