Watershed Steward’s Appreciation Day

Each year, HCA’s Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program, in partnership with Conservation Halton, celebrate landowners at the Watershed Steward’s Appreciation Day. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the ceremony returned last week to Mountsberg Conservation Area.

Eight landowners within HCA’s watershed were recognized and presented with a Watershed Stewardship Award. Awards are presented to those who demonstrate good land stewardship practices, and/or exemplify a commitment to maintain and restore natural features and watershed function on their property.

HCA and area residents are lucky to have such amazing stewards within our watershed, and this year’s recipients are:

  • Jamie Hunter and Family, ‘Sunrise Gardens’
  • Barb McKean and John Hannah
  • Hillfield Strathallan College
  • Lisa DiCesare and Brian Hansell, ‘Point of View Farm’
  • Heather Govender and Family, ‘The Govenders’
  • Lenore Dickson and Mike West
  • Ryan Moffat
  • Sage Pearson, ‘Market Street Habitat’

Learn more about each landowner and the stewardship below.

Jamie Hunter and Family, ‘Sunrise Gardens’

Jamie Hunter and his family live within the Dundas Valley Environmentally Significant Area and surrounded by the Niagara Escarpment. They purchased the property in 2018, and Jamie described their yard as being “a rectangular box of turf grass”. Years later, and now in it’s fourth growing season, Jamie has taken great care to curate gardens that are both astonishingly biodiverse and beautiful. This suburban property boasts more than 135 species native to Southern Ontario, meadow and woodland habitats, and an abundance of wildlife as a result.

Barb McKean and John Hannah

Barb and John, both professionally and personally, have long embodied Watershed Stewardship. They are both Environmentalist of the Year Award recipients in Hamilton, and local well-respected environmental educators and naturalists. They promote stewardship and sustainability locally, and they lead by example. Their property has over 175 varieties and species of plants, the majority of which are native to the area. Their gardens give careful consideration to not only containing species that provide as much benefit as possible to pollinators and wildlife, but also to managing stormwater on the property to allow for replenishing of groundwater.

Hillfield Strathallan College

Hillfield Strathallan College is a private, co-ed school for grades ELKP through to Grade 12. The college values both sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint through actions liking switching grounds equipment to electric, sourcing local food sources, and purchasing sustainably.

Their science department strives to make their outdoor campus a part of their learning environment and it shows. Staff and students have planted an incredible array of native species on-site to create pollinator habitat, support biodiversity, provide a seed nursery for native plant stock, and create an enriching outdoor learning space for all grades.

Lisa DiCesare and Brian Hansell, ‘Point of View Farm’

Lisa and Brian were recently passed a torch of land stewardship when they acquired their 15-hectare farm in Flamborough, and since then they have raised the bar for agricultural best management practices.

In the few years since moving to their farm, they have planted thousands of trees and shrubs along the creek corridor and around the perimeter of the property, protected the creek with over 300 metre livestock exclusion fence, restored wetland features, and improved habitat for the at risk Bobolinks that nest on their property annually. Being adjacent to a major conservation area, they have proven to be truly good neighbours.

Heather Govender and Family, ‘The Govenders’

On a homestead spanning over 19 hectares and falling within the Hayesland Swamp Environmentally Significant Area, Heather has been working away to enhance the natural heritage features on the property.  Invasive species that include Common Buckthorn and Phragmites have been continually targeted for removal, making room for a greater diversity of native plants to re-establish themselves on the southern portion of the property.

Beyond her efforts at home, Heather won the Youth Engagement Award from Green Communities Canada this year, further proving her exemplary actions across Hamilton.

Lenore Dickson and Mike West

Lenore and Mike purchased their 13-hectare farm in 2018 to protect the natural habitats on their property and practice sustainable environmentally sensitive farming on a small scale, in the Spring Creek subwatershed.

Since then, they have prioritized ecological restoration and have looked to the land and its occupants for direction on what to address first. They demonstrated a keen drive to learn what native plants and animals – both native and invasive – in their corner of the Dundas Valley and have put a profound amount of effort into invasive species removal.

Wildlife that include wild turkey and rabbits graze in their pastures, as well as foxes and coyotes hunting in the fields. Numerous bird species including Eastern Bluebirds, woodpeckers, finches, wrens, as well as on occasion Flying Squirrels have made their presence known.

Ryan Moffat

Although relatively new to his property, Ryan has quickly proven to be a great steward within the Ancaster Creek subwatershed in which he resides.

His property lies just above the Niagara Escarpment and although the majority of the property has been maintained in a relatively natural state, Ryan has taken considerable actions to improve the creek by removing a derelict perched culvert from the stream, restoring the riparian buffer along the shore, and pulling out the various invasive species from the property.

Sage Pearson, ‘Market Street Habitat’

Nestled in a tract of land that opens up into in the Dundas Valley in the Sydenham Creek area, Sage has put a great deal of care and effort into her property.

As part of a wide swath of woodland that expands into the Niagara Escarpment, Sage has gone to considerable efforts to overcome the many household garden invasive plants that had escaped the confines of their allotted spaces and has been diligent in replacing these plants with hardy native species along dynamic topography surrounding her home. She has been a gracious host to many volunteers in support of her efforts.


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