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June 12, 2009
For immediate release

Lieutenant Governor presents 2009 Prince Edward Island Environmental Awards

Environment, Energy & Forestry

Environmental leaders from across Prince Edward Island were honoured by Lieutenant Governor Barbara Hagerman today with the presentation of the 2009 Prince Edward Island Environmental Awards.

Her Honour joined Richard Brown, Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry, and Elmer MacDonald, chair of the Environmental Advisory Council in presenting awards to the four winners.

“We give these awards each year because there are so many people in Prince Edward Island who go out of their way to explore, protect and preserve the environment of our Island home,” said Minister Brown.

“A lot of the real drive for environmental preservation comes from people like the ones we are recognizing here today,” he said.

Presentation of the awards will be one of the final acts as chair for Elmer MacDonald who is coming to the end of his second term as a member of the Environmental Advisory Council.

“I’m very glad to be here today to help honour Islanders who give their time and energy to the protection of Prince Edward Island’s Environment,” said Mr. MacDonald.

“Every year on the Environmental Advisory Council we have had a good discussion about the many people and organizations who contribute so much to protecting the natural heritage of this province. The winners are examples to us all. They are also living evidence that the environmental spirit is alive and well on Prince Edward Island.”

The awards were presented in Charlottetown, at Fanningbank, the Lieutenant Governor’s official residence.

The 2009 Prince Edward Island Environmental Awards winners:

Andrew MacDonald:

St. Teresa’s Environmental School Challenge winner

The St. Teresa’s Environmental School Challenge award for environmental initiatives in an Island school goes to Andrew McDonald, a Grade 10 student at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown. He saw an environmental opportunity in the new Beverage Container Management System introduced by government last spring.

Andrew began collecting returnable containers at his school in November 2008. On his lunch hour, he’d gather cans and bottles from classrooms around the high school, then once they were counted and sorted, Andrew would bring them to a nearby depot.

As of Earth Day this year, April 22, Andrew had collected 22,000 containers at Colonel Gray and had raised $1100.

The money that Andrew raised was used to fund a number of worthy efforts, including the Charlottetown Food Bank, the Colonel Gray Breakfast Program and the School Climate Change Action Committee. Andrew has said he hopes to expand his efforts to other schools in the Charlottetown Area.

Robert Harding:

Robert Harding is someone with a real passion for the natural history of Prince Edward Island.

As the nomination form says, “Robert Harding is a remarkable volunteer whose dedication to seeking knowledge of the damselflies and dragon flies of the Maritimes is matched by his dedication to sharing this knowledge.”

Robert Harding has donated more than 6,000 specimens of PEI dragonflies and damselflies to the New Brunswick Museum and has made a very important commitment to our understanding of wetland insects in this province. He was also the first person to document the presence of the pickerel frog on Prince Edward Island, a species that was missed when the National Museum made its survey of Prince Edward Island amphibians.

Robert obviously has a passion for wetland life and he has worked to pass this passion along to young Islanders. He’s an annual visitor to Greenwing Day in Mount Stewart where he allows dozens of budding naturalists to learn about pond life and to see the art and craft of collecting dragonflies.

Earlier this year Robert Harding was recognized by Ducks Unlimited with the Lieutenant Governor’s Greenwing Award for Wetland Conservation.

Clarence Ryan:

Clarence Ryan is someone who has devoted countless hours to the improvement of the Pisquid River watershed.

Clarence is chair of the PEI Trappers Association and, under his leadership, this group has sponsored an annual improvement project in the Pisquid River watershed. Through their work, thousands of trees have been planted, many kilometres of stream have been enhanced and fish passage has been restored to the entire river system.

Clarence has also been instrumental in starting a community-based watershed management process for the Pisquid watershed. This project aims to see the entire community involved in addressing sources of environmental challenges in the watershed.

Clarence Ryan is leading the kind of community-based approach government would like to see repeated in all of Prince Edward Island’s watersheds.

The Richmond Bay Watershed Association:

The Richmond Bay Watershed Association has been active since 2003. Under the leadership of executive director Cathy Gallant, this watershed group has worked with local landowners to improve the quality of both the Little Trout River and the Tyne Valley Watersheds.

Some of the keys to this group’s success have been its insistence on a non-confrontational approach with landowners, its emphasis on community awareness for its efforts and its involvement of local youth in issues related to the environment.

Working in cooperation with watershed specialists at the Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry, the Richmond Bay Watershed Association is developing watershed stewardship plans that look at factors ranging from nitrate levels in the streams to land use and wildlife habitat.

The Richmond area is still quite rural and agricultural but it is more and more becoming a bedroom community for the City of Summerside. The leadership they are showing in dealing with the environmental challenges of a heavily-used land base will be an example for communities across the province.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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