About the Greening Partnership Award
The Greening Partnership Environmental Award is presented quarterly to two landowners, one school and one business who have undertaken exceptional stewardship projects. The award was hand-carved by Highgate’s chainsaw artist- Robbin Wenzoski. Recipients keep the award for a couple months and then it is given to the next winner.
100 Thames St. Chatham, Ontario N7L2Y8
Greg Van Every – Environmental Project Coordinator ext. 229
Amanda Blain – Land Stewardship Technician ext. 234
Rudy Zubler- Wetland Project
Rudy Zubler is a dairy farmer in East Kent and respects nature. He recently purchased 50 acres, of which, 15 acres was marginal, low and originally a wetland. Rudy decided to restore it to its original state. Two ponds were created in the lowest areas. Within the ponds are turtle hibernation structures. The surrounding berms were planted with a selection of wildlife shrubs and trees. Near the water’s edge tallgrass prairie species were seed in.
Before (top) and after (bottom) photos of the Zubler Wetland Project.
Rowsom’s Tilbury West Conservation Area Wetland Project 2013 in Lakeshore
LTVCA just finished creating a new wetland at Rowsom’s Tilbury West Conservation Area in Lakeshore. Partners are Ducks Unlimited, Essex County Stewardship Network- $20,000 project. Installed an agri drain to hold water back to recreate the ox bow wetland feature and excavated out 5 ponds. This will provide important bird, reptile, amphibian habitat along the Big Creek corridor.
The Maple Leaf Cemetery Tall Grass Prairie Project Pollinator Enhancement Program
The Maple Leaf Cemetery Tall Grass Prairie Project was a partnership between the Municipality of Chatham-Kent Parks and Cemeteries, the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, the Rondeau Watershed Coalition, and John McGregor Secondary School.
Approximately 2 hectares of tall grass prairie were established in 2010. This was the initial site that began the Pollinator Enhancement Program for the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority and the Greening Partnership.
The Pollinator Enhancement Program has since grown to include two private prairie sites (McMullen and Mitton properties) as well as the Merlin Prairie site slated for 2012. Prairie installments can also be found at C.M. Wilson Conservation Area.
Tree Planting – Van Astens
Theo Van Asten, Cedar Springs
This unique project took place in the southern Ontario Municipality of Chatham-Kent. This is a rural agriculture region with a population of 110,000 people. Most of them are living in the city of Chatham. Mr. Van Asten’s project took place approximately 20km south of the city, in the tiny hamlet of Cedar Springs. With less than 3% tree cover (the lowest in Canada), and the introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, this area is in dire need of forest cover.
Theo Van Asten, a local retired farmer, has restored a former, 22 acre gravel pit, into a beautiful wildlife refuge. He planted over 8,000 native Carolinian seedlings, 300 large stock trees, 3 newly excavated ponds, and more than 30,000 tulip and lily bulbs. At 74 years of age Theo is tireless in his efforts to bring nature back to this area. When the weather warms, Theo cannot be reached by phone, as his wife Lia explains, “He loves to be out planting”. If there is a certain tree species that has not been planted, Theo will read up on its requirements, and go out and collect the seed and propagate it himself. Currently he has grown Tulip Tree, American Chestnut and Red Bud, to add to the project. Countless work hours, and his own money has been put into this project.
This region is known for its productive soils and vast farmland creating a difficulty when trying to promote environmental activities. To have a landowner such as Theo is invaluable to conservationists. His project is a shining example of what can be done. He understands the value of this and has opened the doors to tours and groups. Communities in Bloom, the Essex-Kent tree planting committee, Trees Ontario Foundation, Stewardship-Kent and LTVCA Directors have all visited the property and praised his work. This will motivate others to do the same, and to teach the surrounding landowner’s how to naturally restore their property.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent will see long term benefits of Theo’s work. Oxygen production, beautification, migratory bird habitat, species at risk habitat, pollinators, reptiles, carbon sequestration, source water protection/filtration and many, many more benefits will result from his efforts.