Niagara Escarpment Achievement AwardsNiagara Escarpment Achievement Award program

2012 Series

Twenty five years after the Niagara Escarpment Achievement Awards were established, this 2012 series again celebrates outstanding achievements and inspiring individuals who have made the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve a better place to live and work.

With two recipients of the "Lifetime" Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award, and six individual awards of achievement in this series' roster, this impressive group of individuals and organizations inspires us to be proud Escarpment stewards!


  • Lyn MacMillan, founder of the Coalition on the Niagara Escaprment
  • Greg Michalenko, professor and organizer of the Niagara Escaprment Monitoring course held jointly with Unviersity of Waterloo


"Queen of the Escarpment" Lyn MacMillan - honoured for lifetime contributions to the Niagara Escarpment  

Lyn MacMillan awarded the Niagara Escarpment Lifetime Achievement Award May 8, 2012

The NEC honoured Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment (CONE) founder Lyn MacMillan (centre) with the Lifetime Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Massey College at the University of Toronto. Family and friends from the Federation of Ontario Nature (now Ontario Nature), CONE, and the NEC celebrated Lyn's achievements and her dedication to the conservation of the Niagara Escarpment.  

Lyn MacMillan with NEC Chair Don Scott

Bringing the Niagara Escarpment to Life: University of Waterloo professor Greg Michalenko honoured for his sixteen years of dedication to the Ontario's Niagara Escarpment Monitoring Program

As Assistant Professor Emeritus of the University of Waterloo’s (UW) Department of Environment and Resources Studies, Greg Michalenko helped to establish a partnership between UW and the NEC to implement forest biodiversity monitoring in permanent study plots along the Niagara Escarpment.

With Greg’s input, a third-year Environmental Monitoring course was established at the University of Waterloo in 1996. The annual, week-long course studies forest biodiversity change in the Escarpment’s protected areas. Under UW and NEC staff leadership, course participants assess an Escarpment study plot, collecting tree, shrub/sapling, ground cover and forest health data.  Data are compiled and analyzed to evaluate trends and report on the state of Escarpment forests. The course has received worldwide attention as an academic-government collaborative success story. 

Greg Michalenko, Lifetime Achievement

 From left to right: NEC staff Anne Marie Laurence and Lisa Grbinicek with Greg Michalenko and wife Carol Klein, and Acting NEC Chair Joan Little.

A New Generation of Escarpment Guardians: West Hills Secondary School and Grey Sauble Conservation Authority

Students of West Hill Secondary School and representatives of the Grey Sauble C.A.

On May 9, 2012, the NEC acknowledged the students of West Hills Secondary School in Owen Sound and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority with Niagara Escarpment Achievement Awards for their 10-year cleanup of West Rocks Conservation Area. The project, called "Operation Green Sweep," enhances West Rocks Conservation Area to ensure the community's enjoyment of this beautiful Escarpment landscape. West Rocks is one of 140 parks of the Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System.


Heritage Heroes - Dufferin County property stewards Allen Clarke and Jacqueline Tilford

Clarke and Tilford developed a residential and landscaping design for their property that blends seamlessly into the scenic agricultural environment of the Mulmur hills. Maintaining a beautiful 75-variety Ontario heritage apple orchard, they have also planted two hundred Sugar Maples and have undertaken riparian planting along the streams that cross their property, enhancing the streams’ species habitats.

Allen Clarke and Jacqueline Tilford of Mulmur Township 

From left to right: Commissioner Ken McGhee, Allen Clarke, Jacqueline Tilford, Mayor of Mulmur Township Paul Mills, and NEC Chair Don Scott.


Promoting Healthy Habitats - Douglas and Sharon Leavens, Pelham, Ontario


At the August 16, 2012 award presentation, Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) Chair Don Scott acknowledged the couple for their contribution to the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve, highlighting the work they have undertaken to maintain and enhance the Escarpment’s natural landscape.

The landowners worked closely with Ducks Unlimited to establish a pond wetland area, planting wetland plants around their pond to enhance habitat health. Additional planting was also undertaken, in partnership with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, to establish a forested corridor to connect the property’s existing wooded areas.  

Photo from left to right: Niagara Region Niagara Escarpment Commissioner Brian Baty, Douglas and Sharon Leavens, and NEC Chair Don Scott

Partners in Promoting a Vibrant Escarpment Ecosystem: Trout Unlimited Canada and the City of Burlington - Bronte Creek Rehabilitation


The NEC presented the awards to City of Burlington Councillor John Taylor and Trout Unlimited Canada’s Silvia D’Amelio on Saturday, August 25 during a “TUC On Location” event in Lowville Park.  The Bronte Creek stream restoration project included bank narrowing, aquatic habitat creation, increased bank stability, and the planting of streamside vegetation in Lowville Park, located at 6207 Guelph Line in Lowville. The park is designated as an Escarpment Natural Area in the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Photo from left to right: Dana Richardson (NEC Assistant Deputy Minister), Silvia D'Amelio (TUC Ontario Biologist), Teresa Giangregorio (City of Burlington, Engineering Dept), Councillor John Taylor (City of Burlington Ward 3 and Acting Mayor for August 2012), Mary Finch (TUC Project Biologist),  Jack Imhof (TUC National Biologist).

Dedicated Palliative Caregivers Sharing the Beauty of the Niagara Escarpment: Bethell Hospice, Caledon

 Caledon's Bethell Hospice honoured

Bethell Hospice is a leading example of thoughtful site planning and building design that encourages enjoyment of and access to the Niagara Escarpment. The building serves the needs of residents and their families and provides a peaceful rural setting for end of life care.

Photo from left to right: Dana Richardson, NEC Assistant Deputy Minister; Barbara Pidcock, Bethell Hospice Chair; Hartland MacDougall, Founding Donor of Bethell Hospice’s MacDougall Gardens, and Richard Paterak, Caledon Ward 1 Regional Councillor and NEC Commissioner for Peel Region.


Local Stone, Local Style: Diana and Derek Ham, John Gordon and Jamie Douglas - Outstanding property & residential design

John Gordon and Jamie Douglas honoured 

Property owner Derek Ham’s residence was designed by architect Jamie Douglas of Young and Wright / IBI Group Architects to blend harmoniously into the rural landscape character of Clearview Township. The site’s development included the restoration of the existing barn on the property, and the merging of two separate land parcels to return the lot size back to the original 100 acre lot size, in keeping with the historic lot size. The building placement, on a plateau high on the Escarpment, accommodated the property owners’ desire for a panoramic Escarpment view; the residence’s screening, scale, and building materials minimized the structure’s visual impact on the landscape.  

Photo from left to right: NEC Chair Don Scott; builder John Gordon; architect Jamie Douglas and Simcoe County Commissioner Shawn Davidson.


2009 Series

  • Artist, naturalist and former Niagara Escarpment Commissioner Robert Bateman receives the Niagara Escarpment Lifetime Achievement Award

 Hon. Bill Davis Robert Davis NEC Chair Don Scott Ted McMeekin, MPP (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale)

In a presentation by the Hon. Bill Davis, former Ontario Premier, NEC Chair Don Scott and Ted McMeekin, MPP (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) artist & naturalist Robert Bateman was awarded the Niagara Escarpment Lifetime Achievement Award on April 16, 2009.

Robert Bateman, O.C., O.B.C., R.C.A., D.F.A., D. Litt., D. Sc., LL.D., B.A., served as a Niagara Escarpment Commissioner from 1973-1985 and has worked tirelessly as an educator and advocate for the preservation of natural spaces and wildlife.

In presenting the award, the Hon. Bill Davis thanked Bateman for his outstanding public service and his exceptional artistic talent in capturing the beauty of the natural world.

The Niagara Escarpment Commission was established in 1973 during the government of Premier Davis. Recounting the challenges of the NEC's early days, Davis stressed the need for staff,Commissioners and stakeholders to maintain diligence in conserving the Niagara Escarpment for future generations of Ontarians to enjoy.

  • Ball's Falls Centre for Conservation - Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

The Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award for Ball's Falls Centre for Conservation recognizes the building’s innovative design, based on the LEED (Leadership in Environment and Energy Design) guidelines from the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC). The 12,000 square foot building has been awarded LEED Gold Certification.

This beautiful facility, located in an historical park of the Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System, enhances the community and promotes the principles of the Niagara Escarpment as a Biosphere Reserve.

The Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation sets a new benchmark in realizing the intent and purpose of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act for Public Structures within the Plan, particularly in providing public access to the Niagara Escarpment and protecting unique ecologic and historic areas.

The award was presented on Wed., May 20, 2009. Left to right: NPCA CAO Tony D'Amario, Chair Doug Ransom and NEC Chair Don Scott

Ball's Falls award presentationBall's Falls Centre for Conservation

  • Bruce Peninsula Schools - UNESCO Schools in the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve

Bruce Peninsula SchoolsBruce Peninsula Schools

In 2008 these two schools were the first in Ontario to be designated with national status as part of the Associated Schools Project Networkthrough the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are some 40 schools in Canada that are part of the network. However, only 3 schools in Canada, among few in the world, are actually located within World Biosphere Reserves; one in Saskatchewan and the Bruce Peninsula District School and St. Edmund’s Public School within the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.

This recognition by UNESCO came as a result of years of focused studies, school projects and community partnerships around environmental and global issues.  

Bruce Peninsula District School and St. Edmund’s Public School have both demonstrated long term dedicated commitment to the ideals UNESCO sets out for the schools involved in the Associated Schools Project Network. This dedication to both education and action, aimed in part at understanding and protecting the natural environment, exemplifies commitment to the principles of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.  

  • Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula - Dark Sky Policy

In August 2004, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula passed a proclamation which proclaimed the Municipality as a "Dark Sky Community." The municipality passed the proclamation in recognition of the Bruce Peninsula being a unique location where people can still experience the wonders and benefits of the dark night sky.

The proclamation noted that the use of dark sky-compliant lighting practices will preserve, protect and enhance the community's use and enjoyment of the natural environment of the night by eliminating hazardous and annoying glare; reduce light trespass; minimize light pollution which results in the degradation of the night-time environment  and will conserve energy and resources.

The Bruce Peninsula Environment Group was the inspiration behind the educational efforts that lead to the Dark Sky proclamation. The group continues to assist the municipal proclamation through of the publication of a Dark Sky Brochure, fundraising to contribute to the replacement of lighting with dark sky compliant lighting at the Lions Head marina, encouraging and supporting the municipality in the replacement of lights along Highway 6, and at Tobermory and creating educational portable display boards for use at peninsula events, etc.  

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Dark Sky Proclamation and implementation of the Proclamation sets high standards in protecting the night sky from excessive or "stray" lighting. In doing so this extensive part of the Escarpment will be protected from an aspect of the impact of development not often considered.  It preserves the natural scenery of the night sky along this section of the Escarpment. The value to the NEP is significant in that it creates an additional measure of protection in accordance with the Purpose of the NEPDA:

"to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment, and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with that natural environment”.

It alsoexemplifies the following objective of the NEPDA:

4.   To maintain and enhance the open landscape character of the Niagara Escarpment as far as possible by such means as compatible farming or forestry and by preserving the natural scenery.  

  • "Blue Mountain House" residential design - Barry Parrell, homeowner and Paul Syme, architect

This residence, known as “Blue Mountain House,” is located in the County of Grey south of Ravenna in an Escarpment Protection Area. This unique development not only met the requirements of the Niagara Escarpment Plan’s Development Criteria, but surpassed them, particularly in landscape siting to minimize visual impact. The NEC staff report quotes that “This development is an outstanding example of building in complete compatibility with the open landscape character of the Escarpment in keeping with the highest expectations we might have for development meeting the Objectives of the Act.”

Hundreds of permit applications are assessed by the Commission every year, and some, like this particular project, stand out for their exceptional design and the sensitivity the architect and owners have shown to the Escarpment landscape.  

The award was presented on Thursday, May 21, 2009. Left to right: homeowner Barry Parrell, NEC Chair Don Scott and architect Paul Syme of 3rd UNCLE design inc.

Blue Mountain House award presentationBlue Mountain House - photo courtesy 3rd UNCLE design inc.

  • Blais/Green residential design - Grey County

Left to right: NEC Chair Don Scott, homeowner Marvin Green and architect Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance.

NEC Chair Don Scott, homeowner Marvin Green and architect Peter Clewes

The Blais/Green residence is located in the County of Grey north of Kimberley on a property under the Niagara Escarpment Plan designations Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection Areas. Designed by Rob Cadeau & Peter Clewes of Toronto's architectsAlliance, this unique home and garage with viewing platform is a modern interpretation of 19th century Ontario farm homestead. Nestled among working farm fields and an orchard, the home's scale, siting and landscaping reflect great sensitivity to the rural landscape and the cultural heritage of the rural community. The homeowners also planted 2,500 trees on their property, providing further screening and ecological benefit to the property. The Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award was presented to Marvin Green and Peter Clewes on July 18, 2009 in Georgetown, Ontario.

  • Featherstone Estate Winery

From left to right: Niagara West-Glanbrook MP Dean Allison with Featherstone owners Louise Engel and David Johnson.

Featherstone presentationsheep labour at Featherstone

Featherstone’s operators Louise Engel and David Johnson are farmers and entrepreneurs whose deep respect for their property and its unique ecology is demonstrated in very creative ways. This is a farm where sheep, birds of prey and insects are as hardworking as the winery production team. Using natural and sustainable methods for vineyard maintenance, Featherstone is leading the way in ecologically-sensitive farming.  

In addition to the ecologically sound practices on their farm, Featherstone operators have made outstanding efforts to preserve the property’s historic charm. The farm’s buildings are maintained respecting the historic cultural landscape of this very scenic rural community. The Niagara Escarpment Commission encourages landowners to consider their properties’ cultural and ecological landscape and Featherstone is an exceptional model of that awareness. 

  • The Optimist Club of Greensville

The Optimist Club of Greensville receives NE AwardWebster's Falls bridge

The Optimist Club of Greensville was honoured for its restoration of the beautiful cobblestone bridge at Webster's Falls. NEC Director Mark Frawley, Hamilton Councillor Robert Pasuta, and Optimist Club members George Flosman, Brian Green and Woody Thompson joined Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Councillor Lloyd Ferguson for the presentation on Sept. 30th, 2009.

The Optimist Club of Greensville, with the support of the Trillium Foundation, the Town of Dundas and numerous community members and groups, spearheaded the bridge’s restoration, saving the original 1938 structure from possible demolition. Spanning Spencer Creek at Webster’s Falls, the cobblestone bridge is a treasured local landmark in the Town of Dundas.


  • Regional Municipality of Halton

Region of Halton receives Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award

On October 28, 2009 the Regional Municipality of Halton received the Niagara Escarpment Achievement Award for its outstanding forest management plan.

Six tracts of forests (423 ha) owned by the Region are included in the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area.The Halton Regional Forest Management Plan sets high standards in both protecting and managing an extensive woodland corridor. The associated value to the Niagara Escarpment program is significant in that it marries the principles of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act and Niagara Escarpment Plan to the reality of managing forests in a sustainable and ecological manner.

Photo above from left to right: Ron Reinholt, Regional Forester; Richard Murzin, NEC Communications Mgr; Niagara Escarpment Commissioner Allan Elgar; Regional Chair Gary Carr; Mark Menary, Commissioner Legislative and Planning Services and Carolyn DeLoyde, Senior Planner.

Recipients of the Niagara Escarpment Achivement Award by Region:

(Prior to 2009 and 2012 series, above)

Award for Individual Achievement

Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association - 2005
G.H.U. ("Terk") Bayly - 1999
Friends of the Bruce District Parks & The Canadian Coast Guard - 1999
Malcolm (Mac) Kirk - 2005
Dr. Doug Larson, Dr. Uta Matthes, John Gerrath & Pete Kelly and The Cliff Ecology Research Group, University of Guelph - 2002/03
James Pearson - 2005
Dr. Walter M. Tovell - 1995
Ben Vanderbrug - 2002/03
Warren Wiley - 1997

Bruce County

Grey Sauble Conservation Authority - Spirit Rock staircase - 1988
Robert Knapp - relocation and restoration of log cabin -1990
Eric Lipson & Lorene Sterner; William Middleton & Veronica Sanitate; John & Susan Sanitate - 2005
John MacDougall - house design, siting -1995
Tom Schneider - house and driveway siting - 1991-92
The Bruce Trail Conservancy and Marcus Wright Minhinnick Family - construction of a lookout - 2002/03
Gayle Thomas & Edna Gibbons - log house converted to antique shop - 1989  

City of Hamilton

Frances & Jim Bull - house design and siting -1993-94
David & Ronald Ciancone - Ancaster Old Mill preservation and landscaping - 1988
City of Hamilton - redesign and landscaping of Sam Lawrence Park - 1997
Derek Hudson - house design and siting and construction of carport & garage - 1999
Christina Chan & Jean Faught - architectural design -1990
Kathleen & Edward Greenall - house design and siting -1991-92
Hamilton Region Conservation Authority - Administration Centre historical preservation - 1988
Eleanor & Richard Kosydar - naturalized landscaping -1995
Bonnie & Jim McNab - reproduction house design and siting -1989
Optimist Club of Greensville
Jaqueline Schneider - architectural preservation and redevelopment -1989
Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth - Escarpment Rail Trail -1995
West Flamboro Presbyterian Church - addition to a church and signage - 2002/03  

Dufferin County

John Cholvat - addition design -1995
Michael Laine - 2005
Peggy & Hurray Dryden - house design and location -1989
W. Duron/M. Bongarets- site design & reconstruction - 1999
Larry & Linda Graham - house and garage design - 1997
Dr. Leslie & Valerie Marien - house design and siting -1988
Reinis & Pille Piegaze - house design and siting -1993-94
Jim Ryan - house design and siting -1991-92
Janet, Don, Eryn, Andrew & Ethan Sinclair - house design and siting - 2002/03
Barry Siskind builder/Ray Aubie owner - traditional rural architecture - 1990
Susan Widgerson - house design and siting -1989
Helen Zukerman - house design and site - 1999  

Grey County

Arnold Bennett - house design and siting - 1995
Tony Cesaroni - house design, rehabilitated gravel pits to farm field - 1990
Dave Durrant - house design and siting - 2002/03
Henry Gilas - Rainmaker Estates Inc. - 2005
Grey County Highways Department / Markdale Horticultural Society - Beaver Valley Lookout - 1988
Alistair Lessels - subdivision design and landscaping - 1988
Erven & Gail Mackintosh - house design and siting - 2002/03
Douglas Matthews & Rick Grillmayer - stream rehabilitation - 1997
H. Nordin - house design and siting - 1991-92
Alois & Renate Reissler - 2005
Wolter & Virginia Ten Cate - house design and siting - 1999
Peter Richardson - house design and siting -1995
Allen Stone - house design and siting - 1988
Talisman Mountain Resort - parking lot landscaping -1993-94
Nick Upton & Sandy Phillips - naturalization/wetland project - 1999
Marie & Lorie Waisberg - house design and siting - 1989

Halton Region

Peggy & Gordon Sturgeon - house design and siting -1988
Branthaven Homes Ltd. - Dakota Mills Subdivision -1989
Cango Inc. and Cy Armstrong (Agent) - construction of a service station and signage - 2002/03
Credit Valley Conservation - man-made wetland complex: Terra Cotta Conservation Area - 1997
Halton Region Conservation Authority - Crawford Lake Conservation Area / Nassagaweya Canyon Lookout -1989
Marlene V.C. Hume
Ritta & Gottfried Plansky - landscaping and berming of greenhouses -1988
Regional Municipality of Halton: Planning & Public Works Dept. - road reconstruction - 2002/03
Judi & Robert Story - house design and siting -1993-94
Town of Halton Hills - reconstruction of 10th Sideroad - 1999
Janet Watkins - extensive naturalized landscaping -1995
Alayne & Bruce White - house siting, landscaping, pond rehabilitation -1989
Zannibbi Estate - house design and siting -1990  

Peel Region

Grice Coppeland - house design and siting -1990
Jennifer & Stephen Dattels - 2005
George & Bonnie Ledson - 2005
Ann Nelson - house design and siting -1995
Gloria & Robert Nelson - house design and siting -1989
Ellen & John Pennie -house design and siting -1988
Regional Municipality of Peel - construction of inground water reservoir - 1999
Peter Rhodes - house and storage building design - 1997
Judith & Ted Solecki - house and site design and siting -1993-94
John & Mary Tingle - house design and siting -1988
Brian & Tia Walters - house design and siting - 2002/03  

Region of Niagara

Carol & Bill Bannister - renovation of grist mill -1993-94
Albert H. Brouwer - house design and garage - 1999
Friends of the Morningstar Mill - restoration of grist mill - 2005
Carmela & Vito Golia - house in quarry and quarry landscaping -1988
Jon Jouppien - restoration of heritage home -1990
Stan Masales & Mike Piggins - barn design and siting -1995
Paul & Catherine Nemy - house design and garage - 2002/03
Reinhard Reitzenstein & Gayle Young - house design and siting - 1997
David Rose - house design and siting/landscaping -1991-92
Stamford Centre Volunteer Fireman's Association - landfill site conversion to park - 1989
Walker Brothers Quarry - quarry rehabilitation and landscaping -1993-94
Vineland Quarries & Crushed Stone Ltd. - rehabilition of a quarry slope to an experimental vineyard - 2002/03  

Simcoe County

D. Barrat & F. Cocking - rehabilitation of a driveway on an unstable slope - 1991-92
Gord & Patti Cunningham - 2005
Dr. William Franks - garage design and siting - 1988
Marleen Grolman & Scott Lorimar - house design and siting - 1993-94
James McCartney - addition design and landscaping - 1995
Pamela & Allan McFarlane - realigning and landscaping a driveway - 1993-94
R. Randall - house and garage design - 1997
James Wright - converted barn -1989  



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