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2012 Oxford Stewardship Award winner announced
November 29, 2012
2012 Oxford Stewardship Award winner announced
Oostview Farm Ltd. recognized for respect for its farm and the environment, past, present and future

County of Oxford Warden Don McKay presented the 2012 Oxford Stewardship Award to Zorra Township residents Mary Anne, Roeland and Hugh Van Oostveen last night for their voluntary efforts to help protect the quality of Oxford’s soil, water and air.

Singled out by the Oxford Stewardship Award selection committee for their deep commitment to conservation efforts, the Van Oostveens help protect soil, water and air quality through a variety of measures, including  innovative water diversion, naturalization of marginal land, soil preservation and restoration and farm management practices. The Van Oostveens represent the production farmer with considerable respect for both their farm and the environment, past, present and future.

The Van Oostveens were chosen from a pool of three finalists whose environmental stewardship practices were supported by the Clean Water Program, a program to promote rural water quality funded by the County of Oxford and administered by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.

In keeping with the theme of celebrating and supporting local achievement, the County of Oxford is again honouring this year’s Oxford Stewardship Award recipient with original artwork commissioned from a local artist. As the 2012 winner, the Van Oostveens received a $500 gift certificate towards the purchase of a work of art by local painter, Cathy Groulx of Woodstock.

The winner of the Oxford Stewardship Award is chosen by Stewardship Oxford and the Oxford Soil & Crop Improvement Association, with Ian Mayberry, Soil & Crop Improvement Association, and Cher Sprague, Stewardship Oxford, leading the judging process. This year’s other short-listed nominees included:
  • Andra and Darin Willits from South West Oxford, who planted a field windbreak along the north boundary of their property, planted large hardwoods along the roadside and worked with Ducks Unlimited and Oxford Stewardship to enhance a wet area of the farm into a pond for and grassed buffer zone for water fowl; and
  • Ross Campbell, who owns and operates 100 acre organic farm in East Zorra-Tavistock and has planted several field windbreaks around the farm as part of conversion to organic farming. Mr. Campbell has also been involved in educating extension staff and local farmers about his experience and the benefits of planting windbreaks.

Background

Candidates for the Oxford Stewardship Award are drawn from recipients of the previous year’s Clean Water Program incentive funding. Funding is available for sustainable woodlands conservation and management; soil erosion prevention and remediation; protection of surface and groundwater; proper fuel handling and storage; and other conservation initiatives. In 2011, a total of 103 projects were funded through the Clean Water Program in Oxford County. For more information on the Clean Water Program, visit www.cleanwaterprogram.ca

The Oxford Stewardship Award was established in 2009. It builds on the legacy of the former Landsaver Award, which was granted between 1982 and 2003 to recognize outstanding contributions by the farming community toward the conservation of land, water and air. The development of a stewardship award to acknowledge the role rural landowners play in preserving natural heritage was one of the recommend actions in the Oxford Natural Heritage Study

Cathy Groulx is a painter based out of Woodstock, Ontario. Cathy exhibits regularly in galleries, juried shows and various other venues, primarily in Ontario. She has had work in galleries in France, the USA and Denmark. She curated an exhibition of seven artists' work, including her own, that went to the Netherlands in 2009 to represent Canada. For more information, visit www.cathygroulx.com


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