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April 28, 2022
2020/2021 Oxford Stewardship Award winner announced

Teresa Piraino and family recognized for their stewardship efforts


Oxford County Warden Larry Martin presented the 2020/2021 Oxford Stewardship Award to Teresa Piraino at a virtual presentation during last night’s meeting of County Council, in recognition of her and her family’s efforts toward land improvement and sustainability.

Piraino was singled out by the award selection committee for her passion and commitment to preserving the natural beauty of their 55-acre property in Blandford-Blenheim Township. Teresa, a wildlife biologist, demonstrates how mixing work with pleasure is growing stewardship.

Teresa and her family have developed a one-acre wetland as well as different microhabitats and microclimates to attract and retain more than 1,000 different species of plants and animals they have recorded on their property. They have also created a pollinator field and have built large underground habitats to protect the snake population.

Teresa was among three short-listed candidates chosen from a pool of projects supported by the Clean Water Program. The program is funded by Oxford County and administered by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and promotes water quality improvement, as well as woodland and wetland conservation and enhancement. All of this year’s finalists undertook various land improvements to protect the local environment.

Oxford County is once again honouring this year’s Oxford Stewardship Award recipient with original artwork commissioned from a local artist. As the 2020/2021 winner, Teresa will receive a $500 gift certificate towards the purchase of original artwork by Wendy Gielis and a gift basket of local products from Your Farm Market.

In addition to this prize, she will also be added to the recognition wall at the Oxford County Administration Building, designed to honour all past, and future, recipients of the Oxford Stewardship Award.

The winner of the Oxford Stewardship Award is chosen by representatives of local stewardship organizations, with Wes Hart, Soil & Crop Improvement Association, and Cher Sprague, Stewardship Oxford, leading the judging process. This year’s other short-listed candidates included:

  • John McRoberts, East Zorra-Tavistock Township
    Read more.  
     
  • Chris Lee and family, Norwich Township
    Read more.

Comment

Larry Martin, Warden, County of Oxford

“Oxford County has a proud history of environmental stewardship, and our landowners continue to demonstrate a deep respect and commitment to protecting our natural environment for future generations. I am honoured to present the 12th annual Oxford Stewardship Award in recognition of efforts to preserve and enhance natural features and areas.”

Teresa Piraino, Oxford Stewardship Award winner (2020/2021)

“It’s been very exciting for us to see the habitat changes and the growing species list over the last few years. We truly feel that our efforts thus far have really benefited the local wildlife and we hope that we can inspire others in our community to do what they can to protect wild spaces.

It is an honour to even be considered among the other great stewardship projects taking place in Oxford County.”

Background

  • The Oxford Stewardship Award recipient is generally chosen by Stewardship Oxford and the Oxford Soil & Crop Improvement Association from the pool of projects that received financial and/or technical assistance through the County-supported Clean Water Program the previous year. The Clean Water Program, administered by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, helps to fund and support the conservation and enhancement of natural heritage resources in Oxford County. In 2020/2021, more than 66 Clean Water projects were funded in Oxford County. This reflected over $357,000 in total project value. Oxford County currently supports the program with an annual contribution of $70,000. For more information on the Clean Water Program, visit www.cleanwaterprogram.ca
  • The Oxford Stewardship Award was established in 2009 to recognize County landowners who have made outstanding contributions to protecting our natural heritage. 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 natural features and areas, such as woodlands, wetlands, streams and meadows. The current stewardship award serves to acknowledge the important role that all landowners can play in preserving and enhancing the County’s natural environment.
  • Wendy Gielis is an artist from Oxford County. For more information, visit https://www.wendygielisart.ca/

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About Oxford County

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 125,000 people across eight area municipalities that are “growing stronger together.” As a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government, Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, becoming a zero waste community and working towards zero poverty. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that is driving innovation in sustainable industries and diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.


COVID-19: Oxford County follows guidance from Southwestern Public Health and the Government of Ontario. See updates on our programs and services at www.oxfordcounty.ca/COVID-19