The OTIS Award is a way to recognize businesses, organizations, individuals, and youth in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds who are OuTstanding In Stewardship. Stewardship can be defined as “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.” To us, a steward takes action in making our watershed a better place to live for all life, and the life of future generations.
The OTIS award is named after the star character in the book series “Otis and Friends: Environmental Adventures.” This series was written by Ponoka high-school students in our Caring for our Watersheds Contest. Otis and his friends help people take action to create a better watershed. OTIS is also an acronym for OutsTanding In Stewardship! Otis, his authors, and the OTIS Award Winners are examples for us all.
Nominate someone you know for the 2018 OTIS Award!
Tom is a founding member of the Camrose and District Fish and Game Association, and led the group to purchase Pleasure Island–122 acres of land three miles east of Camrose. Tom’s vision was a place where everyone including the youth, seniors, and people with disabilities could fish, hike, view wildlife, or just enjoy the beauty of the land. Thanks to Tom’s leadership, many improvements have been made to the property including; a 2,112-foot walkway (including two bridges), a fishing dock, a washroom, benches and picnic tables, and the planting of several hundred trees. Tom has helped install bird houses throughout Camrose and at Pleasure Island. Tom’s love for wildlife, his desire to make Pleasure Island accessible and open to everyone, and the hundreds of volunteer hours he has contributed have made the City of Camrose an example of land and wildlife conservation.
MSW Farms is family-owned and operated. Located along the Battle River north-west of Ponoka. Owners Mark and Tina Stewart have undertaken a number of stewardship projects including four off-site watering systems and over two kilometres of fencing along the river. These projects help remove livestock pressure from the riverbanks, allowing riparian plants to improve water quality, protect fish habitat, and prevent soil erosion. The Stewarts have also planted nearly 7,000 trees, with the help of Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society. Through these actions, MSW Farms has demonstrated how agricultural practices and watershed stewardship go hand-in-hand.
The Buffalo Lake Naturalists Club, based out of Stettler, was formed in 1973. They work to encourage local Albertans to increase their appreciation and knowledge of the natural world. The club hosts a variety of activities which are open to the public, including monthly presentations, field trips, and outdoor activities. They also promote their message through a variety of communication channels. The club also takes part in conservation and monitoring projects such as the Christmas Bird Count, and butterfly inventories, and are Caretakers for several Important Bird Areas. Members of the Buffalo Lake Naturalists are helping steward our watersheds, as well as educate and engage new stewards. Connect with them on Facebook.
Katelynn is an Environmental Science student at the University of Alberta, Augustana campus. She has passion and skills to take people into the natural world and support them to connect with and appreciate nature. Katelynn has volunteered in numerous school clubs and programs, proving her commitment to stewardship. She has volunteered to take youth on multi-day canoe trips, participated in beaver monitoring project, and has designed and delivered environmental education programs for families and youth. Katelynn is helping to inspire the next generations of environmental leaders, as well as walk lightly on the earth while enjoying all its beauty.
Individual: Susan Ellis – Pigeon Lake Leadership
Business/Organization: Chinook Applied Research Association- Agricultural Best Management
Youth: Lougheed Colony School- Tree Stewardship
Individual: Roy and Judy Louis-Water Ceremony Leadership
Business/Organization: Blue Dot Camrose- City Declaration of Environmental Rights
Youth: Mina Shin and Brooklyn Green- Greening Golf Courses
Individual: Midge Lambert- Watershed restoration
Business/Organization: County of Vermilion River,- Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS)
Youth: EcoVision- Local Food production
Individual: Mike Black-Battle Lake Stewards
Youth: Maven Boddy and the Golden Prairie 4H club- Riparian Restoration
Business/Organization: Lacombe County-Environmental Management
Individual: Carol Wilson- Stewardship Advocate
Youth Category: Kaitlin Lomas, Katie and Vicki Wyering, Melissa Gartner-Otis and Friends Book series authors
Business/Organization: Darcy and Candace Goodrich, Pure Stock County Farms- Eco-farmers