WANTED: Nominees for our Outstanding in Stewardship Award!

The OTIS Award is a way to recognize individuals, farms & businesses, organizations, and youth in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds who are OuTstanding In Stewardship. Stewardship is taking action to care for our watershed, including the land, air, water, and biodiversity. It also supports healthy communities, including our culture and economy, now and into the future.

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 2021 OTIS Award!


2020 OTIS Award Winners

Individual: Glen Hvenegaard — Professor of Nature

Dr. Glen Hvenegaard as been a professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus since 1994. It has been said that it is in Glen’s nature to care for Nature.

Glen has shared his knowledge and passion for the natural world with countless students, inspiring environmental conservation and action for sustainability. Glen has been a part of several regional, provincial and international associations, and authored and co-authors numerous research projects and articles.

In the community, Glen actively promotes stewardship as the organizer of the annual Camrose Christmas Bird Count, and through the Camrose Wildlife and Stewardship Society. In this capacity, he supports environmental education and outreach events, and the Camrose Purple Martin Project. Through his numerous professional and volunteer roles, Glen has proven to be an outstanding steward of nature.

Glen holds a purple martin who has been banded.

Business: Camrose Energy — Energy Engagement

Camrose Energy, founded and operated by Denise and Russell Hawkins, is a leading local energy supply business focused on accessibility, sustainability, and supporting the community.

Camrose Energy are strong believers in moving towards renewable energy. They offer the Green Energy Program, which allows customers to choose how much of their energy consumption comes from green sources. They also host the Solar Club Program, which supports micro-generators, for only the cost of a donation to the local food bank. To give back to the community, Camrose Energy also donates 10% of their profits to one of four organizations, including the Battle River Watershed Alliance.

Camrose Energy is dedicated to customer education and incentives, assisting local people and organizations to transition to renewable energy and more sustainable heating options. Their attention to details and community participation makes them outstanding energy stewards!

Organization: Millet & District Museum — Curating Stewardship

The Millet & District Museum is taking an active role in learning about nature, climate, and sustainability, and sharing that knowledge with others.

In the spring of 2020, the Museum completed a two-year project to research Millet’s native plants. In partnership with the Millet in Bloom committee, an outdoor classroom was placed in the Pipestone Park, along the Eyot Creek. The classroom contains seating and signage presenting the Museum’s native plant research. The Museum’s summer programs were also designed to contain environmentally themes, like planting seeds, and to generate less paper waste than previous years.

In 2019, Museum staff participated in the Battle River Watershed Alliance’s Finding Common Ground 2.0 energy tour. They then shared their experience with “Our Common Ground” presentations within the local community, as well as with the Central Alberta Regional Museums Network. The museum took action and reduced their energy use and carbon footprint by investing in higher efficiency lighting, motion sensor faucets, use environmentally friendly gardening techniques, and using less new materials by reusing or repurposing. They also slowly adjusted the overall temperature of the collections storage spaces, allowing artefacts to be safely kept at a warmer temperature, using less air conditioning

By bringing environmental awareness to the community and to other museums, taking personal action, and providing outdoor learning spaces, the Millet & District Museum is curating stewardship!

Youth: Hughenden Public School —
Inquiry-Based Energy Education

Youth at Hughenden Public School have had some fantastic inquiry-based learning opportunities thanks to their Science teacher Susan Reynolds. The school-wide Inquire at HPS and Beyond project aims to foster a culture of innovation, inquiry, problem solving and critical thinking particularly associated with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) fields, including energy focused inquiry-based lab activities.

Some of these projects included using outdoor burners to gather thermo chemistry data and conduct calculations about fuel combustion. The outdoor-ed class then used the camp stoves and compared them to camp stoves made out of recycled materials. Grade 10 students used putt putt boats to learn about harnessing energy from combustion to steam. The program also integrates guest speakers, many hands-on activities, and collaboration across grades and with other schools.

The students and teachers at Hughenden School are showing how hands-on learning can be fun, educational, and help our future leaders become stewards of our watersheds.

past winners

2019 OTIS Award Winners

Individual: Pres Winter – Blue Bird Trail

Business/Organization: City of Wetaskiwin – Municipal Sustainability

Youth: Junior Forest Wardens, The Grove Grizzlies – Creek Restoration

Farm: Brenda Bohmer, Brenlea Farms – Improving Practices for Wetlands


Individual: Don and Marie Ruzicka – Leading by Example

Business/Organization: Nica’s Hair Salon – Reduce Salon Waste

Youth: Wainwright Girl Guides – Park Clean-up and Beautification

Farm: Tin Forest Farm – Caretakers of Farm Wetlands


*Starting in 2017, we moved from 3 OTIS Award categories to 4.

Individual: Tom Tomaszewski – Conservation Volunteer

Business/Organization: Buffalo Lake Naturalist Club – Sharing their love of nature

Youth: Katelynn Cook – Environmental Educator

Farm: MSW Farms – Beneficial Agricultural Practices


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

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