SEN Hero

9th Annual Environmental Activism Awards

The Saskatchewan Eco Network held its 9th Annual Environmental Activist Awards in Spring 2011 as part of SEN's Environmental Film Festival, See the Change Bee the Change. This year a number of fine individuals and groups received awards at the Saskatoon and Regina Festivals. Congratulations to all of the recipients!

Saskatoon Recipients

Over the last twenty-one years, Allyson Brady has been strongly committed to Saskatchewan's Environment. She came to the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) fresh from graduation with an arts degree and from summer jobs in Prince Albert National Park, the latter confirming for her the intention to dedicate her working life to preservation of natural ecosystems. After 14 years as SES's Information Coordinator, Allyson became the Society's Executive Director in 2005. In addition to her SES management roles, Allyson has played a unique role in protection of Saskatchewan's forest ecosystem. For several years she led the Society's research and advocacy work on forest issues. She tirelessly engaged with Mistik Management, a forest harvesting company, mentoring them through the process of achieving certification under the Forest Stewardship Council. She fought a valiant battle over the town of Waskesiu's plan to use insecticide spray within the National Park. She has done careful research and has written information sheets about sustainability issues in the boreal forest region. At the national level, Allyson spent several years as chair of the Canadian Environmental Network's Forest Caucus. In all her work, her warm and generous personality, her meticulous attention to accuracy and her unfailing dedication have made her one of Saskatchewan's most effective and respected environmental activists.

Michael Finley has been prominent in many areas of the law during his legal career. He has applied his legal knowledge and experience in several different offices on which he has sat, variously on the Zoning Appeals Board and the Meewasin Valley Authority Appeal Board. Michael and his partner Anne have a seasonal residence located at the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve. They have been involved with the Biosphere Foundation, on its governance, and as committed volunteers instrumental in mapping and establishing the eco trails and sites situated around the lake. Michael is identified in Biosphere literature as a being a "local botany expert" in the confines of Redberry Lake Reserve. Michael is reputed to have identified and keyed every plant within the Reserve. Michael has been involved in several other environmental organizations and endeavours, most notably the Saskatoon Nature Society where he rivals Frank Roy as a "bird brain extraordinaire", Caswell Hill Neighbourhood Association where he has fostered interest in urban nature by organizing and leading 'walks' through Jane's Walks identifying ecologically sensitive and important parts of Caswell Hill enrvironment in Saskatoon. But perhaps where Michael might be identified as more than just a 'casual environmentalist' is in his leadership on the protection and preservation of forests in Saskatchewan. Michael has been associated with the Saskatchewan Forest Conservation Exchange which has been largely responsible for providing an overview of Saskatchewan's forests, particularly managing the health and conservation of Saskatchewan forests and for taking ownership of developing an on-line guide to Saskatchewan boreal forest trees and eco-regions, highlighting for both government and stakeholders some "hot spots" where long term conservation required 'forest co- management plans' particularly in northeast Saskatchewan. Michael is also published, contributing to Canadian Forest Policy :Adapting to Change, University of Toronto Press, 2001, in which he wrote a chapter on the Future of Saskatchewan's Forests.

Robert Regnier has a passion for social justice which he brings to his work as an academic and an activist. Robert's reputation as a courageous critic of the nuclear industry goes way back to his involvement with OXFAM-Canada, with the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation and most prominently with the Inter-Church Uranium Committee. Robert has put in many hours over the years in research, writing, committee work and public activism on environmental issues, particularly those relating to nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste. At the University of Saskatchewan, Robert has been a model and a mentor for many Education students in fostering their interest in environmental issues. As an established academic Robert has also provided an authoritative, experienced voice for the anti-nuclear movement in Saskatchewan.

Regina Recipients

Trevor Herriot is the author of such award-winning and influential books as River in a Dry Land, an extended love letter to the Qu'Appelle Valley, and Grass, Sky, Song, a plea for the conservation of grassland birds. Both books have achieved national and international attention and praise. (Please see attached CV.) Locally, Trevor is also widely known and appreciated as the expert "birdman" on CBC radio's bi-monthly "Bird Line." Behind the scenes, Trevor serves as a spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy of Canada and as the volunteer Conservation Director for Nature Saskatchewan, a role that sees him involved in everything from a new wolf policy for the provincial government to the Watershed Authority's management of Fishing Lake and Lake Lenore. In addition, he leads field trips for Nature Regina and other groups, and participates in three Christmas Birds Counts and two Breeding Bird surveys every year. In 2010 he led 13 people on a Baillie Birdathon and, together with his wife, Karen, hosted a birding festival, "Bright Wings," events that together raised a couple thousand dollars for the Last Mountain Bird Observatory and Bird Studies Canada. Trevor Herriott is a force for conservation, in Saskatchewan and beyond.

Glen Sutter is Curator of Human Ecology and Head of Biology and Environmental Studies at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. He currently also teaches Education Foundations at the U of S and Biology at the University of Regina. He is a founding member of the Canadian Working Group on Museums and Sustainable Communities (WGMSC) started in 2000. Glenn previously chaired the Saskatchewan Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Network and was the provincial representative on ESD Canada. In the late 1980s, he worked for the Royal Society of Canada as coordinator of the Canadian Global Change Program. Glenn received the Award of Excellence, Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) in recognition of The Human Factor exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (2002) and chaired the Steering Committee for the Sustainable Youth Forum in 2004. The Forum gives Regina and district high-school students a chance to take action through projects that touch on all aspects of sustainability and that make a real difference to their communities.

Lyle Benko has been a positive and relentless force in the environmental education field for almost four decades, initially as a K-12 teacher and School Administrator, and then as a Science & Math Consultant and a Supervisor for Program Services for the Regina Catholic School Division. More recently, as a Faculty Advisor at the University of Regina, he helped emerging teachers learn about Environmental Education, Science Education, and Educational Professional Studies, winning the University of Regina “Inspiring Teacher Award.” His teaching has also won the Award of Merit from the Saskatchewan Science Teachers’ Society, and the provincial “SOEEA AWARD for Outstanding contribution to Environmental and Outdoor Education.” Lyle now describes himself as ‘semi-retired’ but he shows no signs of slowing down. He sits on the SaskPower Shand Greenhouse Board, Learning for a Sustainable Future Board, the City of Regina’s Environmental Advisory Committee, the Saskatchewan Education for Sustainable Development Network (ESD) Steering Committee, and has just completed his term with the Friends of Wascana Marsh Steering Committee. Also, as president of L*A*M*B* Environmental and Educational Consulting, he is deeply involved with international, national, provincial and municipal efforts to address sustainability and climate change issues. Driven by his passion for teaching and his concern for future generations, Lyle Benko has devoted countless hours to the pursuit of environmental action and activism through education.