Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

March 24, 2011 15:29 ET

OFAH Applauds Conservation Leaders

Conservation Awards Presented at Annual OFAH Conference

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2011) - Several conservation and leadership awards were presented to worthy OFAH members, clubs, partners, and professionals at the 83rd Annual Fish and Wildlife Conference hosted by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). The winners were chosen by a panel of judges who had the difficult task of selecting one recipient for each category from the pool of deserving candidates. The Mary Pickford Award, R. G. Morgan Professional Conservation Award, Ontario Hunting Heritage Award, Larry Wallace Memorial Volunteer Award and Gord Bake Memorial Conservation Award were each presented during the three-day event, which was held from March 17 to 19, and attracted over 500 outdoor enthusiasts.

The Sydenham Sportsmen's Association was awarded the Mary Pickford Award, the OFAH's top club honor for the eighth time in their history. They first took the trophy in 1977, and in the past decade, have won another four times. One judge commented: "Great efforts to sustain angling and hunting, but also biodiversity. Very impressive work indeed." The Atikokan Sportsmen's Conservation Club, Grenville Fish and Game Club, Long Point & Area Fish & Game Club and North Shore Steelhead Association received honorable mention.

Mark Emery, Ken Maronets and Kit Brown shared the R. G. Morgan Professional Conservation Award for their innovative initiative to recruit new hunters. Through their respective Ontario Stewardship councils, the men began hosting Youth Hunting Day events in 2003, linking it to the Hunter Safety Apprentice Program for youth. They have since been refining and growing the program, and are currently working with neighboring stewardship councils, the OFAH and other provincial organizations to expand the successful model across Ontario.

Bill McKittrick of Brantford was the recipient of the Ontario Hunting Heritage Award. McKittrick was the driving force behind the Ministry of Natural Resources' mandatory Hunter Safety/Hunter Education Program from 1968 until his retirement in the late 1990's. Bill was a founding member of the North American Association of Hunter Safety Coordinators, (now the International Hunter Education Association) and is still an active provincial trainer and hunter education instructor.

Michele and Kevin Vardy of Coldwater, in the Georgian Bay area, were voted the 2010 winners of the Larry Wallace Memorial Award for their significant contributions to youth conservation education. The husband and wife team mentor the Georgian Bay Get Outdoors Club youth and are actively involved in the outdoor community. In nominating them, parents described the couple as "incredible people…the children respect and admire these two wonderful individuals," and "they exemplify everything we are looking for in a volunteer to represent the values and goals of the OFAH."

Don Fairbairn of London was awarded the Gord Blake Memorial Conservation Award, which is given annually to the individual who has done outstanding conservation work in a volunteer capacity. Don's length of service and efforts to pass on his appreciation for the outdoors to youth stood out with the judges. Among the many initiatives Don has led and been involved in over his 40 years with the Federation, are the OFAH Zone J Youth Campout, which he launched in 1988 and still coordinates, the Big Boy Fishing Tournament, and the Wildwood Fishing Youth Day.

This year, conference sessions held on Friday, March 18 were livestreamed via the Internet. Speakers included Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey, OFAH Executive Director Mike Reader, provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea, as well as fish and wildlife experts. Videos of the sessions can be viewed online at www.ofah.org/conference/conferencevideo.html.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member clubs, the OFAH is the largest nonprofit fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Lezlie Goodwin
    Manager of Communications
    705-748-6324 ext. 270 or Cell: 705-760-5537