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Please Promote: 2017 SWCS Ontario A.D. Latornell Award of Merit for Students

Do you know of an aspiring student in conservation? Would they benefit from the assistance and networking opportunity provided by the Arthur D. Latornell Award of Merit?

The application form SWCS_Student_Application_2017.docx is now available for the 2017 A.D. Latornell Award of Merit presented annually by the Ontario Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) ( . The A.D. Latornell Award of Merit Program recognizes and celebrates Art's commitment and service to SWCS and Ontario. Art was involved in virtually every aspect of resources conservation during his lifetime and was a role model for many beginning a career in conservation.

Students enrolled in college, Bachelor's or Master's programs in natural resources sciences and management are eligible. Ph.D. students are not eligible. There have been award winners from a wide range of disciplines in the past. Consider promoting to worthy students you have hired in the past.

Due date to receive applications is September 25, 2017.

The award winner is announced at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in Alliston, Tuesday November 21, 2017​​. Award winners are provided registration to attend that day to receive their award, as well as $600 and a year's membership in SWCS.

Any questions about the application or award can be directed towards Award Committee Chair, Pamela Joosse at

Please help promote the award to make sure those worthy of Art's legacy are considered.

Pamela Joosse
Award Committee Chair

The Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario is a group of farmers who share many of the same goals and ideas as SWCS. Sustainable farming practices, innovative approaches to managing fields for productivity and environmental protection, and sharing learnings with their fellow members. For this reason SWCS Ontario has decided to sponsor this year's Innovative Farmers 2017 Conference that takes place next week.

As part of this sponsorship, we have one free conference registration. We are offering it to the first SWCS Ontario member who asks for it. Please contact us at to ask for the registration. We'd be pleased if you let us announce your name on our website and to share a short note about your soil and water conservation activities. Send us an email to see if you are the first to request the one conference registration.

The conference takes place at the Lamplighter Inn in London Ontario on Tues/Wed 21/22 February.

The conference is sold out so this is your last chance to still attend. An email is being sent to all Ontario Chapter members as a bcc email so everyone has the same chance (if your emails is on file and your membership is current as of last week). Good luck! We'll be monitoring our email inbox.

Conference Hotel
Best Western Lamplighter Inn
591 Wellington Rd S, London

The Ontario Chapter of SWCS is happy to announce that the Award Committee has selected Meaghan Mechler as this year's recipient of the A.D. Latornell Award of Merit for 2016.

Meaghan Mechler
2016 A.D. Latornell Award of Merit winner

Meaghan Mechler is beginning her Masters of Geography and Environmental Management, studying soil biogeochemistry at the University of Waterloo where she completed a joint honours degree in Biology, and Environment & Resource Studies. She has been “passionate about studying soils and agriculture since her second year of undergrad” and found herself taking numerous water, soil, botany, and microbiology courses. Meaghan is excited about soils, in particular agricultural soils, and the strong influence soil management and health can have on both water and air quality. “Soil degradation is an issue of serious importance” to her and she would “advocate that many others would reflect upon soil impacts in their work so that a larger quantity and diversity of solutions to soil degradation could be found”.

Apart from her studies, Meaghan has been analyzing the soil quality on her family’s organically-managed farm and designing a soil-building permaculture experiment to conserve the land, biodiversity, and spring-fed creeks on the property. For many years Meaghan has been involved with the County of Wellington Green Legacy program. There she contributed in many ways to the planting of trees for buffer zones and living windbreaks, as well as teaching school children about local biodiversity and resource conservation. Meaghan hopes this award will provide opportunities for networking to connect her to SWCS and other resources to further her education and studies, but as importantly to discover ways she can develop and contribute her evolving skills to projects in the soil and water conservation community.

Congratulations Meaghan!

Healthy agricultural soil is a living and dynamic ecosystem, and one of the foundations of life. Read about Ontario's development of a new soil health and conservation strategy.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, for the Province of Ontario is seeking comments on a proposed Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy. Information is available on the Environmental Registry and on OMAFRA's website.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is developing an Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy. Specifically, OMAFRA is seeking feedback on a Discussion Document that outlines a draft vision, goals and objectives for the strategy.

Healthy agricultural soils are essential in order to ensure ongoing productivity and competitiveness in Ontario’s agri-food sector as well as food security for the province and the world. Both security of food supply and nutritional quality of foods can, in part, be influenced by soil health.

Soil health, climate change, water quality and food security are all linked together. These issues all reflect our need to evolve toward a sustainable and low-carbon economy. The soil strategy will support agricultural soil management practices that provide economic, environmental and social benefits to Ontario.

Please visit the Environmental Registry link to read over the discussion document and provide your comments before 27 November 2016.

Students, if you would like support for your outstanding conservation and environmental studies? Please apply for the A.D. Latornell Award of Merit - SWCS Ontario wants to help you!

Each year, SWCS Ontario presents a student with the A.D. Latornell Award of Merit. The Arthur D. Latornell Award of Merit Program celebrates Mr. Latornell’s commitment and service to our Society. Art was involved in virtually every aspect of resource conservation during his lifetime and was a role model for many beginning a career in conservation. He took particular interest in the mentoring and development of promising young people in the conservation field. He was President of the SWCS in 1978 and filled many Ontario Chapter Executive positions.

Winners of this Award receive:

  • A full year membership to SWCS,
  • A cash award of $600, and
  • Registration to attend one day at the Latornell Conservation Symposium (, Ontario’s premier environmental conference, and the dinner at which the Award is presented (Tuesday, November 15, 2016).The Latornell Conservation Symposium is a three day event held November 15-17, 2016 in Alliston, Ontario

Scholarship Application Form

Meet North Central Region 2016 Regional Director Candidate Doug Thompson

Doug Thompson
Doug Thompson

UPDATE: unfortunately Doug was not elected as the North Central regional director, but Susan Meadows was and we sincerely are grateful for all the dedicated people on the SWCS Board of Directors. Many thanks to your hard efforts and time. 

On behalf of Soil and Water Conservation Society, Jim Gulliford ( invites you to vote in the SWCS BOD North Central Region Representative Election 2016. This election runs until 22 Feb 2016 19:00.
You should receive an email from SWCS with a personal link to Read about our Ontario candidate and let's hope we have someone from Ontario representing SWCS!

Doug Thompson retired after serving 31 years as a municipal politician in 2014. These years were spent representing rural areas in Canada’s capital region. During his political career, Doug had the honor of being chair of two important rural oriented organizations: The Rural Ontario Municipal Association and The City of Ottawa Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Additionally, he was appointed to Canadian Federal Government and Province of Ontario Committees. Doug’s political career has granted him the opportunity to attend a wide variety of conferences across North America with several opportunities to present (Canada; the United States; and twice in China). It is the combination of being part of, and working with, professional colleagues that has allowed him to gain important information on conservation practices.

Doug's Platform:

As a North Central Region Director, I would bring representation from Ontario specifically, and Canada to the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). Over the past 31 years I have been actively involved in municipal politics and conservation across the province of Ontario. It has become clear to me that the importance of soil and water conservation practices are not a high priority in our country. I am excited about the prospect of working with the SWCS Board to bring their expertise into Canada. Over the years, I have attended SWCS conventions in the United States and have always been impressed by the wealth of knowledge provided for the attendees.

Currently, I am a member of Conservation Ontario, a body that represents all 36 conservation authorities in Ontario. This organization would be an excellent avenue to integrate the SWCS work into our province. As well, being a Director would give me the opportunity to bring reports to the Board on relevant topics regarding soil/water conservation events in Canada. I would be very interested in working to facilitate future SWCS seminars and/or conferences in Ontario. I look forward, if elected, to use my experience, knowledge, and professional contacts to support the great work being done by SWCS.

Amy Lanford, Wanhong Yang
Amy Langford received the SWCS Ontario's 2015 award of merit from Prof. Wanhong Yang 19 November 2015 in Alliston.

Congratulations to Amy Langford, a 4th year University of Guelph Environmental Engineering student, for being the recipient of SWCS Ontario's Arthur D. Latornell Award of Merit. We are very pleased to award this important award to such a deserving person. Prof. Wanhong Yang presented the award prize and certificate at the 2015 A. D. Latornell Conference in Alliston on 17 November. Prof. Yang is SWCS Ontario's representative to the conference organizing committee.

Amy is very committed to water management in Ontario. Amy revived the University of Guelph Student Chapters for the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO) and the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA).  Amy is currently leading a team of executive student chapter members to grow the membership of the University of Guelph student population. The Guelph Chapters' goal is to facilitate the knowledge transfer from seasoned professionals in the water and wastewater industry to students interested in water conservation. Part of the activities include organizing events, plant tours and inviting industry guest speakers to increase awareness of water/wastewater issues and treatment methods while emphasizing the need to protect Ontario source water.

Amy's most recent co-op position was at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs in the Environmental Management Branch in Guelph. Her work included gathering expert knowledge on Ontario's phosphorus sources inventory and increase awareness of the need to quantify agricultural phosphorus flows. She presented the preliminary results of the project to quantify Ontario's phosphorus inventory at the Grey to Green Conference at Ryerson University (June 2015). Amy also developed a visual representation of energy, water and composting resources of a farm with an interactive Google Earth model.

In addition to describing her professional and volunteer activities for the Award application, Amy also completed two brief, thoughtful essays about her education and her ideas about soil and water conservation.

Latornell Conservation SymposiumWeathering Change

Select Latornell Conservation Symposium Sessions Will Be Webcasted

November 17-19, 2015 at the Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Convention Centre, Alliston, ON

Putting ‘EcoHealth’ Into Practice – Improving ecosystems for human health

On November 17th and 19th, you are Invited to Watch Five Latornell Conservation Symposium Sessions LIVE Online that explore the connections between human and ecological health.

Healthy ecosystems are essential for human health and survival. We all depend on clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, healthy food supplies, green spaces for recreation, and contact with wildlife to enrich our lives.

The 2015 Latornell Conservation Symposium and EcoHealth Ontario are featuring five special sessions exploring human – ecology connections.

Deadline to Register for one or more sessions: Friday, November 13, 2015.

Instructions on How To Watch Online

  • Participants need to register for each session individually. Links are provided below along with descriptions of the sessions.
  • Problems or Questions? Email

What You Can Watch

November 17, 2015

T1E – Connecting Watershed Ecosystems to Human Health [11:00 AM – 12:30 PM]

This session will look at the connections between watershed ecosystems and human health in order to plan and deliver programs that recognize the connection between both. The session will look at flooding from a public health perspective, as well as explore a new tool to use indicators and GIS in order to develop management and restoration strategies that support human health.

Registration Link:

T2E – Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Human Health [2:00 PM – 3:30 PM]

This session will look at ways to increase our adaptive capacity to address the impacts of climate change on people. It will look specifically at techniques and tools used by public health units as well as specifically address issues around urban heat islands.

Registration Link:

T3E – Building Resiliency with Rural Communities to Adapt to the Impacts of Climate Change [4:00 PM – 5:30 PM]

This session will review new research that explores the relationship between climate change and rural populations as well as review practices and tools that can be used to build greater resiliency in rural communities for the benefit of residents.

Registration Link:

November 18, 2015

W1E – EcoHealth: Understanding ‘Human Ecology’ (Part 1) [8:30 AM – 10:00 AM]

Humans are fundamentally dependant on ecosystems for survival, yet our awareness and understanding of this crucial connection is fragmented. Current and future challenges due to the decline of rural and urban ecosystems require proactive leadership and engagement from across the spectrum including public health, planning, environmental and urban design professionals. This first session looks at new research that clearly demonstrates the connections between green space and human health and the basis for positive change.

Registration Link:

W2E – EcoHealth: Understanding ‘Human Ecology’ Panel Discussion (Part 2) [10:30 AM - 12:00 PM]

Building on the growing research linking our health and wellbeing to the natural environment (as demonstrated in Part 1), this session explores the practice of ecohealth. The panel will provide a wide range of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that agencies face in putting the science into practice and what new initiatives are being developed.

Registration Link:

Please download the 2015 Latornell Conservation Symposium Program for speaker information.

Online streaming of these sessions is provided for by EcoHealth Ontario

Good Morning SWCS Chapters Leaders,

The SWCS Nominations Committee is currently looking for recommendations from SWCS members and chapters for qualified nominees to run for the regional board director positions available in the Southeast, Southwest, and North Central regions.

All candidate recommendations must be received by November 18, 2015. A list of states and provinces within these regions can be found here. The roles and responsibilities of the regional director can be found here.

Please contact Tom Prout, your regional nominations committee representative for further information, your recommendations, or if you have additional questions.

Tom Prout, SWCS Nominations Committee Chair,