Canadian Boreal Awards honour Minister John Baird, Premier Dalton McGuinty, and Aboriginal leaders for protecting Canada’s Boreal Forest


Canadian Boreal Awards honour Minister John Baird, Premier Dalton McGuinty, and Aboriginal leaders for protecting Canada's Boreal Forest


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OTTAWA, Nov. 6 /CNW/ — OTTAWA, Nov. 6 /CNW Telbec/ – The Canadian Boreal Initiative today presented Boreal Awards to this year's recipients, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, federal Transport Minister John Baird, the First Nations communities of Good Hope and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), along with other deserving winners.


They were recognized for their far-reaching vision, diligent work, and collaborative initiatives to protect land within Canada's Boreal Forest. During a gala ceremony tonight at the National Gallery of Canada, the vital work of the award winners and finalists was recognized by a cross-section of Canada's leading community, business, and Aboriginal leaders, politicians, and engaged Canadians.


The Boreal is one of the largest and most intact ecosystems on the planet, and is home to billions of migratory birds, some of the largest caribou herds on the planet, and many other wildlife species. It is a vital storehouse of carbon and a major reservoir of the world's clean, fresh water.


"It was immediately obvious to our selection committee that the nominees were a true example of outstanding political leadership and individual action at the community level," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "We are pleased to recognize leadership and willingness to collaborate to bring about results; every success brings us closer to seeing at least half of Canada's Boreal Forest protected. Through a visionary approach to land use and stewardship planning, we can ensure a prosperous future for all Canadians."


"The Far North is part of who we are as Ontarians. We are taking a giant step to protect this rich natural legacy for ourselves, for future Ontarians and for the sake of our planet," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. "We're taking action to protect our quality of life, to preserve our natural spaces, to act as good stewards of the greatest province, in the best country in the world." "Canada's Government has demonstrated its commitment to the Boreal Forest and Canada's North," said Transport Minister John Baird. "In protecting over 30 million acres of our pristine Canadian wilderness, our Government has taken real action to ensure that these lands and their legacy are preserved for generations to come."


Canada's Boreal Forest is of global importance. The Boreal Awards, chosen by a committee of the Boreal Leadership Council, recognize leadership, innovation, cooperation and excellence among those who live and work in Canada's Boreal Forest region. All of the nominees have made an outstanding contribution to protecting the Boreal Forest and advancing the balanced vision of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.


This 2008 Boreal Award recipients are:


Minister John Baird


During his time as federal Minister of the Environment, John Baird, with Federal, NWT and Aboriginal partners, demonstrated an outstanding commitment to conservation in the Northwest Territories by protecting over 30 million acres of wilderness. These lands were given interim protection and included the largest land withdrawals for conservation in Canada's history. Areas included the Nahanni and East Arm National Park expansions, the Ramparts/Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta future National Wildlife Area, and others.


Community of Fort Good Hope


In 2001, members of the Fort Good Hope community decided to work through NWT Protected Areas Strategy to seek protection for the 25,000 sq km Ramparts/Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta region as a future Environment Canada National Wildlife Area. The community has shown great fortitude and patience through this complex process involved many stakeholders and government agencies working in partnership.


Premier Dalton McGuinty


Premier McGuinty took a globally significant step forward in July 2008 when he announced Ontario would protect more than 50% of the province's Far North region, spanning an area of at least 225,000 sq km. This will be done through Aboriginal community-driven land use planning, resource revenue sharing and modernizing mining legislation. Boreal carbon protection is seen as a driver and contributor to Ontario's approach to climate change.


Community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninwug


Since 1998, KI has had a community-declared moratorium on their traditional lands in the heart of the Boreal Forest. KI's community's principled stand, combined with a strong public outreach campaign and a willingness to work with all allies were critical to their success.


William George


Over the last decade, William George has demonstrated a unique and substantive commitment to protect the Boreal Forest. In this work, he has demonstrated his commitment to helping Canada's conservation community improve the efficacy of their communications and outreach efforts.


Nicole Rycroft


Nicole Rycroft leads Markets Initiative, a national organization that aims to protect Canada's Boreal and temperate rainforests, climate and biodiversity by shifting industrial paper consumers to ecologically sustainable paper products while also reducing consumption. She has had great success in working with publishers to print only on recycled or FSC-certified paper, most notably the latest Harry Potter book.


The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.


The Boreal Leadership Council is made up of leading conservation groups, Aboriginal organizations, resource companies and financial institutions, all of which have an interest and a stake in the future of Canada's Boreal Forest. Members of the Council are signatories to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, and are committed to Framework implementation in their activities.


The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a visionary plan for Canadian wilderness developed by the Boreal Leadership Council, is endorsed by more than 1500 scientists, 25 Aboriginal organizations, 100 corporations and leading conservation groups in Canada.