Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental Award
Bob Whittam is a biologist and an avid naturalist who is well known in the Severn Sound area. He has been instrumental in ensuring the continued success and presence in our community of the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. One of Bob’s many accomplishments was his work in facilitating the public involvement program of the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan (RAP). He was Public Advisory Committee Chair for many years through the development of the RAP.
Bob Whittam Award Recipients
In 2000 the Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental Award was started in order to honour Bob by recognizing those individuals or groups who are dedicated and truly interested in improving the Severn Sound ecosystem. All nominations are reviewed by Bob. The Bob Whittam Environmental Award was first awarded by Bob Whittam and SSEA in 2000 to Fran Westman. Other Bob Whittam Award Recipients include Brian Jones (2001), Margaret Killing (2002), Peter Dupuis (2003), Sara Knight (2004), Dr. Si Lowry (2005), Bob Bowles (2006), Stephen Ogden (2007), André Claire (2008), Huronia Woodland Owners Association (2009), Andy Fletcher (2010), John Boucher (2011), Wendy and Jeff Bumstead (2012), Bill Sweenie (2013), Peter Andrews (2014), Terry Breckenridge (2015) and Lynn Short (2016).
2016 Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental Award
There were several nominations received this year for the Award. The 2016 recipient of the Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental Award was Lynn Short.
To control the spread of Phragmites without the use of herbicide on her own waterfront property, Lynn developed a “spading” technique. By the repeated removal of the green part of the plant, its food source through photosynthesis was literally cut-off, and after a few years the energy stores of the plant are diminished and it dies. Lynns method proved far more successful than other methods such as ploughing or mowing.
Lynn shares her knowledge broadly – organizing groups of local students who were employed by beachfront property owners and worked under Lynn’s supervision to apply the spading method. This approach proved very effective and eventually dozens of properties were successfully cleared of dense Phragmites infestation and the property owners themselves were able to maintain control easily.
Lynn became connected with the Ontario Phragmites Working Group (OPWG), The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, Georgian Bay Forever and other groups committed to dealing with the problem. Over the last few years, Lynn has spoken with community groups from Tiny to Tay, from Woodland Beach to Roundtree Beach, from Niagara Falls to Victoria Harbour, and from Long Point to Lake Eugenia. As a result, the awareness of the Phragmites problem has been improved and the spading technique is being increasingly widely used.
In May 2016, with support from Tiny Township, Humber College, the City of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, Lynn embarked on a research project studying the effectiveness of the spading technique that she had developed for the removal. Lynn to conduct two parallel studies in Tiny Township and the Humber River Valley. Since Lynn has inspired so many people over the years, she was able to round up some wonderful volunteers. She commenced the project in early June and Lynn and her volunteers collected data and cut stalks in the various test plots. Lynn’s data and report clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the spading technique.
Over many years, Lynn has volunteered thousands of hours not only to researching and directly applying the spading technique and mentoring students in Tiny Township, but also to educating, motivating and inspiring community groups throughout southern Ontario about the necessity to take action to control Phragmites. The battle against this invasive alien plant species has become her passion.
Bob Wrote to Lynn:
"Congratulations on your success in developing the spading technique for the control of Phragmites, a serious threat to wetlands in Severn Sound. Your research and work Is a great mix of citizen science with your mentoring of students and community groups. Thank you for your infectious enthusiasm and for your ongoing battle against this invasive plant."
Please download the
Nomination Form if you would like to nominate a person or group for the 2017 Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental award.