submitted by Erin Thorne, SNC
South Nation Conservation (SNC) has been a leader of natural resource management in Eastern Ontario since 1947 and celebrated a belated 75th Anniversary event at its headquarters in Finch on Thursday, June 15th, 2023, which welcomed over 150 guests from throughout the watershed.
The outdoor occasion celebrated seven and a half decades of environmental stewardship, conservation efforts, and community engagement.
The Conservation Authority’s growing jurisdiction is currently spread across 4,480km2 of land situated along the South Nation River, from the headwaters north of Brockville to where it empties into the Ottawa River, near Plantagenet.
Working on behalf of 16 member municipalities, SNC has been at the forefront of managing, conserving, and restoring natural resources, managing over 20,000 acres of land, planting 120,000 trees every year, adding to the 4 million trees planted since 1990, and protecting people and property from the impacts of flooding, erosion, and landslides, while supporting sustainable development activities in growing communities.
Highlights from the event included the Opening Ceremony led by Larry McDermott from Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and the Executive Director of Plenty Canada, followed by remarks from SNC Board Members, Pierre Leroux, Chair and Mayor of the Township of Russell, Steve Densham, Vice-Chair and Deputy Mayor of the Township of North Stormont, Past Chair Bill Smirle, City of Ottawa Councillor Catherine Kitts, along with SNC’s Carl Bickerdike and General Manager of Conservation Ontario Angela Coleman.
Many elected officials were in attendance, including representatives from each of SNC’s municipalities and the provincial and federal government,as well as MPP Nolan Quinn, from Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry.
“It was incredible to see such strong support for SNC’s programs and services and to hear from our municipal partners on their experiences with SNC’s work through the decades,” said John Mesman, Emcee of the night and Managing Director, Property, Conservation Lands and Community Outreach. He added, “we were also pleased to welcome Angela Coleman, our former General Manager, back home to Finch to hear about her new leadership with Conservation Ontario and to thank her for her 20-year career at SNC.”
“It is great to be back in Finch to celebrate SNC and this important milestone. The work that SNC continues to do for Eastern Ontario is essential for the health and future prosperity of the local environment. The lands they maintain help form a living natural legacy for our region” noted Angela Coleman, General Manager of Conservation Ontario.
“SNC’s strength is drawn from its municipal partnerships at work and the supporters, donors, and volunteers from across the watershed. Having a diverse team of professional staff who share their resources and expertise with our partners is what makes our mission of protecting and improving the environment possible,” said Carl Bickerdike, SNC’s Chief Administrative Officer. SNC’s vision has always been to maintain a healthy ecosystem by improving water quality and protecting natural spaces by maintaining healthy rivers and natural shorelines. “I’m proud of the work we have done, and I look forward to the future ahead.” added Bickerdike.