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Champion of the Bay Award

Welcome to the Champion of the Bay Award! 

Below, you can learn more about the award and find the link to nominate someone in your community!!!


Purpose of the Award

The Georgian Bay Association’s new annual Champion of the Bay Award recognizes and honors outstanding community members who actively steward the Georgian Bay in a manner that promotes environmental wellbeing. 

Through this award we are excited to:

  1. collectively appreciate the contributions of committed community members,
  2. share the local efforts occurring in different associations and
  3. inspire more people to participate in stewardship activities


Criteria for Qualification

We value highlighting local and small-scale efforts that demonstrate the difference that one person or one community can make on the environment. Nominees may be of any age and may participate in or lead a variety of projects. The overarching purpose of the award is to feature environmental stewardship. This is a volunteer award and all nominations should reflect efforts done in a volunteer capacity. 

Special consideration will be given to nominees whose contributions impact the broader environment or involve outreach and community organizing. No effort is too small and we encourage nominations of all scales. From a family picking up litter along a shore to a community shoreline clean-up day, we want to hear about and celebrate what’s going on in your community! We also encourage nominations of young people or newcomers who show inspiring potential. 

Potential Example of a nominee’s activities/projects:

  •     Actively contributing to the preservation of our natural environment

o   Examples: phragmites management, clean-up of derelict/abandoned docks, species monitoring, shoreline and Styrofoam cleanups, water quality sampling, constructing bird and bat houses for the community, community stewardship of crown land, volunteering/leadership on a GBA environmentally focused committee, etc. 

  •     Environmental education

o   Examples: organizing community educational days or nature hikes (ex. with help from the Georgian Bay Biosphere, Georgian Bay Forever or Georgian Bay Land Trust), environmentally focused contributions to GBA’s UPDATE or other Georgian Bay publications, coordination with local NGOs in educating the community, etc. 

  •     Forging partnerships with adjacent communities/organizations (re: environment)

o   Examples: Sans Souci and Wasauksing phragmites removal projects, Woods Bay and Friends of the Massasauga, Sans Souci and South Channel coordination of phragmites management, etc.   

This is not an exhaustive list and we excitedly welcome new and creative initiatives! For more ideas, please see the Stewards of the Bay video series or read example nominee profiles below. 


Nominations for the Champions of the Bay award can be submitted until October 19, 2024. You can nominate a Champion of the Bay here.


A Community Based Two Tiered Award Structure

We believe that anyone who does their best to take care of the Georgian Bay is a Champion of the Bay. 

This is a two-tiered award. Each member Association will have the opportunity to select their own community level Champion of the Bay. Nominations and selection for each Association’s Champion will occur at the Association level. GBA’s Guardians of the Bay Committee will then select an overall Champion of the Bay to be honored. 



Please check back soon for the announcement of the award for overall Champion of the Bay! We are finalizing the selection of an art piece that will be sent to the award winner. 

  • Grand Champion of the Bay Recognition

The Grand Champion of the Bay (selected among all the Association winners) will receive a special art piece and will receive special recognition in GBA’s UPDATE. The Champion will also be featured on our website as a Champion of the Bay. 

  • Association Level Champion of the Bay Recognition

The Champions of the Bay at the Association Level will receive an award certificate and will also be featured in GBA’s UPDATE. All of the Association winners will share a special page celebrating and sharing their fantastic initiatives happening all around the Georgian Bay.

Association Lead Contacts

  • Bay of Islands – Liz Phillips
  • Bayfield-Nares – Gord Johnson
  • Go Home Bay – Jim Rusak
  • Key River – Andrew Hurlbut
  • Manitou – Liz Drayton
  • Pointe au Baril – Seymour Hadwen & Hannah Willis
  • Northern Georgian Bay – Freda Klassen
  • Sans Souci and Copperhead – Katherine Denune
  • West Carling – Allison Needham
  • Wood’s Bay – Heather Sargeant


Real Community Examples of Potential Nominees

*Names of People and Associations have been changed

John Anderson

John Anderson is a volunteer for the Parry Sound Association. John became the environment chair for the Parry Sound Association about six years ago after he saw some of his neighbors cutting a phragmites patch on a nearby island. Since that time John has done a commendable job educating members of his association with his quarterly environment updates and reports in their newsletter, spearheading the effort to eradicate and manage phragmites in his association, hosting the Georgian Bay Biosphere at his cottage for community environment days and volunteering on the dock foam committee. One of his most recent projects was leading a community-wide effort to construct nine large bat houses for members to install on their property. This initiative followed a presentation from the Georgian Bay Biosphere at his cottage for others to learn about bats.


Paige Hamilton 

Paige Hamilton is 13 years old and from a very young age has always showed up year after year with her mom to cut phragmites. Paige has participated in the annual phragmites cut organized by the Georgian Bay Land Trust on Sandy Island for many years and has also made an effort to come to community cuts far from her cottage. Her commitment to showing up and participating has made a huge difference. Paige was also highlighted in one of the recent stewards of the bay videos for constructing a bee house to help provide habitat for native bees.


James Henry

James Henry is a cottager in the Parry Sound Association and is very passionate about preserving the environment. Several years ago, James and a neighbor constructed a loon nest platform to help provide a safe nesting habit for loons. Every year since, they have had loons nesting and have happily witnessed many successful loon families. James doesn’t talk about the nest with many people because he wants to protect the loons but he does participate in other community volunteering events. James and his wife have volunteered at several phragmites removal days and are consistent attendees of environment days in their association.

Inspired? You can nominate a Champion of the Bay here.

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