A.D. Latornell Award of Merit 2016 Winner – Meaghan Mechler

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!


Discussion Document for Developing an Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy for Ontario

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 (www.latornell.ca), 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


Board of Directors Regional Elections – Meet Doug Thompson

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 (swcs@swcs.org) 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 ElectionBuddy.com. 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.


2015 Arthur D. Latornell Award Of Merit Winner

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.