Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Interview: The 'Latornell Experience' through the eyes of a 2015 Grant Recipient

Jayme Hughes, Latornell Communications Coordinator Interview with Greg Bunker, Kawartha Conservation

With the opening of the Latornell Grant Program this year, the Steering Committee wanted to try and give the program a bit more profile, since it tends to (shockingly) be a bit undersubscribed.  Alas, I found myself on the hunt for a past grant recipient to chat with so I could find out what their experience was like, and hear some of the perks to applying (aside from the obvious financial benefits).  

I quickly realized that I actually had a 2015 grant recipient right downstairs- Kawartha Conservation’s Stewardship Outreach Technician, and the driving force behind our ‘BlueScaping’ program, Greg Bunker.  This guy is essentially a dream to have in the office- a new Associate Landscape Architect, a dedicated team member, and a fantastic person to bounce creative ideas off of.  I knew he’d be the perfect person to talk to about the grant program!

We casually sat down in a small meeting room at the Kawartha Conservation headquarters in the ‘dog days’ of summer so I could ask him what it is he loves about Latornell, and what it was like to attend the Symposium in 2015 as a grant recipient.  

JH: Thanks for agreeing to chat with me Greg! I know you’ve attended Latornell in the past through previous career roles, tell me what initially interested you in the Symposium and what made you interested in applying for a grant last year to come back?

GB: I first learned of and came to Latornell in 2004 as a student poster presenter, and was blown away by the scope and diversity of conservation work happening across the province. I remember meeting many like-minded students and professionals, and for the first time realizing that there were so many directions my undergraduate education could take. When my partner and I decided to make a documentary about the Greenock Swamp, we started working with the local Conservation Authority there and it just made sense to put the word out at Latornell – to both reach out to and get feedback from a broad environmental conservation audience. Now that I am working for a Conservation Authority, I was fortunate enough to receive a grant to return to the Symposium last year as an attendee.

JH: Sounds like you’ve caught what I call “Latornell Fever”!  That’s so cheesy I know. But seriously, once you’ve been a part of the event, and feel welcomed into the community, you just can’t get enough.  There’s something unique about it.

GB: Totally! If I could choose only one conference to attend each year, it would be Latornell for sure.

JH: So, after successfully applying for a grant in 2015, are there any tips or tricks for the application process that you can provide to those interested this year?
GB: The Symposium is always full of interesting topics to learn more about, but it’s important to take a good look at the program and figure out which sessions will provide you with the information and contacts you need to succeed at whatever you are pursuing.  Also, make sure to mention in your application how you will take advantage of the social activities on offer – there are many and they provide a great way to get to know others in a more relaxed atmosphere.

JH: Aside from the obvious financial perks, what benefits do you feel like you received as a grant recipient?  

GB: Meeting other grant recipients and the Steering Committee members at a special little wine and cheese networking session just for the grant recipients. It was great because a lot of the grantees are really starting to develop their careers, and it’s helpful to get advice and new contacts from more experienced individuals within the conservation community.  Plus they host it right at the beginning of the Symposium, so throughout the week you see familiar faces and it helps to get introduced to more delegates later on and make contacts.

JH: Ok, let’s say someone is attending the Symposium for the first time this year, how can they make the most out of their ‘Latornell experience’?

GB:  Best advice? And keep in mind this is advice coming from an introvert … just don’t be shy! It’s really important to put yourself out there in order to get the full experience.  The conference has so much built in programming that’s conducive to talking to people and making new connections in a natural way.  The sessions, meals, and social events are all perfect places to spark a conversation.  In my experience the conservation community is especially nurturing and there is a definite feeling of comradery in the air at Latornell.  I’ve always found that people within this sector are willing to go out of their way to help and to really support each other.

JH: I hear you’ll be coming back to Latornell this year as a session speaker! That’s exciting, tell me more about that.

GB: Yes, I’m definitely excited to attend again this year and to speak! I’ll be presenting about Kawartha Conservation’s ‘BlueScaping’ program, which is all about landscaping urban areas to manage storm water on-site.  I’ll be sharing what’s happened with the program in the past year, and also where it’s headed.  The session I’m speaking in is all about how stewardship initiatives can complement natural system functions.  I think it will be really interesting because we have speakers sharing insights into three different programs at different stages of development: our BlueScaping program which is quite new, one program which is a few years along, and another which has over 20 years history of implementation.  
JH: Thanks so much for filling me in on all of this! It sounds like your session will be really interesting and you’re all set to have another amazing experience at Latornell this year!

Greg Bunker is the Stewardship Outreach Technician at Kawartha Conservation.  He will be presenting about the Conservation Authority’s ‘BlueScaping’ program at Latornell 2016 in session WC2

Jayme Hughes has been the Communications Coordinator for the Latornell Symposium for the past five years, and is also the Marketing & Communications Specialist at Kawartha Conservation.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Green Infrastructure for a Healthy Future

By Bill Trenouth, Jennifer Dougherty and Kyle Vander Linden, Credit Valley Conservation

It is exciting to know that green infrastructure will be the focus of the 2016 Latornell Symposium.  For three days this November – plus an additional fourth day in the immediate run up to the conference – professionals from across Ontario will convene, share ideas and explore opportunities, challenges and lessons learned with the goal of , advancing the state of knowledge and practice, and to encourage the use of solutions which build healthy, resilient communities that connect, support and sustain us. Specialists working on low impact development (LID) will be sharing ideas and promoting tools that can take this multi-functional technology beyond the pilot stage to full-scale adoption.

But what is “green infrastructure”? Innumerable policies, documents and plans make reference to this phrase, but there is no clear consensus as to what falls inside – or outside – of this terminology. This year’s Latornell Conference organizers have done a fantastic job of encapsulating the key aspects associated with this term. Chiefly, that green infrastructure includes living systems that are either “built or naturally occurring”, and that these systems “support the environment, the economy and our quality of life”.

Credit Valley Conservation and many other CA’s have long embraced these ideas and have worked tirelessly to encourage the protection and responsible use of green infrastructure, and collectively we have worked to build a valuation of the services we receive from these features as part of a full-cost accounting. From ‘Natural Credit’ to our latest LID Monitoring ‘How To’ guide, CVC and its partners have been at the fore of a range of green infrastructure initiatives.  But there is still much work to be done.

Experiences and expertise need to be shared, and the 2016 Latornell Symposium serves as the perfect space where this can be accomplished. We look forward to seeing many of you at the Latornell Symposium, and quite possibly at our pre-Latornell LID Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring Training as well!

Bill Trenouth, Jennifer Dougherty and Kyle Vander Linden work in the Water and Climate Change Science and Integrated Water Management groups at CVC. Their teams specialize in the planning, design, implementation, and performance monitoring of low impact development (LID) stormwater management features. Having worked with their municipal partners to implement more than 60 LID projects throughout the Credit River Watershed, their teams now offer comprehensive training courses related to the design, construction, operation, maintenance and compliance monitoring of these technologies in conjunction with both the Toronto and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authorities.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Latornell Leadership Award...Priceless

By Tom Prout, 2015 Leadership Award recipient & 2016 Leadership Awards Master of Ceremonies 

What a humbling surprise and honour to not only be one of the 2015 Latornell Leadership Award recipients, but to also be selected as the Master of Ceremonies for the 2016 Leadership Awards Banquet! What a wonderful way to finish an amazing career in conservation and the environment and start my retirement.

To many of you, the name Art Latornell will mean something and it should. Whether you knew Art or not by attending the Latornell Symposium you are benefiting from his dedication and generosity and helping fulfill his vision.  Art was very big on giving youth opportunities and seeing what they could do with it. He was respected by all those who knew him.

I was fortunate to know and work with Art Latornell. Never, during my forty year career did I achieve the level of calm, collect and compassion that Art Latornell lived his life by. As my mentor I would often turn to Art for advice. He was in no way a micro-manager, if fact the complete opposite. Art would listen to my issues and yearning for advice. Through his quiet comments and questions he would have me resolve my own problems. When two or more people were together with Art he would challenge us with a problem and then stand back and listen to the ensuing debate. This debate often provided answers to current challenges.

Art’s legacy continues to grow, through this Symposium, and now at the University of Guelph. In April of this year, the University of Guelph announced the Latornell Professorship in Environmental Stewardship.  Through a collaborative effort between the Latornell Endowment Committee and the University of Guelph, this new professorship was made possible.  Art would be pleased.

To me the value of the Latornell Leadership Award is priceless. I want to thank the Sympoisum organizing committee for taking the extra effort to acknowledge individuals who strive to be the mentor that Art Latornell was.  If there is someone you work with who you feel has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the conservation sector, I encourage you to nominate them for this prestigious award! You can find more information and the necessary forms on the Latornell website.

I would like to leave you with a challenge provided to me by my eight year old granddaughter, Mercedes Prout; “Let us open our minds together and breathe in the fresh air that our world makes. Let us take the time to find out what we can do to make our world a better place. We can make a difference together.”

Tom Prout was the General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority in Exeter Ontario for more than three decades.  Tom's life-long, and outstanding contributions to the conservation sector earned him a Latornell Leadership Award in 2015.  Tom will be our Master of Ceremonies for this year's Latornell Leadership Awards.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

A message from our Chair

By Lisa Turnbull, Senior Manager Project Management Services at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority & Chair of the 2015 Latornell Symposium 

Fall is here which means the Latornell Symposium is quickly approaching. The Symposium’s Steering Committee has pulled together an exciting and diverse program that explores many facets of climate change impacts on our watersheds as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies.

During the plenary our keynote speakers will bring a variety of perspectives to delegates. Blair Feltmate, one of Ontario’s leading experts on climate change adaptation will kick off the first day of the program.  James Raffan a speaker, author and adventurer will inspire us on day two of the program alongside of the graduation ceremony for the Young Conservation Professionals Program (YCP). On Thursday at lunch Lapo Calamai of the Insurance Bureau of Canada will bring perspectives from the economic and public policy sectors.  Bill McKibben, bestselling author and environmentalist, will then wrap up the symposium with a closing keynote.

In 2015 we continue to offer breakout presentations in our core theme areas like water, natural heritage and watershed management. However, new streams have been added this year including sessions led by the Lake Simcoe Science Forum and the Ontario Climate Consortium.  With the depth of the program this year the biggest challenge for delegates will be deciding between sessions! To further explore everything the program has to offer visit the program page on our website.

Over the last 22 years the Latornell Symposium has distinguished its self as Ontario premier conservation forum. Don’t miss out on being a part of the action in 2015. If you have been putting off registering now is the time to act! Rates will increase after October 13th.

Lisa Turnbull is the Chair of the Latornell Steering Committee and  a Senior Project Manager at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Her responsibilities with the Project Management Office at TRCA include managing the initiation, planning, execution, control and close out phases for a diverse range of environmental projects and Environmental Assessment studies.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Building a foundation for the future

By Tanya Kampherm Martin, Hydrogeologist, Regional Municipality of York & Latornell Steering Committee Member

“The Latornell Leadership Award is dedicated to the memory of A.D. Latornell and his passionate understanding that a healthy planet today is important to healthy generations in the future.  It recognizes the importance of leadership in the areas of education, advocacy, research, inspiration, and action in maintaining and advancing environmental conservation in Ontario today.  As one of the five recipients of the award in 2013, I was humbled by the accomplishments of the people with whom I stood.  Looking back over the list of previous recipients, is akin to reading a history of environmental conservation in Ontario.

Each day I am reminded of the significance of this recognition, not only for what I have achieved in the field of environmental education, but also in accepting the trust the award extends: I must continue to use my abilities, wherever possible, to lobby for understanding and stewardship of the natural environment.  By so doing, I am challenged to do my part in contributing to an irreplaceable and precious environmental legacy for those, as yet, unborn.” Peter Middleton, Master of Ceremonies for the 2015 Latornell Leadership Awards
Nominated by Grey Sauble Conservation back in 2013, Peter was and is still recognized today for  his passion of environmental protection and his dedication to education, which has guided thousands of children and adults alike to explore, appreciate and respect nature.

You too, can play a part in recognizing environmental conservation leaders, such as Peter, by submitting a Latornell Leadership Award nomination.  Contributions made by an individual through work, career or volunteer experiences are all eligible.  Simply complete and submit a nomination form (link below) by Friday, June 26, 2015.

We hope that you will join us November 17 – 19th, 2015 at the Latornell Conservation Symposium, alongside with our Master of Ceremonies, Peter Middleton, to celebrate the legacy of Art Latornell at the 2015 Leadership Awards.

To access the nomination form or learn more about the Latornell Leadership Awards click here.

Tanya Kampherm Martin is a Hydrogeologist in the Environmental Services Department at The Regional Municipality of York. She is also a newer member of the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium Steering Committee and one of several committee members who will be evaluating this year’s Leadership Award nominations.

Friday, 5 June 2015

A Word from the WiSE

By Umna Arshad, Mechanical Engineering Student & Women in Science and Engineering Club (WISE) Executive, University of Guelph

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is a University of Guelph student organization dedicated to supporting and encouraging women and girls who are interested or engaged in science or engineering careers. WiSE works towards fostering an academic environment where both female and male students can promote the participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

Throughout North America, universities and colleges are taking aggressive steps to recruit and retain females in STEM fields. Looking at recent statistics, there are more than 50% females enrolled in science programs while there are less than 20% enrolled in ‘TEM’ fields in Canada.

Interestingly, University of Guelph’s engineering community holds female enrolment at almost 30% and was named the first Women Friendly Engineering School by the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation. Further, Guelph has consistently ranked first with the percentage of female Engineering faculty members compared to other universities in Ontario. One such faculty member is Jana Levison (EIT) who is a Water Resources Engineering professor at Guelph. Previously, Dr. Levison was a postdoctoral fellow at the Université du Québec à Montréal, working on multidisciplinary ecohydrological modeling related to climate change. Her research projects look at how climate change may impact groundwater quantity and/or quality in rural settings. The objective of one of her project is to define and quantify the transport of excess nutrients, specifically nitrogen related to cash crop modifications and variable weather, into groundwater to anticipate and mitigate potential water quality impacts. Nitrate concentrations in groundwater will be examined and modeling will be used to determine if groundwater contamination will be impacted in case of varying climate conditions. Another project Dr. Levison is working on focuses on investigating the potential opportunities and challenges for agricultural production limited by the availability of groundwater supplies and environmental constraints in a rural setting. An improved understanding of watershed dynamics in an intensive agricultural setting in the context of climate change will be beneficial for agricultural and water management sectors.  

By 2020, 95 000 professional engineers will retire resulting in a huge skill shortage and the big untapped skill pools are women. Professionals such as Dr. Jana Levison (EIT) are making some of the biggest advances in our society and with half of the population being female; we deserve to have the female perspective; it will only get better with the female perspective.

Umna Arshad is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Guelph and an executive for the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) club at Guelph.  She is focusing on Interdisciplinary Mechanical Engineering Design and hopes to pursue her career in renewable energy, more specifically, solar and wind energy.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Latornell 2015: Weathering Change

By Lisa Turnbull, Chair of Latornell Conservation Symposium

2015 will be the year we “Weather Change” at the Latornell Conservation Symposium. On November 17- 19, 2015 we will explore climate change impacts we are seeing in Ontario’s watersheds as well as current and emerging best management practices that are underway or can be used to build environmental, economic and social resilience.

The topic could not be more timely. The effects of climate change are being felt in all aspects of our day to day lives, both globally and locally. Flooding, ice storms, tornadoes and droughts – are all events that have become common place in news reports. The ripple effect of extreme weather events are being felt in all sectors of society. 

In keeping with previous Symposiums’ we will be bringing together key stakeholders and experts to discuss issues and solutions along with facilitating networking and learning opportunities for all spectrums of conservation professionals.  Expect riveting keynote speakers, workshops, tours, and break out session presentations.

I am honoured to take on the role of Chair for the Symposium Steering Committee in 2015. We have such a dedicated group of people on the committee that strive year after to year to provide you with the best possible experience and value for your time and money. We also have countless organizations to thank for helping us form the symposium program.

We need your input and welcome your participation in 2015! The program committee is looking for ideas on a number of different topic areas related to this year’s theme in the form of presentations, symposia, training, workshops and site visits. Submissions are due by March 30, 2015.  Please visit: for further information. 

Lisa Turnbull is the Chair of the Latornell Steering Committee and  a Senior Project Manager at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Her responsibilities with the Project Management Office at TRCA include managing the initiation, planning, execution, control and close out phases for a diverse range of environmental projects and Environmental Assessment studies.