FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2017
ARLINGTON, VA— Every year, NatureServe, an international biodiversity conservation organization, honors its Network Programs that help provide the scientific basis for effective conservation and sustainable natural resource use. The Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre (ONHIC) is recognized this year for its contribution to furthering NatureServe’s mission of providing the scientific basis for effective conservation. From creating a Biodiversity Conservation Blueprint for biodiversity within the Ontario Great Lakes Region to championing the adaption of a single National Conservation Status Rank in Canada, OHNIC has proven to be an active team player in enabling conservation solutions through discovery and innovation.
Jim Mackenzie, Coordinator of ONHIC, notes, “Last year we completed a Landscape Level Connectivity Analysis from Algonquin Provincial Park to the Adirondack National Park, which combined Ontario and New York Natural Heritage Program data across our international border to guide conservation planning priorities in this area. This represents real Biodiversity Without Boundaries. This year, we used NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) to assess 280 species representing 10 major taxonomic groups across the Ontario Great Lakes watershed. To complete this work, we facilitated the development of Ontario specific climate metrics to power NatureServe’s tool in Canada. This work will help individuals and agencies working to conserve biodiversity and species at risk to understand where climate change adaptation strategies need to be considered. Our recent fieldwork has discovered new species in Ontario’s Far North, and along the boundaries waters with Minnesota. When Ontario released its Pollinator Heath Action Plan in 2016, ONHIC data, information, and expertise informed government policy makers about the important role that our wild pollinators play and the need to protect wild pollinator habitat.”
“I congratulate the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre on earning NatureServe’s 2017 Conservation Impact Award,” states Dr. Gregory Miller, Ph.D, President and CEO of NatureServe. “This recognizes the important example they have set as providers of scientific knowledge and expertise. Within our NatureServe Network, they have maintained network leadership, program membership, and helped NatureServe Northwest Territories to understand the spread of invasive plant species along northern highway corridors. In turn, this enhances NatureServe’s reputation as the authoritative source for scientific data.”
Jim Mackenzie of ONHIC, says, “It is a great honour to receive this Conservation Impact Award from NatureServe and to join the company of previous award winners from the U.S.A., Mexico, Latin America, and Canada. Making a conservation impact in the world is the reason why we do the work that we do. This award is a testament to the lifelong dedication and devotion of all the staff and partners that have supported the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre for the past 25 years. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a conservation community to empower a NatureServe member program. We will continue to do great things together.” ONHIC will be given the 2017 NatureServe Conservation Impact Award on April 12, 2017 at the Biodiversity without Boundaries Conference, taking place in Ottawa, Canada. For more information about the NatureServe Conservation Award, visit our NatureServe Awards site.
About the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre
Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre is a powerhouse of information and expertise about the biodiversity of Ontario. Staff members conduct research and surveys in the field for priority species and areas across Ontario. The Centre collects, reviews, manages, and distributes information for species of conservation concern, rare and exemplary plant communities, wildlife concentration areas, and natural areas. ONHIC works with government and non-government organizations to advance our understanding of biodiversity, natural heritage, and species conservation in Ontario. The Centre assigns conservation status ranks to species, plant communities, and wildlife concentration areas in Ontario. These ranks are then used by the province, national organizations and international organizations to help assign legal statuses and other conservation designations. Visit the ONHIC website for more information.
NatureServe is a non-profit biodiversity conservation organization comprised of 86 Network Programs encompassing more than 800 biodiversity scientists who discover, innovate, and conserve over 70,000 species and 7,000 habitats that are at-risk of extinction in the Western Hemisphere. The NatureServe Network collects accurate, real-time data about imperiled species and entire ecosystems, transforms the data into knowledge products and visualizations, and provides meaning through expert analyses to guide decision-making, implement action, and enhance conservation outcomes. NatureServe steadily keeps its finger on the pulse of the planet, to ensure the preservation of species and natural communities whose futures depend on conservation action. Visit the NatureServe website for more information.