GOLDEN MOMENT FOR GREEN ADVOCATES: Towndrows win top river institute award

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CORNWALL, Ontario - If improving the community's environment was considered a sport, Susan and John Towndrow would be this year's MVPs.

From left are Susan Towndrow, John Towndrow, and Rik Saaltink (chair of the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences).

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences recently announced the Towndrows as the winners of the 2014 River Award.

Established in 2009, the River Award recognizes those who set an outstanding example of environmental awareness, conservation, and respect for the natural world in and around the St. Lawrence River.

In his presentation of the award, River Institute Chair Rik Saaltink stated, “This year, the board has chosen to recognize a couple who quietly and purposefully lead and influence environmental change in our community.”

Both professional landscape architects, Susan and John Towndrow have enjoyed successful careers in Cornwall, John, as a planner for Parks Canada, and Susan in private practice.

They have used their individual and collective talents along with a shared vision for social justice to serve others through a variety of volunteer activities.

More than five years ago, the Towndrows were influential in establishing Cornwall Transition Plus. The group is part of an international network that raises awareness and encourages communities to implement change on issues surrounding climate change.

Transition Plus also provides information and coordinates group activities that assist people in making healthier choices for themselves and their families. From community gardens to environmental transportation alternatives, these initiatives make a positive difference in the economic and climate resiliency of our community.

Saaltink added, “Susan and John don’t just talk the talk – they live their values, and by doing so, they show us that we can live more sustainably to ensure that the future is enjoyable and satisfying.”

Organizations: St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, River Institute Chair Rik Saaltink, Parks Canada

Geographic location: St. Lawrence River, Cornwall

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