Sage sis­ters rec­og­nized

County of­fi­cials presents Lynn and Les­lie Sage with the an­nual Ox­ford Ste­ward­ship Award

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS FUNSTON

In recog­ni­tion of their ef­forts to­ward land im­prove­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity, Lynn and Les­lie Sage were pre­sented with the an­nual Ox­ford Ste­ward­ship Award.

“It was quite un­ex­pected, but we very much ap­pre­ci­ate it.” Lynn Sage said.

The Sage sis­ters were se­lected by the awards com­mit­tee for their shared pas­sion and com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing the nat­u­ral beauty of their her­itage land along Old Stage Road. With more than 80 hectares (200 acres) on three farms, the sis­ters are the fifth gen­er­a­tion to farm their land us­ing best farm­ing prac­tices and con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives. This year, the Nor­wich Town­ship res­i­dents, along with stu­dents and the Up­per Thames River Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity, con­tin­ued to pro­tect the re­tired pas­tures on the flood plain by plant­ing 350 mixed na­tive seedlings. On all three farms, pro­tec­tive wind­breaks now fol­low the fence lines and road, and sur­round their build­ings. They also pro­tect about 14 hectares (34 acres) of provin­cially sig­nif­i­cant wet­lands, along with buffer­ing Kenny Creek and their drainage ditch, with trees and per­ma­nent grass to pre­vent ero­sion and main­tain cold wa­ter in the creek.

Though re­tired, the con­ser­va­tion of the farm has been a full-time job for the Sages.

“We’ve al­ways planted seedling ev­ery spring and, this time, we had a big­ger area so we talked with the (con­ver­sa­tion author­ity) and they gave us help. It was won­der­ful – they were very well or­ga­nized and ex­cel­lent help,” added Lynn Sage.

As part of the award, the sis­ters will re­ceive a $500 gift cer­tifi­cate to­wards the pur­chase of orig­i­nal art­work by lo­cal artist Paul Walker. The Sages will also be added to the recog­ni­tion wall at the Ox­ford County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing.

“Ox­ford County has a proud his­tory of en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship, and our landown­ers con­tinue to demon­strate a deep re­spect and com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. I am hon­oured to present the 10th an­nual Ox­ford Ste­ward­ship Award in recog­ni­tion of ef­forts to pre­serve and en­hance nat­u­ral fea­tures and ar­eas,” said Ox­ford County War­den David May­berry.

Es­tab­lished in 2009, the Ox­ford Ste­ward­ship Award rec­og­nizes lo­cal landown­ers who have made out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to pro­tect­ing the county’s nat­u­ral her­itage. The win­ner of the award is cho­sen by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal ste­ward­ship or­ga­ni­za­tions, with Ger­ard Py­nen­burg of the Soil and Crop Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion and Cher Sprague of Ste­ward­ship Ox­ford lead­ing the judg­ing process.

Other fi­nal­ists in­cluded Ian Mathe­son of Zorra Town­ship for con­struct­ing two ter­races to pre­vent gully ero­sion on agri­cul­tural land and Mark Janssen of South­West Ox­ford for plant­ing and car­ing for 1,900 new mixed na­tive tree seedlings on his farm.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lynn and Les­lie Sage re­ceived the 2018 Ox­ford Ste­ward­ship Award in recog­ni­tion of their ef­forts to pre­serve the nat­u­ral beauty of their her­itage land along Old Stage Road in Nor­wich Town­ship.

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