Anyone who is interested in the environment of our region has surely crossed paths with Betty Learmouth. For nearly three decades, Betty has contributed to most of the nature organizations and many of the local environmental projects in our region.
In 1984, Betty and a group of fellow volunteers founded the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club to help preserve natural habitats. She joined the executive a few years later and took over the production of Egret, the club’s quarterly newsletter, which she continues to publish today. She oversaw the group’s heritage fund which eventually grew to $64,000, which was used to protect 60 acres of natural habitat in the Stone Road Alvar complex on Pelee Island.
Betty been a member of the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory and has volunteered at the Hawk Fest for close to 20 years, and was the Official Wednesday Counter for over a decade. Her exceptional photographs and her Adopt-a-Raptor certificates provide great incentive for visitors to adopt hawks, an important fund-raiser. She has also helped found the Canada South Land Trust, which works with woodlot owners to turn their properties into conservation areas to be enjoyed for generations to come. She has served as secretary of the Little River Enhancement Group and provides support for the Friends of the Ojibway Prairie.
She has taken part in numerous inventories of hawks, butterflies and rare plants, and has written countless newsletters to protect natural areas. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, and conducts annual clean ups, pulls garlic mustard and picks up trash and recyclables when out for walks. Betty uses every opportunity she has to do something for our environment. For all this work, she received the ERCA Conservation award in 1999 and the 2002 Ontario Nature Achievement Award. Her dedication and enthusiasm has been integral to the success of many projects, but perhaps her greatest contribution has been the mentoring of others, and we are delighted to recognize her as a Conservation Champion.