For 35 years, Ken Schmidt lived and breathed environmental protection and improvement through his role at the Essex Region conservation Authority. Over the course of his career, he ensured the protection of thousands of acres of natural habitat and oversaw the planting of 5 million trees. Was a tireless advocate for the Detroit River, the Great Lakes and a watershed approach to environmental protection and restoration. He worked vigilantly with staff to ensure the protection of 1000s of homes from the dangers of flooding and erosion, and oversaw the development of 20 Conservation areas. He led the acquisition and development of 100km of trails. Ken had a true passion for the environment and wanted ERCA to be leaders in regional and provincial restoration and protection efforts. He always aimed higher to achieve more; and encouraged all staff to do the same.
He continually worked to build his relationships with senior levels of Government and to take a leadership role in advancing the collective Conservation Agenda with federal and provincial governments relative to watersheds and Great Lakes. Ken has been recognized as a wonderful ambassador in encouraging bi-national cooperation, sustainable management and environmental restoration of the Detroit River and throughout the Great Lakes on projects such as the Healthy Great Lakes initiative, the Lake Erie Lamp and others.
Over the span of his career, Ken was typically the first person in the office and the last person to leave each day. He involved his entire family in his work, spending most weekends at Conservation Areas, always with an eye toward the next project or opportunity. For his lifelong service and dedication to improving the environment of the Windsor-Essex region, it is an honour to recognize Ken Schmidt as a Conservation Champion.