Phil Roberts grew up as an environmentalist spending his summers canoeing and observing the birds and wildlife at Hillman Marsh. In his senior year of high school, he helped to form the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club, where he eventually served as President for many years. He has been the lead player or key team member for many local environmental projects, and has trained and mentored others to do the same.
Phil’s leadership with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory is also longstanding. For many years, he coordinated the banding program and actually constructed the banding stations for migration data collection. In 2000, he enabled the HBMO to establish a songbird banding station, one of the first stations where Hummingbirds were permitted to be banded.
Phil is a phenomenal educator, and has introduced thousands of adults and young people alike to the joys of birding and nature. In fact, for many years, he hosted a ‘Nature Guy’ radio segment on CBC. Phil also led the Destination Eagle initiative and a Prothonotary warbler habitat restoration project to improve habitat for these two endangered species.
He formerly was the liaison for the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, and has held numerous workshops and hikes over the years. In his current role as the Operations Manager for Your Quick Gateway, he helps protect animals from planes, and vice versa. Phil has worked to enhance habitat on his own private property as well, completing a five acre wetland restoration project at his farm in Essex. This included a large wetland and a deep fish habitat pond that is connected to the Canard River.
Phil continues to lend his time to many environmental organizations, including the Windsor Essex Environment Committee, the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup, the Essex County Field Naturalists Club and the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory. He has been key in sharing his expertise for conservation area development at ERCA. In fact, his accomplishments are too many to fully detail, but suffice it to say Phil has been a significant contributor to the conservation movement in Windsor and Essex County, and it is a great honour to recognize him as a Conservation Champion.