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Michael and Lindsay Groot and family win award

Michael and Lindsay Groot and family were recognized with conservation award and scrolls from MPs and MPPs.


Michael and Lindsay Groot and family, of Crediton area, win Conservationist of the Year Award
Ausable Bayfield Conservation presents Conservationist of the Year Award, to Michael and Lindsay Groot and family, at Partner Appreciation Evening held on March 21, 2024 at Ironwood Golf Club; The Crediton-area family has planted thousands of trees, improved management of runoff and erosion, created wildlife habitat

Michael and Lindsay Groot and family are winners of the Conservationist of the Year Award. Ausable Bayfield Conservation presented the award, to the Crediton-area family, at the Partner Appreciation Evening, on March 21, 2024, at Ironwood Golf Club.

Marissa Vaughan is Chair of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). She presented a locally handcrafted award to this year’s winners. A donation will also be made, in recognition, towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site. The ABCA Chair thanked the Groot family for the work they have done at their farm, Wholesome Pastures, to plant trees, to use no-till crop management and cover crops to reduce runoff and erosion and to build soil health, and to make other improvements and innovations that benefit their farm operation and watershed resources. 

“On behalf of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority and its Board of Directors, and staff, I would like to thank Michael, Lindsay, and the entire Groot family, for their dedication, over many years, to enhance watershed resources and build a brighter future.” She praised the vision and commitment of the Groot family and said “the improvements that are happening in our watershed simply could not happen without the dedication and commitment of landowners and watershed stewards like Michael and Lindsay Groot and their family.”

Ian Jean, ABCA Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist, introduced the award winners: “Through no-till cropping, cover cropping, and rotational grazing, the Groot family is building soil organic matter, and improving the soil health,” he said.

Why are healthy soils important? “On our working landscape, healthy soils are extremely important to healthy water and healthy watersheds,” he said. Healthy Soils “hold more water, they filter more water. Of course, there are other benefits to growing food and raising livestock.” He also praised the Groot family for sharing information with peers in the industry through tours at the farm and by speaking at workshops. “I’m not sure how they do it all, but I’m sure it’s because of their passion for the environment and their community and I’m so glad we’re able to recognize their efforts,” he said.

In accepting the award, Michael Groot said “it is very humbling to be added to that list of esteemed winners over the past 41 years.” He thanked his family for their support. He also thanked the organizations that have helped them to complete stewardship projects that protect soil and water.

The Groot family received congratulatory certificate of recognition scrolls presented on behalf of: Ben Lobb, MP, Huron-Bruce; Lisa Thompson, MPP, Huron-Bruce; Lianne Rood, MP, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex; John Nater, MP, Perth-Wellington; and Matthew Rae, MPP, Perth-Wellington.

Michael and Lindsay and family have planted thousands of trees. They have improved the management of runoff and erosion and created habitat for wildlife. They have established about 5.5 kilometres of new windbreaks on three farm properties. They have moved from conventional tillage to no-till. Through no-till crop management, they help to keep soil undisturbed in order to keep erosion in check and keep soil structure and root systems intact. They have made extensive use of cover crops as well. 

The Groot family works to maintain vegetative cover year-round and to practise crop rotation and they also rotate livestock pasturing. At their farm, Wholesome Pastures, they have established vegetated fencelines that act as windbreaks and slow down the travel of water traveling between fields to reduce runoff and erosion. They are advocates of including diverse plant species in the trees and shrubs they incorporate into shelterbelt plantings.

They planted Spruce and Cedar trees on the home farm in 2017 to establish a shelterbelt around farm buildings and a buffer along Ryan Drain. In 2018, they planted 200 Spruce trees as a field windbreak. In 2020, they planted 280 Conifers to establish a multi-species windbreak including Cedar, Pine and Spruce, and retaining the natural hardwoods in the fence line for enhanced biodiversity. In 2023, they planted 1,680 tree and shrub seedlings at their three farms south of Crediton. These trees created about four kilometres of tree lines and added wind protection and helped to manage water running off of land and to prevent erosion. There were more than 12 different tree species incorporated into windbreaks to improve overall biodiversity. Michael has presented to peers, at workshops, about cover crops and soil health.

South Huron District High School (SHDHS) teacher Amanda Keller, and some of her Eco Exeter students (Ryan Marsh; Liam Buckman; Sophia Buckman; Bria McCann; and Aaron Edwards) presented at the Partner Appreciation Evening. The topic of their presentation was: Away from pollution, towards solutions: Keeping plastics and other contaminants out of our water.

Ray Chartrand, ABCA Vice Chair and a director of the board, received a Years of Service Award for nine years of service on the board of directors. Brian Horner, former ABCA General Manager, now Financial Services Supervisor, received a Years of Service Award for 15 years of service at ABCA.

PHOTO INFORMATION: At left in photo, constituency assistant Bill Strong, on behalf of Ben Lobb, MP, Huron-Bruce; presents a certificate of recognition scroll to Conservationist of the Year Award winners Michael and Lindsay Groot. Also shown in photo are Marissa Vaughan, Chair of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Board of Directors and ABCA Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist Ian Jean. Certificates of recognition were also presented to the Groot family on behalf of Lisa Thompson, MPP, Huron-Bruce; Lianne Rood, MP, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex; John Nater, MP, Perth-Wellington; and Matthew Rae, MPP, Perth-Wellington.

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