Canadian Boreal Awards honour the Government of Manitoba, Dehcho First
Nations, and Rona Hardware for protecting Canada's Boreal Forest

OTTAWA, Dec. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Boreal Initiative today presented the Boreal Leadership Council's Boreal Awards to this year's recipients, including the Government of Manitoba, Rona Hardware, scientist Fiona Schmiegelow of Alberta, along with other deserving winners.

They were recognized for their far-reaching vision, outstanding leadership, and collaborative initiatives to protect and sustain Canada's Boreal Forest. During a gala ceremony tonight at Ottawa's Chateau Laurier, the essential work of the award winners and finalists was recognized by a cross-section of Canada's leading community, business, and Aboriginal leaders, politicians, and engaged Canadians.

"It was apparent to our selection committee that the nominees were a true example of outstanding political leadership and also individual action at the community level," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "Every success these leaders represent brings us closer to seeing at least half of Canada's Boreal Forest protected and the remaining lands sustainably managed. Through a visionary approach to land use and stewardship planning, we can ensure a prosperous future for all Canadians."

    
    The 2009 Boreal Award recipients are:

    -   The Government of Manitoba who have championed the proposed
        Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site, announced a $10M Trust Fund to
        support the leading First Nations and put in place legislation for
        First Nations land planning and management of their traditional
        territories.

    -   Dehcho First Nation in the Northwest Territories, for achieving their
        goal with the federal government and others to protect the South
        Nahanni watershed through the expansion of the Nahanni National Park
        Reserve.

    -   The Community of Deline in the Northwest Territories who secured
        permanent protection of the Saoyú - ?ehdacho Parks Canada National
        Historic Site.

    -   RONA Hardware, for the adoption of an ambitious forest products
        procurement program.

    -   Dr. Fiona Schmiegelow, from the University of Alberta, for a career
        dedicated to boreal conservation, as an activist, a teacher and as a
        leader of major scientific research initiatives.

    -   Dr. Brad Stelfox, for a career focused on improving the quality and
        accessibility of information required for land-use planning.
    

As the world's leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, increasing attention is being paid to the carbon contained in Canada's Boreal Forest. A recent report identified the Boreal forests of North as one of the most significant carbon stores in the world, the equivalent of 26 years of global emissions from burning fossil fuels, based on 2006 emissions levels. These largely peatland carbon stores were not recognized in Kyoto and need to be included in international climate change agreements going forward.

The Boreal Awards, chosen by a committee of the Boreal Leadership Council, recognize leadership, innovation, cooperation and excellence among those who live and work in Canada's Boreal Forest region. All of the nominees have made an outstanding contribution to protecting the Boreal Forest and advancing the balanced vision of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.

The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest by governments, industry, Aboriginal communities, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

The Boreal Leadership Council is made up of leading conservation groups, Aboriginal organizations, resource companies and financial institutions, all of which have an interest and a stake in the future of Canada's Boreal Forest. Members of the Council are signatories to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, and are committed to Framework implementation in their activities.

SOURCE Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information: For further information: Suzanne Fraser, Director of communications, Canadian Boreal Initiative, sfraser@borealcanada.ca, (613) 552-7277 (mobile)

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