Alan Stacey : Environmentalist of the Year – 1982

Alan Stacey’s interest in the environment has spanned fifteen years, stretching from Niagara to Tobermory, and encompassing recycling programs and articles on historical landmarks. Throughout, his basic motivation has been to serve; his principle concern has been the preservation of our environment and local history.

Alan first became involved in environmental issues in 1968. At that time, the lovely Dundas Valley was a proposed route for a four lane highway. This threat aroused Alan for at least two reasons. He was teaching local geography to this high school students, and preservation of our environment was a key issue in that course. As well, this highway proposal would have effectively destroyed the valley where he had spent many leisure hours hiking with friends.

Out of this concern grew the Students’ Park Fund whose ultimate aim was to purchase lands in the area that were threatened by such developments. Concerned Ancaster High School students, under Alan’s guidance, were joined by Parkside High School students led by Don Buntain.

Over the next decade these groups raised $70,000 to help in the acquisition of some 300 acres in the Dundas Valley and along the Niagara Escarpment. Alan considers this legacy his greatest achievement in the area of conservation. Other organizations recognized the Students’ Park Fund as an important venture. It received awards from such groups as the Sportsmens’ Show, the Ontario Federation of Naturalists, the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club and the Imperial Tobacco Company.

Alan has continued to be involved in environmental issues and causes. He was a founding member of PRESERVE, a group that organized a paper and glass recycling program in various communities. Another similar campaign, this time with students, resulted in the reclamation of ten tons of out-dated telephone books between 1974 and 1976. In 1983 he was involved with a pilot project in his high school which was attempting to recycle a considerable amount of the estimated twelve tons of paper that came into that institution annually.

Alan was president of the Bruce Trail Association from 1978 to 1980. During this time he dealt with right-of-way problems on the trail, the development of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and he oversaw the hiring of the Association’s first full time paid executive officer. He assisted with the development of a trail users guidebook and up to 1983, personally maintained a section of the trail. His interest in history surfaced in several articles that he had written and published about historical landmarks along the trail.

“Stace” has a love of the environment that extends beyond conservation projects and meeting rooms. He enjoys hiking, cross country skiing and canoeing. His fetish for exotic camping equipment was a source of amusement to friends, but, he did have the warmest and most comfortable tent on an annual Algonquin park canoe trip where he chaperoned his high school students. He was a “no trace” camper of the first order. He has been seen coming out of the bush with bags of garbage, not his own, but that left strewn trailside by other less careful campers. He willingly shared his time, enthusiasm and equipment with those who also love the world around them.

Alan lives in West Hamilton, just two blocks from the Bruce Trail that he has worked hard to promote and maintain. He is a family man, the proud father of two daughters that bring him a great deal of joy. As of 1983, he had taught at Ancaster High School for fifteen years and his personal involvement in the environmental issues of this community had been an exellent example for his students. Some of them have gone on to study in areas related to the environment, and others continue to be involved in local conservation programs.

Alan Stacey teaches by example. His involvement and personal life style are a testamount to his commitment. He actively wages war against the throw-away society. For example, one may see this by checking the odometer of his car. As of today, it reads 194,509 miles. “Stace” has played an active role in the preservation of our environment. He cares about his family, about his friends, about his community. The Hamilton region is a better place to live because of him.