Ben Vanderbrug : Environmentalist of the Year – 1993

The Dr. Victor Cecilioni Award winner for the Environmentalist of the Year in 1993 is Ben Vanderbrug. Under his personal leadership as general manager, the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority has acquired and protected thousands of hectares of wetlands, woodlots, stream valleys and other signigicant wildlife habitat. But this is only one of the reasons why the HRCA under Ben’s direction has acquired a reputation as one of the most successful conservation authorities in the province.

Others include his methodical development of the Authority’s financial independence from the vagaries of government funding, and his leadership in environmental and recreational initiatives such as the acquisition and development of rail-trails. Add to these achievements, Ben’s selfless volunteer activity in international environmental management in Malaysia and Estonia, and his long courageous battle to protect the Red Hill Valley.

Fighting for an environmentally sustainable future from a position within a government structure is itself a daunting task. To have accomplished what Ben has would be worthy of the highest praise anywhere in the province; to have achieved it in the political climate of Hamilton-Wentworth is nothing short of remarkable.