SHEGUIANDAH—The Little Current and District Fish and Game Club (LCFGC) recently honoured long-time supporter Larry Killens with a certificate of appreciation for his many years of promoting conservation during his time as a trustee with the Rainbow District School Board (RSDB).
“We wanted to acknowledge that and thank him, and thought it would be an appropriate way of doing it. He’s been a big supporter of the club, especially the educational program,” said LCFGC president Bill Strain. He noted that this is the first award the LCFGC has given out to recognize a community member’s contributions.
“I’m still glowing over it. Nothing is more rewarding than being complimented by your peers,” said Mr. Killens, adding that he also received a similar letter from Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association project co-ordinator Seija Deschenes.
Mr. Killens was removed from his position as Manitoulin trustee in the RDSB last year in a contentious move that drew strong community support behind Mr. Killens.
“The accolades I’ve received from the fish and game club and the Manitoulin Streams organization certainly cement and reinforce my thoughts and my urging that I wasn’t guilty of these things they were saying,” he said. “Any bad thoughts I had that I let people down are completely gone. That was the highest reward I could get.”
Mr. Killens also helped to honour the LCFGC and Mr. Strain through a community service award from RDSB in 2014.
“He was instrumental in promoting that, in getting it acknowledged and getting us that award,” said Mr. Strain, adding that he accepted an award from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for the LCFGC as well.
Mr. Killens’ involvement with the LCFGC began when they asked him to find a way to get children involved in conservation. He worked on a business case with other community partners such as educator and outdoorsman Neil Debassige and they managed to integrate these conservation activities within the standard curriculum.
“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. You need to get involved to get our kids out, away from their computers, to get out there and get involved,” said Mr. Killens, referencing Wiikwemkoong’s Autumn Peltier as a “stellar example” of what involvement can lead to. He added that spending priorities should be focused on health and enrichment first, such as ensuring lead-free pipes run to schools, before spending on recreational or less-critical infrastructure.
“When I talk about a community effort as part of the solution, I want to thank The Expositor’s staff for being there. Without the paper to get these stories out, nothing would happen,” said Mr. Killens.
Mr. Strain said he was confident in the new RDSB trustee for Manitoulin Island in terms of advocating for students going forward. Trustee Margaret Stringer was present at the LCFGC event last Thursday when Mr. Killens received his award.
“We have a good replacement with Margaret. She’s assured me that she wants to be involved as well and will certainly support in any way that she can. I think we’re in good hands,” he said.
Mr. Strain extended his final thanks to the unnamed company that donated the rods and reels for the nearly 150 students that took part in this year’s program, as well as the club volunteers who offered their support.