Peach honoured with 2017 Latornell Award - Dec. 14, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The late Geoff Peach of Blyth has again been honoured for his hard work and dedication towards conservation over the course of his career.
Late last month, Peach was posthumously presented with the 2017 Latornell Leadership Award for his work with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. He was awarded alongside Brian Kelly from the Regional Municipality of Durham, Mark Heaton from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Dr. Steven Cooke of Carleton University.
Peach’s wife Cheryl and daughter Kathryn were on hand at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in late November in Alliston to receive the award on behalf of Geoff.
Patrick Donnelly, the Coastal Science and Stewardship Advisor for the centre, said that Peach had worked hard to leave the centre in a good place after he passed away.
“Geoff has left the Coastal Centre in great shape and his good work lives on, embedded with the four full-time staff, an office in Goderich, an impressive list of funded projects and a group of dedicated volunteer Board of Directors...,” Donnelly said. “Geoff’s legacy lives on and I believe this award named after Art Latornell and recognizing Art’s unique mentoring abilities is a very fitting tribute for my friend and business partner.”
Cheryl said that while the centre is certainly celebrating success, it is still challenged to obtain core funding and donations as a non-profit organization.
However, both she and Kathryn said Geoff would have been greatly honoured to win the award.
“It is amazing how much one can influence others and do it so gently, strategically and with humour. All with the belief and vision of keeping these lands and waters here to enjoy for future generations,” Cheryl said. “Geoff was a true mentor and educator - he worked for the community and the public ... he readily and freely shared his knowledge and expertise with coastal communities, his staff, students, educators and his family, in order to preserve these beautiful, natural resources for future generations.”
Kathryn said it has been amazing to see the recognition for her father throughout the year.
“Dad always loved to celebrate events, especially his birthday: for days, weeks, and on his 50th, it was the year,” she said in her speech. Well, in true dad style, this too has been the year of Geoff: the media stories, donations to his scholarship fund, the Freshwater Hero Award, the Geoff Peach Walkway dedication at Sauble Beach and now this prestigious award. Although he was proud of what he had accomplished, he had no idea of his impact or how far an audience he had reached. “
Cheryl agreed, saying that Geoff taught those around him not only about the world, but about life and its importance.
“Geoff taught us, life is not about personal monetary gain or success. It is about those you love, staying true to yourself, and doing what is right for you, others, and the world in general,” she said.
For more information on the Latornell Awards, visit the organization’s website at latornell.ca and for more information on the Coastal Centre, visit its website at lakehuron.ca.