April 22, 2022

[Moncton, NB] Every year, the New Brunswick Environmental Network hands out awards in recognition of people and environmental groups working to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment. This year, awards were handed out on Earth Day and accompanied by a video highlighting the social, economic and ecological contributions of local environmental groups to their respective communities.

“As the pandemic and war in Ukraine capture global attention, it’s comforting to know that people here at home continue in their efforts to protect our shared environment. The New Brunswick Environmental Network is composed of over 110 environmental groups from all four corners of our province and working in both official languages. When it comes to environmental protection, we are definitely a province that punches above its weight”, shared Tim Leblanc Murphy, Executive Director of the NBEN.

Collectively, this year’s awards recipients have contributed to protecting our shorelines, providing environmental education to our children, fighting for more urgent measures to address climate change, building food sovereignty, increasing indigenous knowledge of aquatic issues, and conserving valuable natural habitat.

“As an organization working primarily on air quality, it’s nice to be able to join a Network of other environmental groups working towards the same larger goal of a healthy environment and sustainable planet. One group’s success is everyone’s success, so we are pleased to recognize those who stood out over the past year”, stated Melanie Langille, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association and Chair of the NBEN Steering Committee.

The New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN), established in 1991, is a communication network that links together over 110 non-profit environmental organizations. Its role is to improve communication and co-operation among environmental groups and between these groups, government and other sectors. The NBEN is not an advocacy group and does not take positions on any issue. Rather, the NBEN provides educational opportunities for its member and associate groups and encourages the growth of the environmental movement in New Brunswick.


For comment or to arrange an interview with any of this year’s awards recipients, please contact:

Annika Chiasson, Communication Manager

2021 NBEN Awards Recipients


Samaqan Award

The Samaqan Award is for those who have dedicated their efforts to the waters and the species that inhabit the waters. This year, the award is presented to the Gespe’gewaq Mi'gmaq Resource Council (GMRC) for its work in harmonizing the strengths of Mi'gmaq knowledge with Western scientific approaches in order to provide a better understanding of the water issues affecting its member communities.

GMRC is a non-profit organization with members from the Aboriginal communities of Eel River bar (Ugpi'ganjig), Pabineau (Oinpegitjoig L'noeigati), and Listuguj (Quebec). They are leaders who bring together the partners across their territory. GMRC’s core activities include habitat management and stewardship, as well as research and collection of Mi’gmaq Ecological Knowledge.

Their dedicated team is making a difference to aquatic resources by providing Mi'gmaq ecological knowledge and impartial scientific research to shape informed Mi'gmaq public policy.


Gaia Award

The Gaia Award is for those who have dedicated their efforts to the earth and the species that inhabit the earth. This year, the award is presented to Linda Stephenson in recognition of her instrumental role in habitat conservation across New Brunswick and Canada since 1998.

Stephenson has worked with non-governmental organizations since the mid-1980s. Her first exposure to the environmental sector was with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and she has also served on the Executive Committee of the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, the Board of Eastern Habitat Joint Venture, and the South-Central NB Forestry Working Group.

In 1998, Linda Stephenson joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) with the mandate of establishing a permanent office for the Atlantic Region. Over the next 18 years Stephenson would build a strong team of conservation and fundraising professionals with a common vision of conserving ecologically sensitive habitats throughout Atlantic Canada.

During Stephenson’s tenure as Vice President of the Atlantic Region she was personally involved in nearly 315 separate land conservation projects throughout Atlantic Canada. By raising the necessary funds and negotiating agreements with willing private landowners, NCC was successful in negotiating 148 of these projects in New Brunswick. The province’s ecologically sensitive wetland, forests, and coastal shoreline areas were successfully protected for today and future generations.

These sites are in all corners of the province, from 11 different projects involving wetlands and salt marsh properties on Miscou Island on the northeast tip of New Brunswick to five key sites for migratory birds on Grand Manan Island. Her long-term commitment and positive impact on nature conservation in New Brunswick and the greater Atlantic Region will resonate for many years to come.


Phoenix Award

The Phoenix Award is for those who have dedicated their efforts to policies and legislation and have been through "the fire". This year, the award is presented to Nancy Juneau for her leadership in the environmental movement in the Acadian Peninsula leading to the mobilization of her community through the creation of Imaginons la péninsule acadienne autrement.

A Franco-Ontarian by birth and Acadian by adoption, Nancy Juneau has a wide range of professional and community experience, both at the executive and participatory levels, at the local, provincial, and national levels. She has worked in many capacities, both volunteer and professional. As a consultant, trainer and public relations professional, she has worked in a variety of fields ranging from education, training, fisheries, and media, to social engagement in language rights, women's rights, and most recently the environment.

In the spring of 2015, following a climate march organized in Inkerman as part of COP 21, she provided leadership in organizing the voices of Acadian Peninsula citizens towards the creation of an organization, Imaginons la Péninsule acadienne autrement. Over the years, through awareness events, citizen mobilizations and organizational changes, Nancy’s visionary qualities have helped lead the organisation to success since its inception.

An excellent communicator, she combines expertise in facilitation, non-profit governance, strategic planning, event planning and public relations with strong teamwork and consensus leadership skills. With her ability to synthesize information, good judgment and a strong sense of humour, she brings intuition, creativity and simplicity to the mandates she is given.


Salicorne Award

The Salicorne Award, thus named for the important significance of this plant in Acadian heritage, is a special award handed out this year in partnership with the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) to a member of the NBEN who, over the past year, has provided environmental leadership in French in one of the many Acadian communities in the province. The award is presented to Serge LaRochelle from the Groupe de développement durable du Pays de Cocagne for his passion and commitment to natural landscaping and naturalization, inspiring thousands of students and his Acadian community in Cocagne.

Serge LaRochelle is passionate about gardening and the environment. He is originally from St. Boniface, Manitoba and has been living in Cocagne, New Brunswick since 2008. He completed a Master's degree in Natural Resource Management at the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Ottawa.

Serge has been working in his community for over 10 years, offering his practical advice, knowledge and skills to the local schools and community. He volunteers at the Cocagne Community Garden, the Community Dinner, and with many youth activities. His strength as a convener has been central to Cocagne and Grande-Digue's climate change planning. Recently, he has been working on projects for naturalizing our coasts to reduce the impacts of climate change on our communities. One of these projects, a Living Coasts project in the Cocagne Community Park, was nationally recognised by the Society for Organic Urban Care for its exemplary greener greenspace stewardship. People throughout his community appreciate his skills, his commitment and his listening skills.


Thuja Award

The Thuja Award, thus named for the long-lived tree, is a special award handed out this year in honor of the organization’s 30th anniversary. It is intended for a group or individual having made significant contributions to the NBEN over the course of its history. The recipients are Sabine Diez of CLIMAtlantic and Roland Chiasson of Aster Group. The Thuja Award is presented to Roland Chiasson and Sabine Dietz for past and ongoing contributions of their time and expertise, and for their outstanding engagement to the environmental movement and to the Network over the course of its 30-year history in numerous areas, including conservation and biodiversity, climate action, and sustainability education.

Currently the Executive Director of CLIMAtlantic, Atlantic Canada’s climate services hub, Sabine has worked for over 30 years on species at risk and ecosystem conservation, as Executive Director of the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre, for the NB government leading climate change adaptation programs; and initiating, leading and working on a multitude of climate change adaptation projects and programs with and for municipalities, the federal and provincial governments, and the NGO community. She holds a PhD in biology (UNB), a Master's in Environmental Studies from U de Moncton, and a Baccalaureate in environmental & resource studies from Trent University. She has volunteered with numerous non-governmental organizations, having served on the Steering Committee of the Climate Change Adaptation Collaborative Steering Committee, Biodiversity Collaborative, and Crown Lands Caucus, the NBEN Finance Committee, and the BRACE Project Advisory Committee, among others. She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of Nature Canada. She is a town councillor in Sackville, NB, and she loves gardening, backpacking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Roland is currently working as a wildlife biologist / ornithologist and as an environmental educator for the Aster Group, an environmental workers’ cooperative. He is also one of the founders of Great Minds Think Outside, an NBEN program, the long standing chair of the NB Sustainable Education Alliance, and was once a member of the steering committee of the NBEN. He and his partner Sabine Dietz initiated a Piping Plover conservation education program on the Acadian Peninsula in the early 1990’s. Prior to his work on Piping Plover, he was fortunate to work as a park interpreter in most of Atlantic Canada’s national parks. He earned his degree in wildlife biology from Acadia University, his masters is in biological conservation and environmental education from York University and his teacher’s license is from Mount Allison University. He is an avid cross-country skier, loves kayaking, wilderness camping, hiking, biking, and enjoys a decent science fiction story.
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