/Summer resident and environmentalist wins LKO Conservation award
Behind the scenes look at Blake Parkinson filming his instagram live show called Planet Protectors. He started this show during the pandemic. /Submitted

Summer resident and environmentalist wins LKO Conservation award

By Grace Oborne

Preserving the health of our Earth is something that we should all work toward. 

During a virtual, annual general meeting of the Lake Kashagawigamog Organization that took place on June 15, Blake Parkinson was presented with the organization’s Conservation Award for his ongoing work to preserve the environment, especially our lakes.

Parkinson created a YouTube series called Blake on the Lake, for his peers on Lake Kashagawigamog where he teaches the ways in which we can improve the environment.

His videos include informational facts, compelling questions, and utmost enthusiasm that ultimately caught the attention of LKO members. 

“The videos that he did … He is just so enthusiastic and so exuberant, and he just exudes confidence for a 14-year-old. He comes across in these little two-minute videos as funny and he just captures people’s attention,” said Wendy Hampson, membership director of the LKO.

“These videos are aimed for kids, but for the adults, it’s also wonderful because they’re light-hearted and they’ve got a couple, maybe two or three nuggets of factual information that he’s researched himself. It’s just a perfect little tidbit to pick an adult’s interest to go on and research a little bit deeper on whatever the topic was.”

Before creating Blake on the Lake, Parkinson was hosting weekly live Instagram videos called Planet Protectors

Planet Protectors was something where I had always made these little initiatives, but they didn’t really go very far. Then, I was approached by Kirsten Sixt because she knew that I was doing my Instagram videos called Planet Protectors, and she suggested that I do something about being on the lake and how we can protect the lake,” explained Parkinson. 

Kirsten Sixt is the social director of the LKO and is who nominated Blake. Members of the conservation committee suggested nominating Parkinson as well. Hampson and her sister, Kathleen Conlan, who also suggested nominating Blake, and John Sheard make up the conservation committee.

Parkinson has always been a lover of the environment, but it started with his love for animals.

“I have always loved the environment which started with just loving animals. Then it went into thinking about how some animals have threat, so I started learning more about that. I think the lake just plays a big part because it’s a big, natural space,” he said. “I think it’s just very important that I teach people about the importance of the environment, especially when it’s just as simple as going to the lake and really learning how you can protect a place that you own property on. It’s just simple like that, where you can really do your part.”

He is also an Earth Ranger member and is involved in garbage clean-up efforts locally and for fundraisers such as the World Wildlife Fund. His conservation efforts were also recognized by the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust 2021 Youth Enviro Hero Award.

Parkinson reveals his gratitude and excitement for this accomplishment in the acceptance speech from the AGM meeting when he accepted his award.

“… I want to first thank you for honoring me with this year’s LKO Conservation award. It means so much to me. As some of you may know, I’ve been coming to my grandparent’s cottage on Lake Kashagawigamog since I was born, it has been a powerful influence on me and it’s helped me create a deep appreciation for the environment. This is one of the reasons why I helped create the LKO kids YouTube series that I did last year called, Blake on the Lake. I really enjoyed helping educate people on invasive species mosquito bites, the impact of sunscreen on the water and more. I really appreciate that you recognize the value of those videos in teaching the next generations about the local lake environment …”

Parkinson is going to receive a certificate award that was made by Conlan, a $100 cash prize, a decorated paddle that was decorated by Lori Galati, and a CD from Sheard, a renowned Canadian musician. 

To be eligible to win the Lake Kashagawigamog Organization conservation award, the nominee must be a seasonal or permanent resident. 

The organization’s conservation efforts include: water quality protection and enhancement, animal habitat improvement and support, land reclamation and soil enhancement and an encouragement of an appreciation of nature. 

For more information on eligibility, or to nominate someone, visit the LKO website at https://www.lko.ca/lko-conservation-award/.