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November 29, 2018
2018 Oxford Stewardship Award winner announced

Lynn and Leslie Sage recognized for their efforts to preserve our natural environment

Oxford County Warden David Mayberry presented the 2018 Oxford Stewardship Award to Lynn and Leslie Sage at last night’s meeting of County Council, in recognition of their efforts toward land improvement and sustainability.

The Sages were singled out by the award selection committee for their passion and commitment to preserving the natural beauty of their heritage land along Old Stage Road. With more than 200 acres on three farms, the sisters are the fifth generation to farm their land using best farming practices and conservation initiatives.

This year, they have continued to protect the retired pastures on the flood plain by planting 350 mixed native seedlings. On all three farms, protective windbreaks follow the fence lines and road and surround their buildings. They also protect 34 acres of Provincially Significant Wetlands, buffer Kenny Creek and their drainage ditch with trees and permanent grass to prevent erosion and maintain cold water in the creek.

The Norwich Township residents were among three short-listed candidates chosen from a pool of about 66 eligible projects supported by the Clean Water Program. The program is funded by Oxford County and administered by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and promotes water quality improvement, as well as woodland and wetland conservation and enhancement. All of this year’s finalists undertook various land improvements to protect the environment by planting trees and constructing terraces to prevent soil erosion.

Oxford County is once again honouring this year’s Oxford Stewardship Award recipient with original artwork commissioned from a local artist. As the 2018 winner, the Sages will receive a $500 gift certificate towards the purchase of original artwork by Paul Walker.

In addition to this prize, the Sages will also be added to the recognition wall at the Oxford County Administration Building, designed to honour all past, and future, recipients of the Oxford Stewardship Award.

The winner of the Oxford Stewardship Award is chosen by representatives of local stewardship organizations, with Gerard Pynenburg, Soil & Crop Improvement Association, and Cher Sprague, Stewardship Oxford, leading the judging process. This year’s other short-listed candidates included:

  • Ian Matheson of Zorra Township
    For constructing two terraces to prevent gully erosion on agricultural land.
  • Mark Janssen of South-West Oxford
    For planting and caring for 1,900 new mixed native tree seedlings on his farm property.


David Mayberry, Warden, County of Oxford

“Oxford County has a proud history of environmental stewardship, and our landowners continue to demonstrate a deep respect and commitment to protecting our natural environment for future generations. I am honoured to present the 10th annual Oxford Stewardship Award in recognition of efforts to preserve and enhance natural features and areas.”


Download: 2018 OSA Presentation 1.jpg (10252Kb)
Cutline: The 2018 Oxford Stewardship Award was presented at the November 28 County Council meeting to Lynn and Leslie Sage of Norwich Township. From left to right: Paul Michiels, Oxford County Community Planning; Lynn Sage; Warden David Mayberry; Cher Sprague, Stewardship Oxford; Paul Walker, 2018 OSA selected award artist; and Peter Crockett, CAO, Oxford County.

Download: 2018 OSA Presentation 2.jpg (12220Kb)
Cutline: The 2018 Oxford Stewardship Award was presented at the November 28 County Council meeting to Lynn and Leslie Sage of Norwich Township. From left to right: Mark Janssen, 2018 OSA finalist; Paul Walker, 2018 OSA selected award artist; Lynn Sage, 2018 OSA winner; and Cher Sprague, Stewardship Oxford.

Downloads: Sage 1 Norwich Township.JPG (13836Kb) | Sage 2 Norwich Township.JPG (14481Kb) | Sage 3 Norwich Township.jpg (1844Kb)
Cutline: Lynn and Leslie Sage received the 2018 Oxford Stewardship Award at the November 28 County Council meeting in recognition of their efforts to preserve the natural beauty of their heritage land along Old Stage Road in Norwich Township.


  • Candidates for the Oxford Stewardship Award are drawn from recipients of the previous year’s Clean Water Program incentive funding. Funding is available for woodland and wetland conservation and enhancement; soil erosion prevention and remediation; protection of surface and groundwater; proper chemical and fuel handling and storage; and other environmental initiatives. In 2017, a total of 81 Clean Water projects were funded in Oxford County. This reflected in over $439,000 in total project value and $115,000 in grants. Oxford County committed $70,000 to the program. For more information on the Clean Water Program, visit
  • The Oxford Stewardship Award was established in 2009 to recognize County landowners who have made outstanding contributions to protecting our natural heritage. It builds on the legacy of the former Landsaver Award, which was granted between 1982 and 2003 to recognize outstanding contributions by the farming community toward the conservation of natural features and areas, such as woodlands, wetlands, streams and meadows. The current stewardship award serves to acknowledge the important role that all landowners can play in preserving and enhancing the County’s natural environment.
  • Paul Walker is an artist from Oxford County. For more information, visit

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About Oxford County

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 114,000 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to becoming a zero waste community and achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that serves as a springboard for some of the sustainable industries that are steadily diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit or follow our social media sites at Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at


Donna Kemp | Strategic Communication & Engagement
519.539.9800, ext. 3158 |