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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 11, 2005

Basrur, O'Connor Among Speakers at U of G Sponsored Conference

Sheela Basrur, Ontario's medical officer of health, and Justice Dennis O’Connor, associate chief justice of Ontario and former commissioner of the Walkerton water inquiry, are among the list of speakers presenting at the A.D. Latornell Conference on Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities. The conference, which is sponsored by the University of Guelph and Conservation Ontario, honours Art Latornell, OAC ’50, a longtime deputy regional director with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and a lifelong conservationist. The conference will be held Nov. 16 to 18 in Alliston, Ont., at the Nottawasaga Inn and Conference Centre.

The 12th annual conference will bring together nearly 1,000 practitioners, students, academics, politicians and non-governmental organizations to discuss environmental and conservation issues, including water-quality monitoring, new source-water protection legislation, land stewardship, fisheries management, forest restoration, climate change and risk management in natural areas.

“It’s the biggest and best annual conservation conference in Ontario," said Prof. Stew Hilts, chair of U of G’s Department of Land Resource Science and conference organizer. "It’s a place where science and policy come together.”

Hilts is co-author of a handbook published this year to help landowners protect the Oak Ridges Moraine, an environmentally sensitive landform covering 190,000 hectares in south-central Ontario. The new guidebook is the third publication in a series called Caring For Your Land published by the Centre for Land and Water Stewardship at the University of Guelph.

On Nov. 16, Basrur and O’Connor, along with Prof. Alan Wildeman, U of G vice-president (research), will take part in a special plenary session from 10 a.m. to noon. Later that day, William Rees of the University of British Columbia and author of Our Ecological Footprint, and 14-year-old Ryan Hreljac, founder of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, an organization that has raised more than $1 million to fund more than 165 water projects in nine developing countries, will be keynote speakers.

In addition, U of G geography professor Rob de Loë, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Rural Water Management, will lecture on “Climate Change and Its Impact on Watershed Planning,” Nov. 17 at 8:30 a.m.

Other speakers include Laurel Broten, Ontario Ministry of the Environment; Gord Miller, environmental commissioner of Ontario; and Ron Bonnett, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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