(FREDERICTON, NB) – The late Owen Washburn, and his wife Sheila Washburn, long-time New Brunswick naturalists and environmentalists, have been honoured with the distinction of being the 2018 recipients of the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Excellence in Land Conservation.

As founding members of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the Washburn’s have had a significant impact on land conservation in New Brunswick. Owen Washburn was given the honour of being the first president of the Nature Trust and stayed in that position for two years. Sheila also joined the board and became the president of the Nature Trust in the years after.

One of the first properties that the volunteer-based organization had high on their list of significant properties to conserve was Sam Orr’s Pond, located 11 kilometres north east of Saint Andrews in Bocabec. Sheila’s father, Judge Earl Caughey, owned much of that pond and surrounding property.

Owen and Sheila worked tirelessly for years to establish and protect this property for the Nature Trust, due to the ecological significance of land and the large brackish pond, created 30,000 years ago by glacial movements, located on the property. Eventually, the Nature Trust became the major owner of all the lots of land that the pond sat on, and in 1999, it became the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve. Sheila and her brother Michael Caughey also donated an additional parcel of land towards the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve.  Following her term as President of the Nature Trust, the preserve has been extended further thanks to the Coastal Land Campaign, a Nature Trust initiative which Sheila assisted with. Owen and Sheila also went on to donate more property to the trust in order for it to be protected, forever.

“Owen and Sheila Washburn have made significant impacts on land conservation in the province,” says Wayne Burley, President of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick.  “Owen and Sheila showed their commitments to protecting New Brunswick’s special areas through their generous donations and volunteer work, and support of our land trust. We are pleased to join our Honourary Patron, The Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau, to give thanks to the Washburn’s, who contributed so much to land conservation in our province.”

Owen and Sheila have been avid supporters of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, donating time, land, and funds over the course of 31 years. The Washburn’s have also been involved and supported many other environmental organizations and businesses as well as community groups in the Fredericton area. Their many generous contributions to the Nature Trust have helped the organization grow in many ways.

“We pioneers are amazed at the progress being accomplished by a strong team,” said Sheila.  “There seem to be no limits to the growth of the Nature Trust.  It is amazing and wonderful to watch.  Our dreams are being fulfilled.”

This award was given to Sheila on November 29, 2018 and was given posthumously to Owen. Sheila recognizes that the support of organizations like the Nature Trust is one of the most effective and satisfying ways to continue protecting our planet.  The Nature Trust congratulates and thanks the late Owen Washburn and Sheila Washburn for their contributions to New Brunswick land conservation.

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The Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Excellence in Land Conservation was established in 2012 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. Previous recipients of the award have included the late Mary Majka, the Meduxnekeag River Association, Roberta Clowater, and the late Don Dennison. As the Honorary Patron of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau, presents the annual award in recognition of an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the protection of natural heritage through stewardship, volunteerism, donation of lands or building effective partnerships.

About the Nature Trust of New Brunswick
Established in 1987, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick is a registered charitable land conservation organization dedicated to preserving the province’s ecologically significant landscapes. To date, the Nature Trust has conserved over 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) in more than 50 beautiful and diverse nature preserves in New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.naturetrust.nb.ca.


Media Contact:

 Danielle Andrus
Communications and Engagement Manager
Nature Trust of New Brunswick
(506) 457-2398