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Volunteers Honoured with 2018 4-H Ontario Arbor Award, sponsored by Monsanto

(Posted April 10, 2018)

ROCKWOOD, ON (April 10, 2018) - 4-H Ontario and Monsanto Canada Inc. have announced the recipients of this year’s 4-H Ontario Arbor Award, sponsored by Monsanto, a provincial honour recognizing exemplary volunteer service with 4-H Ontario.

The recipients of the 2018 4-H Ontario Arbor Award, sponsored by Monsanto, are Ross Chambers, Kawartha-Lakes Haliburton 4-H Association; Ann Marie Chechalk, Niagara 4-H Association; and Paulette Macdonald, Sudbury 4-H Association.

From left-right: Paulette Macdonald, Ross Chambers, Ann Marie Chechalk

Ross Chambers

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.” These are the words that exemplify Ross Chambers’ steady presence in all his volunteer and community endeavours. Never one to strive for the limelight, Ross works quietly behind the scenes ensuring things are done for the benefit of all. With patience and a positive attitude he has guided youth to learn new skills and go on to be solid, contributing citizens in a broad range of industries and sectors. He has also stepped up to lead clubs when 4-H members have expressed an interest, including Farm Safety, Plowing, and Field Crops. He willingly gives his time to local and regional events to make sure 4-H members have the opportunity to participate in different experiences.

Ross embraces the 4-H motto “Learn To Do By Doing” and proves by example that there is always something one can contribute to benefit others. He is continually willing to help friends, family, neighbours, and acquaintances whenever called upon. Whether leading a 4-H club, picking up supplies, flipping burgers at a food booth, driving Community Care clients, sorting food at the local food bank or chairing a church meeting, Ross embodies the 4-H pledge. His quiet, steady gift of time has led to success for himself, but more importantly success for the 4-H members, the local 4-H program and the broader community to which Ross serves through his various volunteer activities.

Ann Marie Chechalk

Ann Marie has been a 4-H leader for 30 years and has led a total of 110 clubs over the years. She stands out as an organizer, leader, and mentor to all who are a part of Niagara 4-H, from club leaders to the board of directors. Ann Marie organizes everything from the sign-up day to the year-end banquet. She serves as the Niagara 4-H photographer, not only photographing events for her own clubs but showing up at other clubs’ events to take pictures, which she sends to the newspaper to exhibit the accomplishments of members.

Ann Marie’s impact on the 4-H program is monumental in the Niagara Region. She strengthens the 4-H movement by promoting 4-H in the newspaper every month with stories, achievements and upcoming events. She and her family also run a food booth which advertises 4-H in the community. Ann Marie has been involved in 4-H at the provincial level by providing her 4-H “room” for leadership training. She also organized the 2008 Beamsville Discovery Day. She has helped to develop the Scrapbooking project manual, helped organize the Goat Symposium for many years, and has led Go For The Gold many times— winning at the Region 4 competition and sending many teams to the finals at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Paulette Macdonald

Paulette was first introduced to 4-H in 1976 while living in Renfrew County. On her family farm in Pembroke, Ontario, she, her best friend, and four other local girls got together with two 4-H leaders and became the Greenwood Homemaking Club. She enjoyed the experience of making new friends and learning new skills and continues her journey 42 years later as an active leader in Sudbury 4-H. Paulette completed her provincial honours and the certificate still hangs proudly in her office to this day. Shortly after moving to Arnprior, Paulette started a club there and ran it for many years. After moving to Sudbury, Paulette started another club and has since enjoyed over 15 years with the Clever Clovers. She is now bringing her members on a journey of food security by involving the club in the Sudbury Garden Network. Paulette has held many positions on the Sudbury 4-H Board including Database Coordinator, Secretary, Vice President and President. Paulette has also been involved with the Region 1 Board and served as President for many years.

The Sudbury Clever Clovers are an extended family to Paulette and she believes in a strong community alignment with the members. Paulette ensures this by each year meeting with the Mayor of Sudbury on National 4-H Day, followed by the raising of the 4-H flag at Tom Davies Square. The Clever Clovers have also been involved with creating jean-quilt blankets for the Sudbury Genevra House and donating blankets and quilts to the Northeastern Cancer Centre.

“This year’s recipients represent the essence of volunteering with 4-H and their communities,” says Evelyn Chambers, Senior Manager, Volunteer & Community Engagement, 4-H Ontario. “4-H Ontario is honoured to recognize them for their many years of engaging youth in becoming today’s leaders.”

Established in 2001 during the International Year of the Volunteer, the 4-H Ontario Arbor Award recognizes a select group of 4-H Ontario volunteers who have served the organization for over 10 years and have positively impacted both 4-H in Ontario and their local community. This is 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious volunteer award. This year, the Arbor Award welcomed Monsanto Canada as the new title sponsor of the 4-H Ontario Arbor Awards.

“Monsanto is so thankful for our connection to 4-H. We believe strongly in the value of supporting rural youth and helping them grow and develop into leaders,” said Trish Jordan, Public and Industry Affairs Director, Monsanto. “We also have a strong culture of volunteerism and giving back. So it feels right to be able to lend our sponsorship to recognize the people who make 4-H possible.”

To be eligible to receive the award, 4-H Ontario volunteers must be nominated by their 4-H Association, a local chapter of the provincial organization. The selection committee comprises representatives of 4-H Ontario, Monsanto Canada and previous Arbor Award winners. Nominees must have shown significant leadership, initiative and made a positive impact on 4-H at various levels. Nominees’ involvement in other community activities and organizations is also considered.

The 2018 recipients were honoured at the 4-H Ontario Arbor Award Banquet, sponsored by Monsanto, on Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Alliston, Ontario. The banquet was held in conjunction with 4-H Ontario’s Conference and Annual Meeting.

4-H Ontario will also host a tree planting ceremony for each recipient later in the year to commemorate their outstanding contributions.

About 4-H Ontario

4-H Ontario is a non-profit positive youth development organization that builds youth as leaders within their communities and assets to the world. With roots in rural Ontario, today it is open to youth of all backgrounds across the province. 4-H youth ages 6–21 and screened, engaged volunteer leaders come together to learn about selected topics through fun hands-on activities and mentorship. There are also provincial camps, conferences, competitions and national and international travel opportunities available to further develop skills in leadership, business, self-confidence and more. 4-H provides youth with a place they can be involved, accepted, valued and heard while developing valuable skills for leadership and life.

About Monsanto Canada Inc.

Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. They produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, canola and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. They work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, they collaborate with farmers, researchers, non-profit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.




For more information please contact:

Ryan Métivier, Coordinator, Communications, 4-H Ontario

519.856.0992 x465, digital@4-HOntario.ca


Trish Jordan, Public and Industry Affairs Director, Monsanto Canada Inc.


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