Author Archives: Ron Arnold

2020 Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on July 15, 2020.

July 15th, 2020

2020 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year  

Temiskaming Shores – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Mike Schenk has been selected as the 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year. Mike is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) North Bay Enforcement Unit working out of the New Liskeard office.

Mike has been employed with MNRF across Northern Ontario since the early 1980’s and been a Conservation Officer for over 20 years, the last 18 of which he has patrolled the Temagami area.  He has proven throughout his career to be an outstanding officer, widely respected and relied upon by officers and staff from internal and external organizations.  This is evident by the long list of people that supported his nomination.  “Mike is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award,” said OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “Mike has been an invaluable asset to our profession over the years, both as a skillful investigator and as an instructor.  In the field, Mike is among the best officers we have at taking statements and conducting thorough investigations.  In the classroom, Mike is a captivating speaker who speaks from experience.” 

Mike is an accomplished investigator and instructor who has demonstrated his commitment to the job and to protecting the public and our natural resources.  Some of Mike’s career highlights include:

  • Conducting and assisting with many complex investigations and projects, including investigations into night hunting, forest fires, illegal black bear outfitting operations, illegal netting and commercialization of fish, moose hunting investigations with a focus on the inhumane killing of wildlife and projects with a focus on public safety related offences. 
  • Receiving two OCOA Life Saving Awards 
  • Receiving an OPP Commissioner’s Commendation
  • Developing and delivering training on a variety of topics to fellow Conservation Officers and other MNRF staff
  • Receiving multiple Appreciation in Motion awards from the MNRF
  • Delivering hundreds of natural resource related presentations to; youth/public groups, hunter safety classes, cottage associations, park visitors and angler and hunter groups
  • Being a dedicated volunteer, including:
    • Leading and supporting food drives for local food banks
    • Being a Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Lieutenant to instruct at the Army Cadet Corp in his community
    • 5 years as a Scout leader and 2 years as a Beaver leader with Scouts Canada
    • Participating in the Cops for Cancer fundraising campaign
    • Active member with the Temiskaming Anglers and Hunters Association and Temiskaming Bullseye Club

Upon learning he had been selected as the 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year, Mike said, “I am truly surprised and humbled by this award.  I was raised in a family environment full of outdoor adventure accompanied by terrific lifelong friends, so a career in natural resource management and enforcement was an excellent lifestyle fit for me.  I share this award with all the dedicated officers and MNRF staff that I have worked with over the past 36 years, we have effectively learned and supported each other in the pursuit of sound resource conservation.  It has been a privilege to be an Ontario Conservation Officer, I wish I could turn back time so I could live the adventure all over again.”

Mike was also awarded the MNRF Conservation Officer of the Year Award and he will be receiving the Shikar-Safari Club International Ontario Wildlife Officer of the Year Award, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Conservation Officer of the Year Award, and he has been nominated for the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association Officer of the Year Award.

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association  

scronsberry@ocoa.ca

 

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2019 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on September 11, 2019.

August 20, 2019

2019 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Owen Sound – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Marco Grigio has been selected as the 2019 Conservation Officer of the Year. Marco currently works for the Thunder Bay Enforcement Unit.

The Conservation Officer of the Year announcement was made at the OCOA annual general meeting on Saturday August 17th, in Owen Sound.  “Marco is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award,” said OCOA Vice President Todd Steinberg, “Marco is a top notch field officer, he has been a coach officer and a mentor to many new and aspiring Conservation Officers and has been an integral part in shaping and delivering the marine training program for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Enforcement Branch and the Ontario Provincial Police.  He has been an instructor with the O.P.P. marine training program for the past ten years.” 

Marco is an accomplished team member and enforcement officer who has demonstrated his commitment to the job and to protecting the public and our natural resources.  Some of Marco’s career highlights include:

  • Being a Conservation Officer in Ontario for over 25 years while serving with professionalism, honesty and integrity
  • Being a Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • Being an instructor with the OPP Marine training program for the past 10 years
  • Helping develop and deliver the marine training program for the MNRF Enforcement Branch
  • Organizing and leading a number of successful projects targeting public safety related issues and offences
  • Being a long-time volunteer in his community as a coach, a trainer and a board member in his local youth hockey organization 

Upon learning he had been selected as the 2019 Conservation Officer of the Year, Marco stated, “We have the best job in the world.  Full of spice, challenges, fun, adventure, and most importantly, rewarding in catching those who cheat our resources.  All we have to do is care and everything falls into place.  I can honestly say that I have never met a CO who said “I hate my job”.  Sure there’s frustration, everyone has some, but it doesn’t come close to trumping all the good.  So, it’s for this reason, that this award is so special.  It comes from my peers, who enjoy and appreciate the profession as much as I do.”

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association  

scronsberry@ocoa.ca

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Hooked on Life Jackets 2018

Posted on June 25, 2018.

2018 Hooked on Life Jackets

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CSBC & OCOA Team Up To Keep Ontario Anglers Safe on the Water

June 25, 2018, Toronto, ON, — June 30th-July 8th marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’.  But they do share one trait.  They both have to be worn to be effective!

According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing. 

Many of those who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them onboard and within easy reach is good enough. But a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.

“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council.  “During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat, but to look after it and wear it.   If you happen to fall overboard, it will give you the time you need to calm down, catch your breath, assess your situation and effect, or help effect, a rescue.  In 2 out of 3 drownings related to boating, the victims were less than 15 meters from some form of safety.”

Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the models that are designed especially to suit their needs.  They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear.  Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net.  When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.

“The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is excited about partnering with the CSBC to promote the Hooked on Lifejackets program,” said Tim Rochette, President of the OCOA. “Our organization is dedicated to the sustainable use of all of our beautiful natural resources in Ontario, which includes ensuring that all boaters stay safe and wear a lifejacket while enjoying our waterways.”

Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on. At this important time of year, the CSBC and OCOA are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets too.

This initiative is made possible through support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.  

For a 30-second television & radio PSAs along with BRoll relating to impaired boating, visit www.csbc.ca.

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For further information contact:

Ian Gilson

Director – Canadian Safe Boating Council

Tel: (905)719-5152    igilson@rogers.com

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Stretching the Season – Boating Safety Into The Fall

Posted on September 18, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fall Boating – It Takes A Little Bit More Care

September 18th, 2017 – Toronto, ON — Boating in the fall offers colourful vistas, quiet anchorages and excellent fishing but it is not without its challenges that necessitate self-sufficiency and taking some additional precautions to keep from running into trouble.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officer Association want to remind all boaters enjoying the fall season on the water to follow these tips to ensure that their excursions are both safe and enjoyable.

Before heading out, be sure to check the weather forecast. The mixing of warm and cold air can quickly spawn high winds and waves making it treacherous for small boats.  Fog, too, is an issue at this time of year making visibility difficult.  Should boaters find themselves in a fog bank, they should proceed slowly and sound their horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of their presence.

Well into October, daytime temperatures can occasionally be balmy but dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and the boater find himself in the water.    Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but they shouldn’t panic.  It may take a minute or so to get their breathing under control after the initial shock but they will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to affect self-rescue before they start to lose muscle control in their arms and legs.  This is where an approved lifejacket, either inflatable or inherently buoyant, is an essential part of a boater’s wardrobe to keep them afloat after they can no longer swim.

In the fall, there are fewer boats on the water to offer assistance, if needed. Boaters should be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if they’re overdue.  A marine radio or cell phone will allow them to call for assistance should the need arise.  Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow them to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause them to be stranded out on the water.

It’s important that boaters ensure that their boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.   Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank.  The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the fuel line from freezing which could cause the engine to chug to a halt.  If the boat has portable fuel tanks, it’s a good idea to have a spare on board as a reserve.

When boaters head out, they should be wary of reduced water levels that can result after a long, hot and dry summer season.  Some of a boater’s favourite shallow water fishing holes may be inaccessible at this time of year.  Also, while underway, they should keep a sharp lookout for debris and chunks of ice that could penetrate the boat’s hull at speed.

“Spectacular colours, peaceful solitude and the crispness of the air make boating in the fall a wondrous experience,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “To make the most of this experience safely, however, boaters need to be extra diligent in their preparations before departing. Most important of these are checking the weather, dressing for the water temperature, wearing a lifejacket and leaving a float plan with a responsible person on shore who can call for help should the need arise.”

Tim Rochette – Ontario Conservation Officers Association

“Now that fall is here, boaters should make the most of what’s left of the boating season before the cold weather hits. By exercising a little caution and an ability to be self-sufficient when out on the water, they can more fully enjoy nature’s splendour and quiet waterways.”

“To Ontario’s hunters utilizing watercraft to access their favourite blind or stand and to the fisherman hoping to catch that late fall trophy fish, the OCOA strongly encourages you to wear your life jacket.  Any one of the reasons outlined above should be enough to make you want to”

Visit www.csbc.ca for more tips on boating safety.

For further information contact:

Ian Gilson

Director – Canadian Safe Boating Council

905-719-5152

Igilson@rogers.com

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Steve Emms – Conservation Officer of the Year 2014

Posted on August 30, 2014.

OCOA & MNR Conservation Officer of the Year, 2014

Ontario Conservation Officer Steve Emms 

Medal 2009

London – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Steve Emms has been selected as the 2014 Conservation Officer of the Year. Steve currently works as a Provincial Training Specialist out of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Steve was presented with the award at the OCOA annual general meeting on Friday August 8th. “Steve has been a Conservation Officer for 29 years and has had many great accomplishments. Steve is the first Provincial Training Specialist to receive this prestigious award.” said OCOA President Joe McCambridge.

Steve Emms has worked around the Province and some of his career highlights include:

  • Founding member of the Ministry of Natural Resources Provincial Training Unit in 1997.

  • Helped bring innovative new training techniques and tools to the field that has improved training.

  • Active within the Ontario Conservation Officer Association and is currently the Northwest Regional Representative.

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While accepting the award Steve indicated “he never really considered being a Conservation Officer a career, it is more a lifestyle and stressed that without the support of his family throughout his career, it would not have been possible.”

Steve was also presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Officer of the Year award by Lois Deacon, Director MNRF Enforcement Branch and Assistant Deputy Minister, Provincial Services Division Al Tithecott. Lois Deacon said, “Steve has a great ability to relate to officers and they in turn relate to him”.

In addition, Steve also received the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award and the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (part of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies) Officer of the Year Award.

Lois Deacon, Director, Enforcement Branch
John Clements, Manger Enforcement Operations
705-755-3249
www.ontario.ca/conservationofficer

Joe McCambridge,
President Ontario Conservation Officers Association
613-732-2242
www.ocoa.ca

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Operation DryWater

Posted on July 31, 2014.

 

July 31, 2014

MAKE THIS LONG WEEKEND A SAFE ONE, DON’T DRINK AND BOAT!

 

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is joining with the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) to raise awareness and reduce alcohol related deaths on the waterways. Alcohol is a factor in approximately 40% of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. This August long weekend marks the start of year 2 of “Operation Dry Water”, an initiative to discourage the dangerous practice of drinking and boating.

 

What many boaters may not understand is that many factors such as sun, wind, and the rocking motion of the boat can greatly increase the effects of alcohol while on the water.

 

“Our members, working as Ontario Conservation Officers, will be out on the waterways this long weekend enforcing fishing regulations, while also ensuring the safety of both recreational anglers and boaters in the Province of Ontario”, says OCOA President Joe McCambridge. “We encourage everyone to please leave the alcohol on shore when you head out in your boat for a day of fishing and wait until you get home safely before enjoying an alcoholic beverage.”

 

Boaters are reminded to continue to follow safe and legal boating practices and ensure they have an appropriate sized and approved life jacket or PFD for everyone on board. While it is a good practice for everyone to wear their PFD or life jacket while on the water, boaters are reminded that if any of the required PFD’s are the inflatable type, they must be worn in order to qualify as a legally approved PFD.

 

Ontario is fortunate to have unlimited boating opportunities – Operation Dry Water hopes to raise public awareness and increase public safety by reducing drinking and boating. Please enjoy your summer on the water responsibly.

 

For more information regarding boating safety visit the CSBC website at www.csbc.ca, the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.

 

For more information contact:

Joe McCambridge

Ontario Conservation Officers Association 

(613) 732-2242

jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

 

 

 

Susanne Simic

President Simic Public Relations for the Canadian Safe Boating Council

(416) 622-3358

Susanne.simic@sympatico.ca

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2014 Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure

Posted on July 6, 2014.

 

July 6, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCOA PROVIDES TORONTO KIDS WITH TRIP OF A LIFETIME

On the morning of July 9, twenty youth from the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club (http://believeinkids.ca) will be climbing onto a Greyhound bus for 4 days of fishing, canoeing, campfires, and more – and it’s all being provided to them free of charge!

For the 8th consecutive year, the OCOA – with the support of numerous partners – is organizing the Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure, which this year sees the kids being hosted by our members at Waterfalls Lodge near Spanish, ON (www.waterfallslodge.com).

“This event is often the highlight of the summer for these kids”, say OCOA President Joe McCambridge. “It’s also a lot of fun for our members, who are thrilled to be able to introduce kids from an urban environment to the wonders of the great outdoors.”

While at the camp, the children will be guided by OCOA members as they fish for walleye, pike, and panfish. In between fishing trips, they will experience demonstrations by a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) forest fire fighting crew (guaranteed to result in an epic water fight!), the MNR canine unit, instruction in canoeing by certified instructors, and much more.

Thanks to the amazing support of our sponsors, each child will receive all the equipment needed to fully enjoy the trip: rain suit, fishing rod and reel, a fully stocked tackle box – all of which goes home with them at the end of the trip! We can’t thank our supporters enough, without their generous support this event would not be possible.

The OCOA is a non-profit Association of active and retired Ontario Conservation Officers and other natural resources law enforcement officers who are dedicated tosupporting and promoting children’s education with regard to Ontario’s natural resources.

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube

 

Joe McCambridge

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association

27 Walters Rd

Pembroke, Ontario

K8A 6W5

(613) 732-2242

jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

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OCOA Promotes Safe Hunting Practices

Posted on December 1, 2013.

Monday December 2nd will be opening day for some controlled deer hunts and muzzleloader deer seasons across much of Southern and Central Ontario. The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to take this opportunity to remind hunters to always practice safe and responsible hunting. 

All hunters are responsible to ensure they are always handling firearms in a safe manner at all times. “Safe use of firearms can’t be stressed enough” says OCOA President Joe McCambridge. “All hunters heading out need to remember to practice safe firearm handling at all times”. 

The OCOA would like remind all hunters to remember ACTS and PROVE: 

  • Assume every firearm is loaded

  • Control the muzzle direction at all times

  • Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard

  • See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe

  • Point the firearm in the safest available direction

  • Remove all ammunition

  • Observe the chamber

  • Verify the feeding path

  • Examine the bore 

“We want everyone to have an enjoyable hunt and by remembering these safety rules we can ensure that the sport of hunting will continue to be enjoyed by all outdoors people in Ontario” concludes McCambridge. 

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources violation reporting line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667), contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information contact:

Joe McCambridge

President

Ontario Conservation Officers Association

(613) 732-2242

jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

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OFAH and OCOA encourage a safe and responsible hunting season

Posted on September 23, 2013.

It’s an exciting time of year for big game hunters and waterfowlers alike. Tens of thousands of hunters will be hitting the bush, field or water this fall to take advantage of the many great wild game and migratory bird opportunities in the province, and to enjoy their hunting heritage. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to wish all outdoor enthusiasts a great season and remind them to ensure they have the latest information on regulations in their wildlife management unit, to obtain and carry all necessary permits and licenses, to obey the law, but most of all remember safety first.

“Hunting in Ontario offers many rewards, including healthy recreation in the outdoors and a lifelong connection with wildlife,” said OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo. “It’s also an opportunity to spend time with family and friends and take part in a true Canadian tradition. However, responsible hunters know that a license to hunt is not a license to trespass. The vast majority of hunters in Ontario ask permission to hunt on privately-owned land, build good relationships with landowners, and show their respect and appreciation for having the privilege to hunt on private property.”

“As a hunter myself, I understand the need to show the utmost respect to both landowners and other hunters,” said OCOA President Joe McCambridge. “I encourage all hunters to put consideration for others before the need to bag a trophy deer or get a limit of geese – this will ensure a safe and enjoyable hunt for all.”

Anyone who observes illegal or unsafe hunting activity is asked to help Conservation Officers protect our natural resources and ensure public safety by calling the MNR’s violation reporting line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7677), or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.

With over 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers, and 710 member clubs, the OFAH is the largest non-profit conservation-based organization in Ontario. For more information, visit www.ofah.org and stay connected with Facebook and Twitter.

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Contacts:

Shannon Gutoskie
OFAH Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext 270
Joe McCambridge
President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
613-732-2242

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