Our community is home to many exciting tourism attractions, and our tourism operators are dedicated to protecting the natural landscape that makes living and visiting the Long Point Biosphere Reserve and surrounding communities so unique.

The Sustainable Tourism Ambassador Award is presented to honour leaders in sustainability whose businesses have made significant differences in the social, economic, natural and cultural environments of Norfolk County. The award is a symbol of achievement and celebrates the accomplishments of community and business leaders who have actively engaged the tourism community to promote and encourage best practices.

Award Criteria and Nomination Process



Charlotteville Brewing Company

The Charlotteville Brewing Company has won the Long Point Biosphere Reserve 2019 Sustainable Tourism Ambassador Award. Biosphere President Rick Levick (left) presented the award to brewery owner Melanie Doerksen. staffers Emily Hoey and Mary Benedict and Melanie’s husband, Tim Wilson at the Norfolk County Economic and Development Symposium. (photo courtesy of Norfolk County)

“Melanie, Tim and their staff certainly ‘walk the talk” of sustainable tourism through their company’s core values and actions,” Levick told the symposium audience. He said those values include:

  • Utilizing as much repurposed material as possible
  • Growing raw ingredients organically and/or purchase organic
  • Paying personnel a living wage so they can prosper
  • Striving to be as close to zero waste as possible
  • Serving artisanal beer and food that is as sustainable as it is delicious

Levick also cited how the company puts its values into practice.

  • 60 per cent of ingredients are grown on premises
  • 30 per cent of spent grains are used in food products
  • 70 per cent of the water used is recycled


Long Point Island Hugger Tours

Long Point Island Hugger Tours (LPIHT) is an on-water boating tour business operating in Southern Ontario on Lake Erie. LPIHT operates in a sustainable manner towards the waterways and ecosystems we traverse, evident in our water routes, the low environmental impact vessel we use, (25-foot pontoon boat) or even the engine which powers us (4stroke) and our new electric motor to really experience the Long Point marsh with less noise. LPIHT additionally keeps to a maximum of 8-10 guests per tour, keeping our footprint on this beautiful area to a minimum while at the same time providing our guests a more personable experience.

LPIHT is proud to offer natural history tours of the inner bay and lake marsh systems. Through a combination of beautiful locations, conversations on flora and fauna, geology, glaciations, invasive species and other key notes they show you the complex systems in play, within the marsh, all working together to provide the many roles it serves to both wildlife and humans. The staff and special guests have interesting stories of the past, further immersing you in your Long Point Experience. They offer tours weekly, at multiple times and locations, meeting on the commercial dock at Port Rowan.



Long Point Eco-Adventures

Staff of Long Point Eco-Adventures accepting the award flanked by project coordinator Patti O’Reilly (left) and LPWBRF Board member Paul Givens (right).

Long Point Eco-Adventures took home the 2017 Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award presented by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

A visit to Long Point Eco-Adventures provides guests with a unique experience. They are a fun-loving, outdoor adventure company providing amazing experiences with world-class guides. They encourages both staff and guests to be outside often, be physically active and develop a deeper sense of understanding and respect for nature. Through school-based programs such as nature hikes, guides and students gain a greater appreciation for our own backyards, and how we fit into these ecosystems.

“We are proud to be recognized with this award which is a reflection of the commitment, caring and follow-through of each and every one of our staff. We are proud of and committed to our natural environment and sharing the many experiences of Norfolk County in a responsible way. We also look forward and encourage future sustainable tourism efforts that benefit Norfolk County and bring attention and appreciation to the ecological abundance of our area ”stated Mike McArthur and Dave Pond, owners of Long Point Eco- Adventures.


The 2017 Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award was crafted by local artist, Jack Worton, from Long Point. The sculpture is of a Bald Eagle carved from local black walnut on a peach alabaster and black walnut base. Long Point Eco- Adventures receives a year-long membership from the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation and a decorative plaque to display at their property.



Blueberry Hill Estates

Blueberry Hill Estates took home the 2016 Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award presented by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation at the Economic Development Symposium on January 18th in Port Dover.

The Vranckx family has taken a traditional tobacco farming background and turned it into a blueberry farm and winery known for their distinct cultural and natural assets.

Their focus is to preserve the unique environmental character of Norfolk County and are committed stewards of the land demonstrated through their many environmental projects, said Paul Givens, Director of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

“We are so honoured to receive this award from such an important organization in our community. At Blueberry Hill, we strive towards creating as sustainable an environment and business as possible. This is just the beginning for us, as our family is continually investigating new ventures to add to our sustainable tourism initiatives” stated Nick Vranckx, Winemaker at Blueberry Hill Estates.



Bonnieheath Estate Lavender

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery took home the 2014 Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award at the Economic Development Symposium on January 28th in Port Dover.

“Bonnieheath creates a sense of place by providing guests with visual and educational experiences that focus on the preservation of Norfolk’s natural assets including local agricultural history and quality farm-produced products,” said Paul Givens, Director of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

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Whistling Gardens

Whistling Gardens took home the first annual Sustainable Tourism Ambassador of the Year award at the Economic Develo

pment Symposium held on January 29th in Port Rowan. It is the first of an anticipated annual award that will be presented by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

Sustainable Tourism Ambassadors of the Year, Wanda and Darren Heimbecker of Whistling Gardens in Wilsonville, pose with Biosphere Charter plaque and award sculpted by local artist John Worton.

“Whistling Gardens actively cultivates an appreciation for our natural environment, through education, workshops, seminars, and guided tours offered at their property,” said Brian Craig, President of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

Learn More.

Award Criteria and Nomination Process

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