Starting out as a high school student assisting the Naturalist 45 years ago to becoming an Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, and now Manager of Conservation Area Services, Bruce Harschnitz lives what he has learned as a staff member at the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA). He and his wife Marian choose to give back to an organization that gives them hope for the future of nature.
One of the best things about Bruce’s job is that he recognizes the impact staff have, and the difference they make the minute they step into the job. The HCA holds a special place in his heart, and throughout the various roles in numerous conservation areas Bruce has worked in, he reflects on how amazing it’s been to see positive transformations in the environment over the years.
His passion, environmental commitment, and dedication to HCA strengthens as the trees grow taller, the major conservation projects he started come to fruition, and the beauty of naturalization flourishing in the conservation areas. These monuments continue to motivate him and his wife, Marian, to donate to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation. The first way Bruce gives back is through a regular payroll contribution. People often ask him why he feels the need to donate to where he works, and naturally, his response is, “I believe in the Conservation Authority. I am proud to work here, and I think it’s incredibly important to make an impact in any way you can.” His love for nature is close to home, and donating a small portion of his paycheque to the Foundation is not the only way he wishes to give back.
Marian and Bruce have been together for 32 glorious years. They love, live, and breathe the natural spaces surrounding them and value their connection with the outdoors by hiking, cycling, camping, and even volunteering for many HCA events. They share an equal passion for protecting, preserving, and providing for the environment. “Home for us is not only our home,” Marian gleams, “we are working to turn our property into a beautiful naturalized area and sanctuary for wildlife, where all creatures, including insects, birds, skunks, and raccoons can also call their home.”
They’re not shy about promoting the captivating HCA watershed and sharing their explorations with others close to them. “We bring everyone who visits us from Europe to many of the conservation areas and waterfalls. It’s become an international destination that they are astonished by.” Marian adds.
The couple has also updated their wills to include a bequest to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation and are honoured to have done so. “We will no longer need the money, and it will go a long way for the HCA and the conservation of nature, now and for the future. It is something that is sorely lacking, yet vitally important!” explains Marian. “It’s essential that their legacy gift goes to preserving and maintaining the outdoors and environment. Both state, “We are proud to have been able to be part of land acquisition, restoration, and the promotion of environmental education.”
HCA, its work, and staff members give couples like Marian and Bruce hope. Hope that creating a healthier world and building a better-looking future for generations becomes crucial to everyone. Bruce’s last statement is, “If you haven’t gone out to one of our conservation areas, you have to. Nature is impressive, and people don’t realize how close nature is to home.” They hope that after others have read their story, they will be inspired to continue contributing to conservation and also leave a charitable gift in their will.