It's time for me to give you a huge "thank you"; a sincere, bottom of my heart, humble note of appreciation for letting me communicate with you on this forum and for the unbelievable feedback that you have given me in return, particularly in recent days.
When Dundas Valley Outdoors started in 2011, it was meant as a vehicle for me to share a few stories and some of my photos. I wanted to share my passion for the Dundas Valley with my friends as well as for people who may have been considering a visit to the area. Over the years it has grown and I have made many more friends and contacts as a result and have received tremendous feedback. The blog eventually led to a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, gaining more followers along the way. Eventually the writing and photos grew to the point where a book became a possibility and through the encouragement of many, my book Exploring The Dundas Valley was finished.
This past Wednesday night was the icing on the cake. When I found out that I had been nominated for a Hamilton Independent Media Award in the category of environmental journalism I was stunned, but to attend this event and actually win was another thing altogether. Totally unexpected, I was blown away and will never forget accepting my "Maggie" in front of a room filled with brilliant local media players. These are the writers, filmmakers and creative geniuses that share their stories and their passion, adding their contribution to the rich arts tapestry that makes Hamilton so special. I had a chance to meet some of the writers that I follow, the ones that I often draw inspiration from and it was great to make so many connections. I've lost track of the messages, texts and phone calls offering a message of congratulations since that evening. Again, just another reason to feel humbled and grateful.
The MC for the evening was Hamilton City Councilor Matthew Green. A rookie councilor, I have been impressed with the energy and level of commitment that he has brought to City Hall. It was great to have a chance to meet and to briefly discuss local issues with him. City leaders such as Matthew Green bring a fresh perspective to our community and to see him supporting this group of passionate advocates for the city and change makers is refreshing and encouraging. We can use more like him, and I feel confident that the positive momentum that we are seeing in many aspects of our community will continue.
This event and award just serve to inspire me further. I am working now to improve this blog and to create a better website to host it. My goal is to develop more content, and to showcase more stories and pictures of the areas that are so important to me and many others. There are conservation and environmental issues that negatively affect and threaten our forests and waterways and I will strive to uncover those and use this medium to help build awareness and drive change. I also have another book in the works, a project I am totally excited about. I look forward to sharing more details on this soon.
So with that, a hearty thank you. I sincerely thank you for your support and your feedback and for those who took the time to vote for me and ultimately allowed me to win the Hamilton Independent Media Award, I am deeply grateful and humbled by your support. I would be remiss if I didn't offer a thank you to the HIMA's team as well, a vibrant and dynamic group working hard to promote local journalism and talent. Their passion is infectious and it was a pleasure to meet Kevin, Sherri, Amanda and others and have the opportunity to learn more about Maggie Hughes as well as their organization.
Again, thank you for your support and loyalty. I promise to work hard and continue to bring you the latest stories and news from the Dundas Valley.