2005 EcoStar Award Winners
There are many shades of being green. Happily, we have an award category for every one. The 2005 EcoStar Award winners are listed below.
Mr. David Anderson, Liberal MP
Mr. Anderson has pursued environmental interests in his roles as a public servant, member of the BC legislature, and federal Member of Parliament. As Canada’s longest standing federal environment minister, Anderson has supported several Capital Region parkland acquisition initiatives. Along with significant funding from his department, he was personally involved and supportive of the acquisitions of Ayum Creek Regional Park and the Sea to Sea Regional Park Reserve.
Victoria High School Environment Club
Over the past year, the Victoria High School Environment Club has initiated four on-going Rock Bay Watershed projects. These initiatives include: a household batteries recycling program; educating their fellow students and teaching staff on the importance of the watershed through presentations; designing and painting a 32 square foot mural for the Rock Bay Restoration Project; and, stenciling fish around the storm drains in the Victoria High neighbourhood.
Ms. Chida Henry, Student, Victoria High School
An active member of the Environment Club, Chida Henry took on the leadership role for the design and painting of Victoria High’s mural for the Rock Bay Watershed Mural Project. She also took part in the fish stenciling project on storm drains. During the process, Chida educated many neighbours on why it is important to remember that what is on our lawns and streets affects marine life and habitat.
Mr. Bruce Torrie, Executive Director, Skies Above Foundation
Bruce Torrie is a lawyer and a health and environmental policy analyst who believes that communication and public awareness are essential to addressing the issues of climate change effects.
Above and beyond his role as the Executive Director of the Skies Above Foundation, Bruce is now educating high school students on climate change through speaking engagements sponsored by the Victoria Natural History Society, and working on pitching a television series to inform the public on individuals and businesses that are making a difference in terms of addressing climate change.
Conservation and Restoration
Merdyn Development Group
When Merdyn Development Group started planning the Peers Creek development in Saanich’s South Wilkinson Valley, storm water management and storm water quality were identified as being environmental concerns.
By addressing these concerns and turning the solutions into environmental goals, close to one-quarter of the property was set aside for extensive eco-system restoration. The resultant park area, storm water management system and restored habitat have not only set a high environmental standard, several new wildlife species have been observed.
Drinking Water Stewardship
University of Victoria
Completed in January, the Water Reuse Initiative treats wastewater from the University’s Outdoor Aquatic facility and recycles it into the waste water system in the Medical Sciences Building. Lowering the demand for potable water, this will conserve over 2 million litres of water a year.
The completion of the Engineering Computer Science Building in Spring 2006 will result in savings of another 2 million litres a year. Seven other buildings at the University will eventually be part of the Water Reuse Initiative program.
University of Victoria, Restoration of Natural Systems Program
The Restoration of Natural Systems Program is Canada’s leading centre for restoration education, and is designed for professionals and volunteers working in environmental conservation and resource industries.
Started in 1994, this accredited program has attracted hundreds of students, sponsored specialized student projects, and facilitated community-based works, such as the Gorge Waterway Restoration initiative and work with The Land Conservancy.
District of Saanich, Public Works Division
Under the leadership of Brian Campbell, the Public Works Division has gone beyond what was required under a waste discharge permit, and in meeting the goals of the Regional Source Control Program, protected a tributary of Swan Lake around the work yard.
Other activities like repaving the public works area has meant that runoff from trucks is captured and redirected for treatment.
Research and Technology
Dr. Raj Prasad
A research scientist at the Pacific Forestry Centre, Dr. Raj Prasad was nominated for his original approach in dealing with the ecological and biological impacts of exotic invasive plants that threaten our Garry Oak, forested and urban landscapes.
He holds a number of patents, including the co-discovery and patenting of a bioherbicide and invention of another bioagent which can retard the growth and proliferation of scotch broom and gorse, which threaten Garry Oak-Arbutus ecosystems.
Elite Earth-Friendly Dry Cleaners
In 2003, this small, family-run business converted to an ecologically sustainable system, and by using citrus/soy-based cleaning agents became the first drycleaner in British Columbia to stop using toxic solvents.
Water and hydro consumption have decreased. And, Elite’s wet-cleaning process has inspired the Holland America cruise line to convert dry cleaning plants on three ships, with more to follow. Elite is also the only drycleaner in Victoria exempt from environmental reporting regulations.
Urban Watershed Protection
Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT)
Under the “Good Neighbours” projects, the Trust approaches and works with residents and landowners in environmentally significant areas. Through the Colquitz River Habitat Enhancement Project, they have been working with residents to plant native shrubs to protect water quality and to provide practical information to the community on how to enhance the river and its salmon habitat.
The Trust has signed over 140 Voluntary Stewardship Agreements, which acknowledge the positive difference residents can make to improve habitats in their communities.
Level Ground Trading Ltd.
Level Ground participated in a typical recycling program until it called upon staff to go “beyond the blue box”. Staff awareness and participation has led to an organic composting program, which with recycling has resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in landfill waste.
Canceling the dumpster that was emptied weekly, they have replaced it with a mini-tote, emptied twice a month.
© Image courtesy of Evan Leeson