2009 Ecostar Award Winners
There are many shades of being green. Happily, we have an award category for every one. The 2009 EcoStar Award winners are listed below. You can also learn more about each Ecostar by watching the videos.
Garry Fletcher, this year’s winner has parted the sea, so to speak, to lobby for protection of and education on Race Rocks, a small island off the coast of Metchosin that supports an exceptional diversity of marine life, including fish, invertebrates, seabirds and marine mammals. It is his perseverance and foresight that has designated Rack Rocks as a Marine Protected Area Designate and has fostered state of the art educational opportunities at Race Rocks, including partnerships with Pearson College and UVic’s institute for integrated energy systems, the creation of an interactive website that explores the history and unique features of Race Rocks and the facilitation of the site as an aquatic classroom.
Youth Achievement (Individual)
Youth Individual EcoStar Award winner Maia Carolsfeld attends Belmont Secondary School and began her school’s environmental club single handedly, creating a website and advocating for increased recycling, bike racks for school buses and native plant restoration of areas. At a recent career/environment fair, Maia signed up dozens of local students to help with some of these ongoing projects, and has met with teachers, administrators and the school board regarding funding and procurement. Her hope is to begin work on the native plant restoration this spring.
Maia also volunteers with Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild Arc), where she works as an animal care volunteer, an outreach assistant and recently, as part of the educational committee, helping to spread awareness of Wild ARC’s programs throughout the region.
Youth Achievement (Group)
Since 1998, the Power to Be Adventure Therapy Society has helped more than 3000 participants learn and grow in nature. Their program includes a wilderness school, and an adaptive recreation program, and oncology expedition in partnership with the BC Children’s Hospital.
“Power to Be’s mission is to provide adventure-based outdoor programs that enrich the health and quality of life for vulnerable youth, their families and the communities in which they belong,” said Carinna Kenigsberg, Development Coordinator. “Since 1998, we have helped more than 3000 participants learn and grow in nature.”
Climate Action & Energy Conservation
The T’Sou-ke First Nation had a desire to reduce their greenhouse gases and free themselves from reliance on fossil fuels. They set up the sum-SHA-Thut (sunshine) project to harness the power of the sun. At the T’Sou-ke Nation, the hydro metre runs backward, and the potential exists for the Nation to sell electricity back to BC hydro using solar energy. By the end of this summer, the T’Sou-ke Nation will be the most solar intensive Nation per capita on the planet.
“Over fifty percent of children are participating in education programs related to this project,” said Andrew Moore, Project Director. “The T’Sou-ke Nation solar projects are expecting to produce greenhouse gas offsets in the region of 5,750 tons over the project’s life cycle.”
This year’s Environmental Education EcoStar is Glenlyon Norfolk School, who hosted an international forum on sustainability for three hundred youth and educators from over 15 countries. Preparing for this conference served as a catalyst for the school community to mobilize and host a series of meetings on sustainability, and create green objectives for students and staff to meet before the conference.
“The conference was a tremendous success,” said Sarah McKerlich, conference organizer. “It created a ripple effect in the community and around the world.” Hosting the conference also taught the school a great deal about sustainable practices when planning for large group events. By using renewable resources and green products where ever possible, the school’s impact on the planet was reduced and opportunities were created for education and behaviour change.
True innovation is so sensible that it seems to have always been there, once in place. By solving a simple waste problem through making it into a resource, SPOKES has saved bicycles from entering Hartland Landfill and provided those in need of green transportation with a viable option.
“Each bursary includes a refurbished bike, bike lock and opportunity to purchase safety gear such as helmets, lights, and reflectors at a subsidized cost,” said Sarah Webb, Sustainability Coordinator at UVic. “Right now, we’re distributing about 40 bicycles a month, serviced by over 65 regular volunteers.” SPOKES helps to complete the waste recovery loop by reducing, reusing and finally recycling, thus adding strength to the sustainable culture at UVic and helping to build community.
This year’s winner of the Water Stewardship EcoStar Award was Pearson College, for their water conservation practices. Pearson College installed low flush toilets, collects rain water to use in the floating building and planted native species to reduce water consumption.
Through outreach, events, stewardship agreements and continued education, HAT has been able to secure the fragile ecosystems of Knockan Hill and its rare diversity.
Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), a previous EcoStar Award winner, won this year’s Land Stewardship award for their part in the conservation and restoration of Knockan Hill Park. HAT partnered with local residents and a number of municipal groups to raise awareness about the park’s ecosystems and to teach residents how to be good stewards.
Residents in the area were shown the benefits of growing native plants in properties adjacent to the park—to prevent spread of invasive species and support the park’s ecological integrity.
Royal Oak Middle School received this year’s Waste Reduction EcoStar Award. The school is located in the district of Saanich and with help from Pacific Mobile Depot and reFUSE, has reduced their waste through intensive recycling and composting programs, limiting their garbage pickup to one collection every three weeks. “The 2005 EcoStar award winner Level Ground Trading inspired me to look at our school waste,” said Angus Stewart, “If a business could reduce their waste to a single shopping bag per week, why couldn’t a middle school of 600 students and 60 staff do the same?”