Four environmental awards dished out to local residents

April 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Town of Orangeville dished out four Environmental Sustainability Awards to members of the public Monday, with Councillor Sylvia Bradley commending the recipients for their hard work and dedication over the past 12 months.

Every year, the Orangeville Sustainability Action Team (OSAT) recognizes community members for their contributions to environmental issues and initiatives locally. Now into its ninth year, the Environmental Sustainability Awards ceremony is an important night for many in the community.

“This is my favourite night of the year. To be able to recognize people who do good deeds in the community, not only for the environment, but for anything that makes us better,” Coun. Bradley said.

Conservation of the environment depends on the contribution and support and many partners, a notice on the Town of Orangeville website states. “The Town would not be able to improve the environmental health and quality of life of our community without the help of community groups, businesses, landowners and individuals. The Environmental Sustainability Awards are handed out in recognition of those who have made a positive contribution to the health of our community,” the notice continues.

The first award of the evening was presented to Soulyve Restaurant, with Coun. Bradley commending owner Philip DeWar and his staff for their efforts in minimizing waste at the local eatery in recent months.

“They are a leader in our community,” Coun. Bradley said. “Their effort to minimize waste demonstrated leadership among the restaurant community. They use Dufferin County’s green bin program for composting, they have a ‘No Straw’ default policy when serving drinks and they serve condiments in ceramic dishes as opposed to plastic packages. They promote healthy meals and use pure ingredients.”

Mr. DeWar said he was honoured to even be considered for the award, noting he wasn’t even aware of its existence prior to being contacted by OSAT.

“It’s nice to be honoured for something we feel is us simply doing our due diligence as responsible members of the community,” Mr. DeWar said.

Up next was the Grade 7/8 class at Spencer Avenue Elementary School. Inspired by teacher Tracy Gray, the students have spent a large part of the past year bringing the ‘Litterati’ program to Orangeville. An online application, Litterati is something of a global library for litter. In its mission statement, Litterati claims to be tackling what has become a worldwide problem one piece of litter at a time. The site tracks and stores data uploaded by individuals who have gone out and collected litter in their community.

Back in September, the students from Spencer Avenue Elementary School went out into the community and collected more than 3,000 pieces of litter, before uploading them to the Litterati system.

“These students are an inspiration to others and are leaders in this community. I’m so happy to be able to present this award to the fine students from Spencer Avenue Elementary,” Coun. Bradley said.

The group award was presented to Climate change Action Dufferin-Caledon for their involvement in promoting the Blue Dot movement in Orangeville. The initiative, founded by the David Suzuki Foundation, recognizes every Canadian’s right to live in a healthy environment. Member Nancy Urekar spoke about the regular environmental movie nights the group has held at Orangeville District Secondary School over the past few months, with one final screening pencilled in for May 1, while imploring the community to help the group “make a difference”.

“We really care about what happens to this earth, for our children, our grandchildren and for future generations,” Ms. Urekar said. “We felt quite helpless, so decided to do something. Our movie nights have been raising awareness in the community, but have also served to gather people interested in doing similar things. Join us in trying to make a difference.”

One final award was handed out to Kimberley Ellis, a local Kindergarten teacher who has overseen the creation and nurturement of a community garden at Princess Margaret Public School. Although Ms. Ellis wasn’t in attendance to accept her award, Coun. Bradley commended her for her commitment to educating our youngest residents.

“Kimberley’s goal is to have her students build a connection and relationship with this garden and develop an understanding for how food is grown,” Coun. Bradley said. “This garden has been a true success story.”

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