On June 20, 2011 Niagara residents, community groups and school programs were awarded for their contributions to the environment.
The Niagara Region Environmental Awards are one of the longest-running Environmental Awards programs hosted by any municipal government in Ontario.
Lifetime Achievement Award - Andrew Fevez, Binbrook
Andrew Fevez's efforts in environmental restoration and stewardship have had a long-term positive impact on the Niagara's natural environment.
In the late 1980's the Binbrook Resevoir was closed due to faecal contamination. Mr. Fevez advocated for testing to determine if faulty septic systems and farm wastes were the cause of the closure. He was successful in this endeavour. As a result 750 homes were tested, which showed that over 500 homes had faulty septic systems. He also convinced the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to visit farms in the Binbrook catchment and Chippewa Creek area in order to offer grants to properly store manure. This would prevent manure from entering the reservoir. Fevez sat on the board that reviewed the grant applications and helped to implement them. Eventually, the reservoir was opened for again.
Andrew moved on to become a founding member of the Glanbrook Conservation Committee in 1991. The Glanbrook Conservation Committee works to improve wildlife habitat in and around Glanbrook. His efforts contributed to the reintroduction of indigenous species, shoreline erosion mitigation projects, bird nesting site construction projects, a fishing derby and construction of walking trails.
Andrew is currently working with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to determine a way to remediate the effects of some water quality contaminants in the Binbrook Reservoir in order to ensure that fish and wildlife are able to survive and reproduce in that area.
Andrew has spent years of his life contributing to environmental stewardship and tirelessly encourages others to join him in his efforts.
Volunteer Category Award - Barbara Marr-Anguish, Fort Erie
Barbara Marr-Anguish is a Registered Dietician and provides clinical assessments, recommendations and follow-up for residents at nutritional risk at several Regional long-term care homes. In addition to her work responsibilities, Barbara also picks up garbage and recycling items around Fort Erie almost every weekday. Barbara has been doing this since 2006. While walking her dog she was dismayed by the large amount of garbage and recyclables lining the roadside of her community. Thus, she began to carry two extra bags, one for trash and one for recyclables. She started her task in her own neighbourhood, and each year has branched out to cover more streets. Generally, she gathers one grocery bag of trash each day. She includes this with her household trash, which is limited to only one bag per week. She also fills two full green bins and two or more blue boxes, which include the items collected from her morning walks. All aluminium, beer and liquor bottles she collects are cashed in and the money is given to the Lake Erie Shore Branch, Port Colborne for the Navy League and Sea Cadets programs.
She and her dog have been mentioned in the Bouquets section of the Fort Erie Times-Review twice and Councillor Rick Shular stopped one day to present her with a Town of Fort Erie water bottle for her service to the Town of Fort Erie.
Barbara is being recognized for her inspiring effort to clean-up her community.Award for Young People, Elementary Age Category - Earth Savers, Wainfleet
The Earth Savers are led by Zivi Schaffer, Carlee Thornton and Mikyla Balicki, three young citizens from William E. Brown Public School in Wainfleet. The three were playing near a feeder canal and noticed garbage lining its banks. They all wondered why anyone would throw garbage anywhere other than garbage cans and decided to clean up the feeder canal. They called themselves The Earth Savers. Their motto is "every piece of garbage counts", which is what motivated them to clean the long length of the feeder canal. Once these three leaders started cleaning, word spread and other kids wanted to help out. An Earth Savers Facebook group was created on the Township of Wainfleet Facebook page. On Friday April 15, 2011 Carlee, Zivi, and Mikyla met after school with drinks, gloves, nets, and garbage bags. They had 29 people show up to help, including Wainfleet Mayor, April Jeffs. Over 20 garbage bags were filled by students, parents, and residents who were all passionate about the environment and their beloved town.
The Earth Savers also garnered the attention of Climate Action Niagara (CAN). CAN met the girls and invited them to display a poster at their booth during EcoFest Niagara. On Saturday, April 16, the girls attended EcoFest to promote their cause. CAN asked them to speak at upcoming events, which they have agreed to do. The Earth Savers are planning another cleanup and a visit to Regional Council soon. They plan to keep up their work and promotion of their message.
Award for Young People, Secondary Age Category - Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee, Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee is composed of between 18 - 25 youth from five local high schools. Their purpose is to provide a link between the youth of Niagara Falls and City Council. Each year they create a plan that outlines what they hope to achieve that year, including a focus on the environment.
In the past the committee has focused their environmental efforts on promoting Green Week activities at local schools. This year they decided to tackle a larger advocacy issue. The committee made a presentation to City Council that focused on the need to replace all garbage cans on city streets with multi-use recycling/garbage receptacles. They aim to see this goal accomplished within the next five years and are confident they will achieve this goal.
They have also had many other accomplishments related to the environment. These include a Community Clean Sweep, Adopt-a-Street (a section of Morrison Street), Arbour Day and they put on a "green" art show. Additionally, they were successful in getting City Council to eliminate the sale of all beverages in plastic bottles in City facilities.
Greenest Business - General Motors of Canada Ltd., St. Catharines
General Motors of Canada Ltd. closed its St. Catharines foundry in 1995 as part of a plan to allow for the expansion of their engine manufacturing operations. As a part of this project, yard areas were cleared and the property was remediated. Approximately 8,500 were planted in the summer of 1999 in the cleared area. Today, the trees provide cover for undergrowth and wildlife to flourish.
General Motors has also been active in creating a park-like landscape at the north end of the Glendale Avenue facility. They have turned a former set of offices into McKinnon Park. Here they have made efforts to plant trees, keep the park clean and strive to continue with their efforts towards a sustainable environment.
Greenest Non-Profit - Grimsby Benevolent Fund, Grimsby
The Grimsby Benevolent Fund is a non-profit organization that cares for the less fortunate in their community. It is their mission to provide the necessities of life to those in need in accordance with good environmental practices in Grimsby. The organization focuses on discarded usable items. It has a retail program that consists of selling gently-used clothing, household items, furniture, electronics, books and children's toys. Through its practices, the Grimsby Benevolent Fund seeks to reduce the toll on the environment caused by production of new items.
The Grimsby Benevolent Fund has over 200 volunteers that ensure the organization remains environmentally-conscious. All garbage and recycling from their operations are sorted accordingly. In its Food Bank, the organization has partnered with local grocery stores to redistribute food product to the families and individuals who require assistance.
The Grimsby Benevolent Fund is being recognized for its environmentally-conscious service to its community.