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This Week's Highlights

Congratulations to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Environmental Award Winners!

The recipients of the 24th annual Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Awards were announced last week. Winners included: Justin Dearing (Individual); ACAP Humber Arm (Organization); Averee’s Garden Group (Youth Group); Town of Cape St. George (Municipality); Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador (Industry Leader); and Robert Piercey (Lifetime Achievement).

The event is held during Environment Week each year to showcase the accomplishments of environmental leaders and raise awareness of the individuals, groups and businesses taking action to protect and sustain the environment.

Each recipient receives a plaque and $1,000 honorarium from the MMSB to further their own environmental projects or to donate to an environmental cause of their choice.

Courtesy of the Department of Environment and Conservation, learn about the award winners below:

Justin Dearing- Individual

Justin Dearing, Vice-Chair of the Marine Institute Sustainability Committee has inspired youth in Newfoundland and Labrador to take a leadership role in changing the world. He is a leader in advocating for environmental awareness and action, educating youth about climate change; and organizing and leading several beach cleanups. Justin was recently chosen to be one of 50 leaders from Atlantic Canada to participate in the Emerging Leaders Summit in New Brunswick. He has also been chosen to be one of a team of educators and experts from around the world on the upcoming Students on Ice Arctic Expedition in July. Justin delivers an annual province-wide Youth and the Oceans Conference Series which has engaged thousands of students in ocean sustainability. In the past three years, 3,000 Marine Institute Ocean Net volunteers cleaned up over 300 beaches and removed 60,000 lbs of debris from beaches and shorelines. Justin currently sits on the Board of Directors for the St. John’s Aquarium and the Friends of Topsail Beach. Past boards and committees have included the NL Environmental Educators, the NL Environment Network, and a steering committee member of the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Network. His long list of achievements and on-the-ground action makes Justin an environmental leader.

ACAP Humber Arm – Organization

ACAP Humber Arm is a non-profit organization that began in 1991, serving the Bay of Islands and Humber Valley regions of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The organization established itself as regional leader in water stewardship, focusing its efforts in areas of marine water quality, water conservation, environmental education, knowledge sharing, and partnership development. To promote water stewardship, the organization developed and implemented several innovative hands-on education programs for youth, including the Trading Books for Boats program, Marine Debris program, Coastal Matter Speaker Series and Environmental Explorer Camps. It also promotes water stewardship among stakeholders through a Smart Basin initiative, which facilitates partnership development and information sharing between municipalities, government, academic institutions, industry, and First Nation groups. Whether it is through advancing current environmental education programs, research and collaboration or actively engaging the community through environmental events, ACAP Humber Arm is known to the community as a true environmental leader.

Landscape Newfoundland & Labrador – Industry Leader

Landscape NL is a non-profit, professional association for landscape designers, landscape contractors, nurseries, growers and garden centre operators. Landscape NL have proven their environmental presence through leading the industry by planning and implementation of the annual Atlantic Green Forum and the annual Landscape and Garden Show; promoting and participating in Annual Arbor Day activities; and educating industry and the public about the importance of sustainable urban landscapes. Landscape NL host many public forums throughout the year to discuss topics such as green roofs, sustainable sites, green buildings, open spaces, and invasive plants. Landscape NL encourages members to optimize the input from renewable and non-renewable natural resources, prevent pollution, minimize waste while incorporating wildlife habitat, flood management techniques and erosion control. Landscape NL is well known for preserving and enhancing natural and built landscapes.

Averee’s Garden Group – Youth Group

With the loss of Grade two student Averee Pierce this past March, Averee’s classmates at St. Joseph’s school, Harbour Breton, began an organic garden as a way to honour and remember her. With the support of Averee’s Purpose, a foundation started by her family, St. Joseph’s school, the Harbour Breton CYN, the Central Regional Wellness Coalition, Central Health, Town of Harbour Breton and community volunteers, the Grade 2 students planted vegetable, flower and herb seedlings. These seedlings were planted and housed in classrooms at the school until they were transplanted at the CYN into six raised beds. The children used recycled tires as planters for potatoes and the grown vegetables were harvested in the fall and used at a turkey supper event to celebrate World Food Day. Some of the local herbs grown were sold at the local grocery store by students and all monies raised were donated to Averee’s Purpose. The group also partnered with the long term care program at the Connaigre Peninsula Hospital and planted various flowers which they grew, into several onsite planters. The long term care residents then maintained the flower beds throughout the summer and used the project as part of their recreation program. This season, Averee’s Garden group is developing educational components related to composting, organic growing and recycling. A fundraiser is on-going to purchase a greenhouse and a spring cleanup has been organized in partnership with the Town of Harbour Breton. Averee’s Garden Group is well known for transforming empty classrooms and community spaces into green luscious learning environments.

The Town of Cape St. George – Municipality

The Town of Cape St. George is a rural community of 950 residents working towards reducing its waste by 50 per cent. A leader in environmental initiatives, the town provides curbside collection of compost, paper, cardboard, soup cans and beverage containers. The town also accepts steel, batteries, unused paint, tires and wrecked cars from residents and transports the material to a recycling centre. It is also working on expanding the recycling program to include the collection of electronics and building materials.

The Town of Cape St. George demonstrates its commitment to protecting dozens of rare plants growing on the limestone barrens of Cape St. George and has created a diversion road with a plan to erect signage in the area. Currently, a public education campaign is being developed and there are plans to open an interpretation centre in the area. The Town of Cape St. George continues to demonstrate outstanding leadership in the improvement and conservation of the community and its environment.

Robert Piercey – Lifetime Achievement

Robert, affectionately known as Bob at Suncor Energy Fluvarium, has spent 22 years dedicated to environmental and science education. Bob has made the Fluvarium’s program come to life for over half a million visitors with his unique way of discussing the importance of our local freshwater ecosystems. His impassioned speeches on frogs, tadpoles and other animals awakens your inner scientist. Bob was instrumental in developing exhibits such as the Riparian Walk-an outdoor look at the importance of the Riparian zone to freshwater ecosystems. Working with the Atlantic Salmon Federation Bob was able to revive the Freshwater Friends program, bringing 2000 Atlantic salmon eggs to classrooms. This allowed students to participate hands-on and witness the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, culminating in the release of the fry back into the river in June. He is always looking for new and exciting ways to engage students and encourage an appreciation for our freshwater habitats. Bob views his work as a wonderful experience, interacting with students and the environment on a daily basis. His lifetime contribution to environmental stewardship and sustainability has inspired so many over the last 20 years.


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