The Alberta Emerald Foundation’s 25th annual Emerald Awards winners demonstrate environmental excellence that is a model for community groups, individuals, schools, government organizations, and large and small businesses.
Large business recipient ConocoPhillips Canada won for innovations in implementing and sharing energy efficiency, while small business honours went to Echo-Logic Land Corp. for Calgary’s green community of Echohaven.
Bojan Paduh and Calgary’s Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) won the Emerald Award for Grassroots community group/non-profit for the company’s focus on reuse, rather than recycling. ERA has provided refurbished technology hardware to schools, non-profit groups and care facilities totalling 1,050 refurbished computers worth more than $160,000 in 2015 alone.
“It’s our focus on reuse, donations, fundraising initiatives and community involvement that sets us apart,” says Paduh. “I’ve been working to grow ERA and increase our environmental and social impact since 2004…It’s a great honour to see our work hasn’t gone unnoticed.”
Green Calgary won the award for Community Group/non-profit: large organization. The group has helped conserve and redirect more than 20 million litres of water annually from storm water systems through its rain barrel and rainwater harvesting programs.
Green Calgary has also helped de-pave two community spaces to reduce storm water runoff, and educated thousands of people on the importance of direct citizen action regarding their own property and throughout the community.
“This work supports our city in adapting to extreme weather events (flood or drought) and can lessen some of the impact these occurrences can cause,” says Green Calgary executive director Areni Kelleppan.
Education and inspiring the next generation is a huge part of the work of the Alberta Emerald Foundation. University of Alberta (Augustana Campus) received the Education: Post Secondary category winner for its Learning for the Environment project. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society also won an award for Public Education & Outreach—the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge.
Clandonald School’s ‘Warriors of the Rainbow’ 29 Grade K-6 students have been recycling paper and beverage containers and aiding community clean-ups for the last 13 years. The School/Classroom Emerald Awards winner has also added to its efforts: composting, gardening, birdhouse and feeder creation, planting shrubs, apple trees and indoor plants, and making scrap-material crafts with the local senior’s club.
“To the students, winning an award is acknowledgement that they are indeed taking good care of the environment, and they are very proud of that. They hope other children (and adults) will be inspired to follow their example,” says Clandonald teacher Geralyn McCormack.
Other award winners were: the City of Edmonton Utility Services Branch as top Government Institution for its Reuse Centre, Shared Footprints winner ALUS in Alberta for installation of wildlife-friendly fencing on Alberta ranch land and Youth category winner Hayley Todesco, whose science fair-inspired work has drawn attention to environmental issues surrounding oil sands tailings ponds.
Jerry Brunen and The Western Sky Land Trust Society won the Individual Commitment Category for 35 years of environmental achievement, joining the Town of Banff, which earned Emerald Challenge: Innovation honours for its focus on solar energy consumption for business and residences.
The awards were presented on June 8 at Telus Spark in Calgary.
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