Langley Environmental Hero Awards

February 21, 2017

As citizens of our great country, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land that we are so fortunate to live in. These awards were created to celebrate the difference that environmental heroes make and to remind us all of the need to work together to protect a beautiful, abundant environment. Thank you to all Langley residents who take pride in our community by working to protect the environment.

If you know someone who has done something positive for the environment, we’d like to hear about it. If you are a Langley residents, please download the form and nominate a Langley youth (18 and younger), individual or organization/business (non-profit) for the 2017 Environmental Hero Awards. The deadline for nominations is April 21, 2017. 

Mark Warawa Congratulates Langley’s 2016 Environmental Heroes

June 16, 2016

Langley Environmental Heroes Recognized at Tenth Annual Awards Ceremony

Langley, BC - On Saturday June 11, 2016, Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa joined members of the 2016 Langley Environmental Hero Nominations Committee to recognize this year’s Environmental Heroes at the tenth annual awards ceremony. The winners of the awards were be commemorated with the planting of a heritage apple tree at Fort Langley National Historic Site. A bronze plaque will be cemented this summer near the newly planted tree to mark their outstanding contributions.

“Thank you to all Langley residents who take pride in our community by working to protect the environment,” said Warawa. “I’d like to specifically thank the winners of this year’s awards for demonstrating exemplary service to the community and to the environment.”

“This year is a milestone for the Langley Environmental Hero Awards,” continued Warawa. “For ten years we have highlighted the important work of those who give their time and energy to promote environmental stewardship in Langley. Since its inception, well over a hundred Langley residents or organizations have been nominated and recognized for their contributions to our community.”

The Environmental Hero Nominations Committee will be accepting nominations year round. If you know someone who has done something positive for the environment, we’d like to hear about it,” said Warawa. Langley residents are invited to go online, download the form, and nominate a Langley youth, adult, business or organization. Nomination forms will be available online at markwarawa.com and will be accepted until May 6, 2017.

Ann Blaauw won in the individual category for establishing the Blaauw Eco Forest in Langley. The family donated millions of dollars for the project in memory of Ann’s late husband, Thomas Blaaw. This generous donation was part of a covenant agreement with Trinity Western University, whereby the University will preserve it for education, research and community engagement. Students at TWU have benefited greatly from the research opportunities that this site offers. By sacrificially protecting this land, Ann Blaauw has provided an exceptional legacy to be enjoyed by future generations of Langley citizens and all others who visit this very special place.

In the Business category, Coastal Painted Turtle Project won for their efforts to bring back sustainable populations of the Western Painted Turtles to our watersheds in Langley and the lower mainland. This organization works with the Greater Vancouver Zoo and Wildlife Preservation Canada, and educates homeowners and community groups on the presence of these native turtles and what they can do to preserve their habitat. The biologists, in particular Andrea Gielens, are passionate about sharing their knowledge. The organization goes above and beyond expectations and is committed to bringing these turtles back to our watershed.

Desiree Chek-Harder won in the Youth category for her work with the Green Team at Langley Fine Arts School. The garden is used to educate students on the importance of sustainable development, organic gardening and food security. During Desiree’s first year, she built the garden composter and helped with the garden maintenance. In grade 11, she took on a leadership role by helping to organize the school program, liaise with the township and build a greenhouse in the garden. In grade 12, she became chair of the Green Team at Langley Fine Arts. She is a role model to the younger students at our school, and a fine example of an environmental and community leader.

Each winner took the time to share their thoughts on the importance of preserving the environment. Desiree Chek-Harder spoke about the importance of volunteerism and education. Volunteering in the community garden has given me an amazing opportunity to be a part of the Fort Langley Community. I believe it's important for people to be educated about nature and sustainable development in an engaging way, and that is the type of education we strive to promote through the Fort Langley Community Garden."

Andrea Gielens, representing The Coastal Painted Turtle Project, said: “The Coastal Painted Turtle Project works to protect and restore Painted Turtle populations in communities along the south coast of BC. This award will help our program purchase additional incubators which will allow us to protect and rear more turtles for release into these precious habitats.”

Janet Wiens, daughter of Individual winner Ann Blaauw, spoke on behalf of her mother at the ceremony. What simply started out as a way for our family to remember and honour our late father, Thomas Blaauw, with a donation, has allowed us to partner with Trinity Western University and saw the preservation of McLellan Forest. With this donation, not only do we have a beautiful memorial for our father, but we were able to give Trinity Western a place to continue their environmental studies, which in return will help to grow, protect and educate future generations, as well as provide a park and green space for the Langley Communities to enjoy.

Following a nomination process, the Environmental Heroes were chosen by a nominations committee, made of representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations: Sarah Atherton, Education Program Coordinator of Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS); Mike Starr, Manager of Visitor Services at Ft. Langley National Historic Site of Canada; Brenda Anderson, Editor of The Langley Times; Gary Aulakh, TD Canada Trust Branch Manager (Willowbrook branch); Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese; City of Langley Councillor Rude Storteboom, Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag, and Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa.

At the ceremony, Financial Advisor Chelsea Peacock represented TD Bank, Executive Director Nichole Marples represented the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS), and Councillor Charlie Fox represented the Township of Langley as Deputy Mayor.

Please find a backgrounder enclosed for further information about the 2016 Langley
Environmental Hero nominees.

Backgrounder: Nominees for the 2016 Langley Environmental Hero Awards. June 11, 2016
INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY

Ann Blaauw - Winner

Ann Blaauw was nominated by Dr. David Clements for establishing the Blaauw Eco Forest in Langley. The family donated millions of dollars for the project in memory of Ann’s late husband, Thomas Blaaw. This generous donation was part of a covenant agreement with Trinity Western University, whereby the University will preserve it for education, research and community engagement. Students at TWU have benefited greatly from the research opportunities that this site offers. By sacrificially protecting this land, Ann Blaauw has provided an exceptional legacy to be enjoyed by future generations of Langley citizens and all others who visit this very special place.

Royane Jantzen

Royane Jantzen was nominated by Marilyn Sergi. Royane is a cheerful, ambitious and ardently ‘green’ 76 year old. She has gardened all her life, but moving into a mobile home park created a new challenge, which she successfully overcame. She re-purposed her 20’ x 20’ yard on her own and turned it into a very productive vegetable and fruit garden. She also uses natural fertilizer and has amazing flowers, which she shares with others. She is a real credit to the seniors community and offers instruction to anyone who wishes to ‘go green.’

Brenda Hobbs

Brenda Hobbs was nominated by Chris Weir, Leanne Heinrichs, Sherry Hall and Bev Bowler. Brenda has been a passionate advocate for environmental education in the Langley School District for 30 years. She is the district coordinator for the Salmonids in the Classroom Program, which is offered through Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As part of her role, she supports about 25 classroom teachers and their students, who are raise salmon in their classrooms. Her knowledge, expertise and passion have inspired both teachers and students to live in ways that positively impact the environment.

BUSINESS CATEGORY

Coastal Painted Turtle Project - Winner

Coastal Painted Turtle Project was nominated by the Little Campbell Watershed Society for their efforts to bring back sustainable populations of the Western Painted Turtles to our watersheds in Langley and the lower mainland. This organization works with the Greater Vancouver Zoo and Wildlife Preservation Canada, and educates homeowners and community groups on the presence of these native turtles and what they can do to preserve their habitat. The biologists, in particular Andrea Gielens, are passionate about sharing their knowledge. The organization goes above and beyond expectations and is committed to bringing these turtles back to our watershed.

New West Gypsum Recycling

New West Gypsum Recycling was nominated by Lynn Whitehouse on behalf of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. New West Gypsum Recycling has made a commitment to ensuring that no more gypsum will end up in landfills. They have developed a patented process to recycle the entire sheet of gypsum product. With plants around the world using this process, they are truly committed to ensuring our planet is healthy.

Phoenix Fire Prevention Inc.

Phoenix Fire Prevention Inc. was nominated by Erin Patrick to acknowledge the large steps they have taken to preserve the environment. The have gone from keeping all their forms, records, documents and correspondence on paper, to using iPads and creating a ‘print if only necessary’ culture within the company. Additionally, instead of throwing out end-of-life fire extinguishers, Phoenix Fire Prevention donates them to developing countries, as part of the Global Fire Initiative. This has resulted so far in over 900 extinguishers not ending up in landfills.

Langley School District

Langley School District was nominated by Kelsey Stewart. In November 2015, the Langley School District was recognized as one of BC Hydro’s Top 10 Power Smart customers in BC and the Top Power Smart customer in the Education Sector for its engagement in energy efficient projects, Power Smart program offerings and Energy Management participation. Lighting and fixtures in nearly all district buildings were changed to LEDs, occupancy sensors were installed and energy monitors put in place. Consumption was reduced by 582,000 kilowatt hours, resulting in a savings of about $50,000, which is the cost of running two entire school buildings.

Cloverdale Fuel Ltd.

Cloverdale Fuel Ltd. was nominated by Senthil Kumar. It has the largest permitted wood waste recycling site in BC, and has operated in the Township and City of Langley since 1945. They landfill in previous years. They were awarded the Medium-sized Business of the Year in 2015 by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

YOUTH CATEGORY

Desiree Chek-Harder -Winner

Desiree Chek-Harder was nominated by Penny Carnrite. In grade 10, Desiree joined the Green Team at Langley Fine Arts School, to volunteer in the Fort Langley Community Garden. The garden is used to educate students on the importance of sustainable development, organic gardening and food security. During Desiree’s first year, she built the garden composter and helped with the garden maintenance. In grade 11, she took on a leadership role by helping to organize the school program, liaise with the township and build a greenhouse in the garden. In grade 12, she became chair of the Green Team at Langley Fine Arts. She is a role model to the younger students at our school, and a fine example of an environmental and community leader.

Chloe Gillis

Chloe Gillis was nominated by Donna Watkins for her years of participating in the recycling program at Langley Meadows Community School. In her efforts, she has shown leadership and a high level of responsibility. Although diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, this has not stopped Cloe from joining in all the activities at school. For the past four years, Chloe has collected the recycling bottles from each classroom. Since she is attending middle school next year, Chloe has been eagerly training another student to take over her role.

Denver Haak

Denver Haak was nominated by Judi Vankevich for his gardening and community involvement. He does all his own composting, preparing, planting and weeding, and loves to share all his vegetables with the neighbors. He also enjoys educating them how they can plant gardens too. Denver was featured in the Langley Advance newspaper for his work, and continues to demonstrate environmental stewardship through his gardening.

Related links:

2015 Langley Environmental Hero Awards

June 08, 2015

On Saturday June 6, 2015 the 2015 Langley Environmental Hero Nominations Committee recognized this year’s Environmental Heroes with the planting of a heritage apple tree at Fort Langley National Historic Site. A bronze plaque will be cemented this summer near the newly planted tree to mark their outstanding contributions. 

Marlee St. Pierre won in the individual category. Through her work at the Yorkson Creek watershed and her efforts to educate children about nature, Marlee has demonstrated exemplary environmental stewardship and the desire to pass on her skills and knowledge to the next generation of Langley youth. For the past 10 years, Marlee has organized the Young Naturalists afterschool program at James Kennedy Elementary School, which teaches children about nature and the surrounding environment through hands-on learning and information sessions. Marlee has also organized many positive environmental activities at the school, including litterless lunches, Earth Day awareness, and the planting of native tree and shrub species on the school’s grounds.

In the Business/Organization category, Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group won for their commitment to environmental stewardship and for working to benefit local species and habitats. This organization has conducted studies and awareness campaigns to raise the profile of two at-risk species: the Salish Sucker and the Eulachon. Seyem’ Qwantlen also initiated a study on the Western Painted Turtles in the lower Stave region, and hosted Walking Tours last summer to educate local community members about the sensitive ecology of Fort Langley. Seyem’ Qwantlen is dedicated to environmental stewardship and aims to lead by example.

Gavin and his sister Aubree, aged 6 and 4, won in the Youth category for caring for the environment through picking up garbage on their street. Every week, Gavin and Aubree are excited to put on their special vests and get out their garbage pickers. There have been times when neighbours would “drop” loonies in the grass for the children to find among the garbage. Adopting their street by regularly picking up bottles and trash has taught the children about the importance of a clean neighbourhood, taking pride in their community, and caring for the earth.

Each winner took the time to share their thoughts on the importance of preserving the environment. Gavin and Aubree spoke about the importance of cleaning up garbage to the environment. “All the garbage on the ground is not good for the earth, cleaning it helps the earth and keeps it happy,” said Gavin.  “Cleaning up garbage helps the animals on the earth,” Aubree added. 

Ashley Doyle, representing Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, said: “Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group has embarked on a number of initiatives in Kwantlen First Nation Territory, including the Township of Langley, that enhance and bring awareness to local species at risk and critical habitats. We will continue with work that protects our environment for the benefit of all people living in Langley and for our future generations, hay čxʷ q̓a.” She was joined by a councillor and elders of Kwantlen First Nations.

Marlee St. Pierre, winner of the Individual category, said: “The clean, wild streams and forests of Langley are of vital importance to our quality of life and the existence of wild animals, like salmon. They are also an essential part of biodiversity and our cultural heritage. I am driven to do what I can in my daily life - at home and as a teacher - to make sure our environment will be there for the enjoyment of my family and for all of Langley's children, both now and for the future.”

Following a nomination process, the Environmental Heroes were chosen by a nominations committee, made of representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations: Sarah Atherton, Interim Executive Director of Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS); Mike Starr, Manager of Visitor Services at Ft. Langley National Historic Site of Canada; Frank Bucholtz, Editor of The Langley Times; Gary Aulakh, TD Canada Trust Branch Manager (Willowbrook branch); Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese; and Langley Member of Parliament Mark Warawa. At the ceremony, Stephen Dicks, Acting Manager, represented Fort Langley National Historic Site, Sarah Scuor, Manager of Financial Services, represented TD Canada Trust; and Councillor Charlie Fox represented the Township of Langley as Acting Mayor.

The Langley Environmental Hero Award began in 2006 as a way to recognize Langley's grassroots efforts, big and small, to protect the environment. It quickly became clear that environmental stewardship in Langley is an issue which people are passionate about.  Nominations have since expanded to honour environmental initiatives by individuals, youth and businesses or organizations.