Saanich, represented by Mayor Richard Atwell (fourth from right) and Coun. Leif Wergeland (far left), awarded the 2018 Environmental Awards Monday. They honoured among others Shelagh Levey, who won the Long Term Achievement Award (next to Wergeland) and Julian Anderson (next to Atwell), who won the Biodiversity Conservation Award for his role in protecting Cuthbert Holmes Park. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich recognizes residents for their environmental efforts

Shelagh Levey won the Long-Term Achievement award for her leadership in environmental protection.

Shelagh Levey led the winners of the 2018 Saanich Environmental Awards.

Coun. Leif Wergeland said Levey won the Long-Term Achievement award for her leadership in environmental protection and education.

The Gordon Head resident pioneered the first recycling program in Western Canada in 1960s, said Wergeland during a ceremony held Monday at Municipal Hall. “As a teacher, she led Gordon Head Elementary School to achieve Earth School status through 1000 environmental projects,” he said. “Over the years Shelagh has led and participated in many community initiatives to protect the environment in Saanich, especially at Prospect Lake and within the Todd Creek Watershed.”

Levey remains active by helping to restore Sayward Hill Park. The late Saanich councillor Vic Derman posthumously won that category last year.

The ceremony started with Audrey Barnes receiving the award for Individual Environmental Achievement for helping to protect and restore local ecosystems. “Audrey has contributed significant time and leadership with community groups in the Tod Creek Watershed area,” said Wergeland. “She works weekly on restoration projects, especially at Whitehead Park, but including East Lake Park and the native plant garden at Prospect Lake Elementary.”

Saanich recognized the Friends of Bow/Brodick Park as the Volunteer Organization of the year. “Since 2006, this group of volunteers has invested almost 4800 hours in persistent removal of invasives and replanting of native vegetation in these parks as well as the Feltham Trail,” said Wergeland.

McCall Gardens received the Business Award for their achievements in building a facility that honours and enhances the natural environment in Saanich. “After 90 years of service to the Victoria area, McCall Gardens developed a vision of a new facility in the Royal Oak area combining modern technologies with a connection to nature,” he said. “The facility that was developed is a green building, built in harmony with the creek and natural landscape on the property.”

Saanich recognized the trio of Charlotte Brady, Anastasia Castro and Grace Poole in the Youth category. “Over the last four years, these students have made presentations and attended [council] meetings in the region, led a petition, have spoken publically about the dangers of plastics and micro-plastics in our oceans and have worked on beach clean-ups with the Surfrider Foundation,” said Wergeland.

Julian Anderson received the Biodiversity Conservation Award. “Julian has been a tireless volunteer and advocate for this park since the 1980s, creating the Friends of Cuthbert Holmes Park in 2005 and serving as the Lead Steward of the park,” said Wergeland. “He has spent countless hours in the park monitoring, cleaning up, removing invasives, planting native vegetation, preserving fish spawning grounds and native biodiversity.” He has also monitored the McKenzie Interchange Project in advocating for the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Linda Geggie, executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable who also writes the Local Flavour column in the Saanich News, won the Sustainability Award for her leadership and achievements in building sustainable food systems.

“Linda’s early work led to the establishment of Lifecycles in 1994 and from there the development of a network of organizations providing sustainable food services,” he said Monday. “This network eventually became the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable to develop healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems in the Capital Region. Linda’s vision and leadership have served this and other local organizations, contributing to many services, initiatives and partnerships.”

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