Community commendation was at the forefront of conversation for the City of North Vancouver Monday evening as council came together to offer grants and awards to those spearheading climate conscious initiatives.
A total of $30,000 worth of Living City Grants, designed to recognize individuals, schools, community groups and businesses that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in environmental sustainability, were offered to Larson Elementary School teacher Katie Kenny and vice president of the North Shore Streamkeepers (NSSK), Carolynne Robertson.
Kenny, a Grade 4/5 teacher, bagged the Urban Agriculture, Education and Awareness Award for her work infusing sustainable food systems education into the school’s culture and curriculum.
“Through her thoughtfully integrated lessons she cultivates and grows student leadership within the school community," said Mayor Linda Buchanan Monday evening.
Overseeing a school-wide composting program, Kenny’s class of students was responsible for collecting compost from each classroom, tending to the schools vermicompost bin, and collecting the worm castings to fertilize the school gardens.
Across the previous year the class grabbed hammers, saws and drills to repurpose an old box into a thriving garden, learned how to grow seedlings in an indoor greenhouse, and practiced transferring their bounty to the kitchen by learning how to cook, chop and bake the vegetables and proffer them to classmates via the school’s annual Salad Day.
“I would love to come to salad day next year and I’m sure council would too,” said Mayor Linda Buchanan on Monday evening, while describing Kenny’s work as “outstanding.”
Buchanan said Kenny’s dedication to providing such education to the students, staff and families of the school “embodies sustainability leadership, and inspires and empowers our next generation of urban farmers and environmental leaders.”
Elsewhere Carolynne Robertson, Vice President of the North Shore Streamkeepers (NSSK) took home the Environmental Protection, Enhancement, Education and Awareness award for her work advocating for the health of North Shore waterways.
Particularly applauded was Robertson’s efforts in North Vancouver’s Wagg Creek Park, where she leads ‘Work Crew Mondays’ to pull invasive plants, educate the community and initiate collaborations among other environmentally minded groups.
“Through her many actions Carolyn demonstrates outstanding leadership in environmental sustainability,” said Buchanan.
On Monday evening council also announced the Cool It Climate Leadership Award, an award given by the City of North Vancouver and the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) to schools working to help the city achieve their climate action targets.
The award was given to Brooksbank Elementary’s Grade 4/5 class who, led by teacher Julie Eldon, completed 345 individual actions to combat climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 9.7 tonnes, the equivalent to taking two passenger vehicles off the road for a year, said Buchanan.
“We deeply admire your tenacity and dedication to creating a more sustainable community,” said the mayor.
“Your participation in the Cool It program is really important to everyone at the city, because it plays a key role in helping us achieve our climate action targets.”
Buchanan said it is individual actions that add up to make the city a healthier and more sustainable place for everyone.
“Together we actually can make a difference,” she said.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.