Meet the 2017 Green Superheroes!

Youth:

Liam G.B, The Ob-Litter-Hater

He’s fast as lightning, powered by a BIG heart and a super mind! Liam doesn’t walk by litter and ignore it. He either cleans it up or asks for help from an adult to do that. He’s always making sure our park and neighborhood is spic and span. He loves planting food and other plants, always considering what can be eaten, pollinators and artistic design. Liam also understands ecosystems and is really thoughtful of how one thing has an affect on another. On hikes he carefully collects ‘specimens’, examines and ID’s them, and writes each species down. Look out for this one – he’ll do great things for his generation and beyond! On his own accord, driven by his own heart, he’s an advocate for eating more fruit & veggies and less cows and pigs.

Josiah Lotecki, The Queen Bee

Josiah Lotecki is a go-getter! She got it in her head to plant supportive bee habitat and set off to make it happen! This kind of imitative, courage and tenacity is fundamental to being a Green Superhero. Way to go Josiah! Josiah wasn’t afraid to reach out to several organizations to find out how she could help threatened bee populations in our community. You can see the fruits of her labours at the Westminster Community Garden. She planted a pollinator garden and even organized an event for the project. This kind of action-based support from youth like Josiah is so incredibly important and a worthy inspiration for us all! 

Individuals:

Camille Fairbanks, The Green Inspiration

Through her own personal commitment, Camille has inspired over 200 others to contemplate the waste they generate, to become aware of the waste produced, and to find ways to reduce their waste with a goal of producing zero-waste. Camille made a new year’s resolution for 2017 to reduce her waste. To soldify her commitment and to “crowdsource” ideas and identify resources supporting reduced or zero waste, she started the Facebook group, “Zero Waste Southern Alberta,” on 2016 December 28 and then spread word of the group. Today, there are over 200 followers of that page and a whole lot of ideas have been shared and resources identified … all thanks to Camille. Camille is a woman with a husband and small children so you can imagine her commitment to make this change in her life and their life and to encourage others to do. I am no slouch when it comes to treading lightly on the planet but Camille has even taught me a few things through this journey she embarked upon and she has really worked at raising the issue of packaging with retailers. Thank you for your inspiration, Camille.

Matthias Fikre, Mighty Matt

Super passionate about the environment as well as educating people on it! I’ve literally been yelled at for not recycling properly. Matthias initiated recycling in a restaurant he worked in (volunteering his own time), chose to become a vegetarian because of concern for the environmental impact of raising meat, is currently pursuing a career in environmental studies, and creatively integrated a skateboard challenge (Thrash &Trash”) that involved cleaning up litter during environment week.  He’s super passionate about it and wants to do good things for our world! He’s a super awesome guy that loves the environment and does great work to make our world better and brighter!

Al Fertado

Has always been very prudent about recycling EVERYTHING before putting into trash can. Recycles everything possible, and makes new compost for garden every year. Does not waste utilities. Al has set an example to friends and neighbours as well as Air Cadets on the importance of recycling for the better of our world by DOING, not just talking!

Karen Sparkes, EarthLite

Karen goes to great lengths to compost everything from food wastes to plastic. She goes out of her way to buy foods wrapped environmentally friendly and will boycott brands that contain excess plastic. Karen also works hard to conserve water – she waters outside plants in early morning and only when needed – when she needs hot water, she ALWAYS runs the tap water into watering cans, the coffee pot, tea kettles, pet’s drinking bowls etc. so as not to waste water unnecessarily. And it does not just stop at home. Karen is very vocal to family, friends and colleagues about the importance of recycling and not wasting. She is a great advocate for GREEN and in my opinion is certainly a Green Superpower! Karen will always go out of her way to ensure she is recycling, not wasting our precious natural resources, and to educate those around her in the process. She composts, saves water, flushes minimally, advocates for the environment and openly boycotts products that are not green or environmentally friendly. Karen works in the schools and also passes along the message and importance of recycling and not wasting precious resources to the kids she comes in contact with. She honors and cherishes the earth and its importance to keeping all of the earth’s people with plenty of food and clean water for generations to come.

Kristina Larkin, Community Greenifier

Kristina is always putting back into the community ten fold! She made the big push to get the community garden approved by the city of Lethbridge. She gave more of her time over the extremely hot summer this year to ensure the garden was cared for and watered. Kristina is actively involved in all aspects of the community. She volunteers with the Lethbridge Community Garden Network, Coordinator at the Westminster Community Garden and personally she has committed to living a sustainable lifestyle at her home. Through her work at the Westminster Community Garden, she has revitalized the garden and worked diligently to create a welcoming space for all members of her community. Kristina is amazing at making our community brighter for everyone in so many ways. This past year Kristina has put in countless hours at the Westminster Community Garden. Kristina has worked to see this garden grow over the last two years to create a space that supports all the green thumbs in the community.  Kristina is amazing human being that gives and gives and gives to see others succeed. She is one of those people that can make 24 hours in a day seem like 50 with all the things she can accomplish and somewhere in there she sleeps!? Kristina wants to see a thriving community that focuses on local community and sustainability while holding onto strong values of respect. Respect for all people and respect for our environment. Kristina has a beautiful vision for our city of Lethbridge and she fights to see it actively. She is THE green superhero!

Jennifer Tarnowsky

Bringing the community together through ensuring sustainable local food is available! Jennifer has spent several years as the coordinator and President of the Campus Roots Community Garden. She also volunteers with Applefest, the fruit rescue program, Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association and the Community Garden Network. She is committed to food security in Lethbridge.

Tom Moffat

Tom is one of the first homeowners in Lethbridge to invest in a solar photovoltaic system thereby reducing his dependence on non-renewable energy sources and setting an example for others to follow. Tom contracted a local company, Solar Optix, to install a photovoltaic system on the roof of his house and garage in an inner city neighbourhood. The energy generated is expected to equal or exceed his annual electricity use. A financial rebate through the provincial Residential and Commercial Solar program helped to make the project more affordable.

Vince and Toni Clarehout

The Clarehouts are leaders in the downtown business community, demonstrating that making your business more environmental in Lethbridge is possible! The Clarehouts installed solar panels on the 3 bays of a downtown building they own and combined the 3 electrical systems into one – increasing energy efficiency and enabling long-term cost savings.

Sampath Walgama, Sam the Man

He has a great passion for gardening (with his background in Agriculture) and as he became a resident of Lethbridge 7 years ago, he did gardening, making a barren patch of land (backyard) into a green space. He enjoys being with the environment and the nature, more than anything else. He prepares compost from garden litter and most of the household waste to feed his stunning vegetable and flower garden. He does not use any chemical to feed the plants and also protect plants from bugs. He has a lot of concerns to the environment as well as to the safety of the food he produces in the garden. So he uses organic materials to feed plants (compost, cow manure etc etc) and some plant extracts having insecticidal properties to control bugs. Despite the fact that he grows vegetables (backyard) and flowers (front) separately, his vegetable garden (backyard) always has flowers like sunflowers, milkweeds in order to give bees and other pollinators a habitat. My green hero is an Agricultural Science Instructor at Lethbridge College. He wants to make Lethbridge more greener than what is it today and contribute in whatever way he can to achieve that.

Erin McIlwraith, The Connector

Erin has the power and savvy to bring beekeepers and rogue honey bee swarms together for the health and safety of both man and bug. Erin is the network hub of the Lethbridge Swarm Response Line. She has been on-call for the public to contact her and let her know when honey bee swarms are spotted, and then she connects with one of the skilled beekeepers in the network who is able to come and quickly re-home the swarm. In the 2017 season, at least 15 honey bee swarms found good homes because of Erin!

Bill Spenceley, Solar Flex

Bill is a proactive environmental leader in our community. As the owner of Flexahopper Plastics Ltd., he installed the largest commercial solar array (167.64 kW) in the City of Lethbridge this fall. He is also installing a 19.8 kW solar array on his residential home.

Organizations:

Kainai Ecosystem Protection Agency, KEPA-n It Real

Rooted in Traditional Knowledge, Blackfoot Science and contemporary activism, the Kainai Ecological Protection Association is an outstanding hero in Southern Alberta. KEPA brings people together to work towards shared understanding and environmental sustainability. Their vision is for Kainai to value and live in a clean, healthy and protected environment that supports a sustainable society and balances our economy and traditional connection to the air, water, land and animals. This amazing organization recently hosted its 4th annual KEPA Workshop, focusing this year on Blackfoot Science. This workshop is unique expression of leadership through ecological consciousness and environmental stewardship and includes specific focus on monitoring, resource management and conservation awareness, while promoting protection, sustainable development and partnerships.

Helen Schuler Nature Centre

Continually looking for ways to recycle, reduce and reuse all manner of items. Building has solar energy, and recycles display materials and all manner of items! Has a rooftop garden to reduce energy costs as well. Sets the example to community on saving our environment with prudent use of utilities and materials.

Ecole La Verendrye, Food Forest Fanatics

Ecole la Verendrye is leading the way in creating green school yards brimming with biodiversity and outdoor learning opportunities! This school has their eye on the prize! Ecole la Verendrye has done an outstanding job in educating students about food security, biodiversity and natural leadership by establishing a Food Forest in their schoolyard. This school and its teachers have done an outstanding job exploring the potential of their school yard space and the opportunities it provides for outdoor education and community collaboration. The ELV Food Forest is the first of its kind in the city and hopefully will become a shining example of hour schools can become more than just buildings and how education can be a hands on experience! So kudos to ELV and Monique Gouttin for being Natural Leaders! We cannot forget the hard work and assistance of the Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association and their involvement in this project as well, so thank you LSLA!

Bikebridge, The Super-Cyclists

Bikebridge is the leading voice for the promotion of cycling in Lethbridge. They have stepped up this year to become strong advocates for the benefits of cycling and cyclists in Lethbridge. Bikebridge have been strong advocates for Lethbridge’s Cycling Master Plan and the improvement of cycling routes and safety in Lethbridge. They offer great services through their bike valet program, which provides secure bike parking at many Lethbridge events. They have been actively promoting bike safety through the BikeMaps app and they have a new column in the Lethbridge Herald.

Geomatic Attic, The Green Virtuosos

The Geomatic Attic goes the extra mile to include sustainability in its concerts and venue. This year, the Geomatic Attic hosted the first Wide Skies Music and Arts Festival in downtown Lethbridge. In an effort to encourage positive environmental actions, sustainable transportation, reusable water bottles and recycling on site were encouraged. The Geomatic Attic partnered with Bikebridge to offer valet bike parking for concert-goers, and attendees who walked, biked or took transit were rewarded with prizes. In addition, the Geomatic Attic (and its business partner, Mike Spencer Geometrics Ltd.) recently installed solar panels on the roof of their facility.

Lethbridge City Council

Lethbridge City Council took significant strides forward on waste reduction in the past year. Over the past few years, City Council approved strategies for both residential and commercial waste reduction, including the implementation of curbside recycling in Lethbridge.

Businesses:

Rossco’s Tree Service

Adam and his crew care so deeply for the beautiful trees in or community and surrounding areas. Adam is an environmental activist with a love for all things trees.

Theoretically Brewing Company, The Green Zymurgist

Recycling and upcycling! The brewery donates all spent biomass to local farmers for animal feed, as well as a biodigester to generate electricity. Older equipment is upgraded and refurbished to work within the brewery. They make a lot of their stuff by habd abd use man power over automation. The team has worked to decrease water consumption by 40% and enegry consumption by 20%. They aim to educate buyers on the importance of shopping local, and decrease their carbon footprint. They also buy locally farmed ingredients to keep the carbon footprint of their product as small as possible. They are working on getting funding to become the first solar-powered brewery in Alberta!

Pratt and Whitney Canada, The Coulee Protectors

Pratt & Whitney Canada has supported 10 years of Coulee Clean-Up – helping the Nature Centre to engage thousands of volunteers in the removal of thousands of bags of trash making Lethbridge’s river valley a better place to visit! Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) has sent teams into the Coulees for 10 years, exploring areas throughout Lethbridge to help remove garbage. Their participation and encouragement has allowed the Nature Centre to grow and expand their conservation programs to cover more areas and engage more volunteers through programs like Coulee Clean-Up, Shoreline Clean-Up, and Invasive Weed Pulls. PWC fosters a strong environmental ethic throughout their operation – with a focus on minimizing waste, reducing water usage, and exploring installation of solar panels at their Lethbridge site. In 2017 there were 84 PWC staff that collected 39 bags of trash from multiple areas in the river valley!

North Lethbridge Save-on-Foods

Beginning in 2017 Save on Foods in North Lethbridge encourages customers to switch to reusable cloth bags by charging for each plastic bag used, offering reusable cloth bags for purchase at a reasonable cost, and providing customers who complain about paying for a grocery bag with a free reusable cloth bag. This measure contributes to a change towards a greener lifestyle for hundreds of Lethbridge residents and reduces the amount of plastic bags in Lethbridge waste thereby helping our city to reach its residential waste reduction goal. Plastic bags are manufactured using non-renewable resources and are one of the most difficult materials to recycle. Save on Foods also sells food and products that are produced locally.  

Wooden Peaks, Cedarna!

This business specializes in the restoration of cedar roofing. Wooden Peaks repairs only what needs to be repaired on a roof, while restoring the remaining area and preserving the complete roof with protective oil. Rather than replacing a complete roof – sending it all to the landfill – restoration allows a home owner to extend the life of the roof. Extending the life of a product means less demand on resources (cedar) and less waste to the landfill. They were very nice to work with – all superheroes should be likeable.

Efutures Renewables, The Event Resource Rescuers

Protecting your everyday weak and meager items from a life of waste and uselessness. Efutures have been at the forefront of event recycling throughout the Lethbridge community. Both big and small, Efutures has provided a solution to reduce event waste and rescue materials that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. Their commitment to promoting sustainable alternatives allows valuable resources to be used to their full potential.