Environmental Awards

Celebrating our environmental champions

Launched in 1996, the Environmental Award Program recognizes the outstanding contributions of individuals, community groups, businesses and organizations to environmental sustainability in our community. The environment committee reviews the nominations and recommends recipients to the council for approval.

Nominations for 2024 are open! 

Nominate a person or organization going above and beyond for Burnaby's environment in one of the 6 categories below.

Submit an online nomination today

downloadable nomination form is also available and may be submitted by email to [email protected]

The 2024 deadline for submissions is April 7. The 2024 recipients will be recognized for their contributions at a meeting of City Council in June 2024. 

This category recognizes Burnaby-based businesses whose business practices and stewardship activities promote environmental sustainability in the workplace or community. They must raise awareness of ecological issues with staff/clients and reduce their environmental footprint in energy or water use, waste reduction, purchasing and transportation and enhancing or rehabilitating the City's environment.

This category includes all forms of print and digital media, video, audio or multi-media presentations, outreach or campaigns. The work must increase the understanding of environmental issues or promote environmentally sustainable behaviour in our community. The work should also demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of an environmental issue or sustainability and its relationship to Burnaby's citizens.

This category recognizes individuals, community groups and organizations that have actively promoted environmental stewardship in the City for several years. Their efforts have increased public awareness of an environmental issue or notably enhanced or rehabilitated Burnaby’s environment.

This category recognizes residents of Burnaby, including individuals, community groups, organizations, strata councils and institutions that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to environmental sustainability in the home, garden and community. Examples includehousehold energy conservation, waste reduction, green waste recycling, water efficiency, innovation in natural garden practices and native plant landscaping, local food production, active transportation and other sustainable lifestyle choices.

This category highlights developments that demonstrate strategic planning, innovative environmental features and green building technologies. Examples include reducing energy use and emissions, reusing materials, using water efficiently, employing innovative approaches to stormwater and wastewater management, encouraging active transportation and protecting and enhancing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Developments may range from large commercial, industrial, institutional and residential projects to new or renovated individual buildings.

This category recognizes the contributions that children or teenagers have made—either through their own initiatives or through school programs—that have increased public awareness of environmental sustainability issues or have notably enhanced or rehabilitated the City’s environment.

Award types

Environmental Award

Recognizes environmental achievements of a larger scale, such as long-term commitments to an organization or cause, leadership, and projects of significant size and complex scope that have a broader community impact.

Environmental Star

Recognizes environmental achievements of a smaller or individual scale that may serve to catalyze larger initiatives and inspire others.

A maximum of 1 Environmental Award and 2 Environmental Stars are awarded per category.

2023 Environmental Awards

Burnaby and Region Allotment Gardens Association, also known as BARAGA, is a not-for-profit association that has been managing and maintaining a community garden in the Big Bend region for 40 years. BARAGA has been serving Burnaby and residents from neighbouring municipalities since 1982 and provides 372 private garden plots, each measuring 1,000 square feet or 93 square metres, divided on a 14.2-acre site leased from the City.

In addition, BARAGA provides horticultural advice and shared experiences for its members and spreads awareness of the natural processes of food growing. The City partnered with BARAGA to establish a publicly accessible community garden and to encourage its residents to grow and process food within the City. The continuous commitment from BARAGA and its members to creating an environmentally sustainable community garden has been instrumental in the success of this project. What started as a small garden initiative has grown to include community-wide interest in growing local food and increased social interaction.

Caio Conradt has been the President of Earthwise Club for two years, spreading awareness on topics like soil degradation, fast fashion, pollution and ocean acidification. Mr. Conradt has organized games and activities like nature walks, water testing, clean ups, making the Bee Garden, and more.

He has managed the Burnaby Mountain Secondary School (BMSS) greenhouses and facilitated bi-weekly workshops on planting, making seed bombs, hoop houses for winter crops and reusing food scraps from the school's cooking classes in a worm bin. Mr. Conradt is also the Youth Committee Head for the Sprouting Chefs Society, helping with Forest Grove Elementary's Garden Club and cooking classes. Through the project Schooling Fish, which he co-founded in 2022, he took students from BMSS on different excursions to increase ocean literacy and to connect with other students from five high schools, including Burnaby North Secondary and Moscrop Secondary.

In addition, Mr. Conradt is an animal care volunteer with the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC, located at Burnaby Lake, where he prepares meals for birds in rehabilitation and cleans and prepares enclosures for injured birds according to their specific needs and diets. Other involvements include volunteering with the Vancouver Avian Research Centre banding birds for migration tracking and being an active alumnus of the Youth to Sea Program by Ocean Wise, helping spread ocean conservation to youth and communities across the Lower Mainland. These involvements have led him to be chosen as one of the Top 25 Environmentalists under 25 by Starfish Canada in 2022 and a finalist for the Nature Inspiration Award by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

2023 Environmental Stars

Maureen Templeton is a member of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee (SCEC), which is a dedicated group of volunteers committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing Burnaby's urban forest and salmon-bearing streams through various streamkeeping activities.

She has been contributing on the executive committee of the SCEC for several years and is currently the Financial Secretary. She handles the accounting preparations and the financial statements for the group, prepares grant applications to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and oversees corporate donations.

Ms. Templeton also engages directly with the public in two notable areas: first, through her fundraising and budgeting contributions to the organizing committee of the annual Great Salmon Send Off, a popular annual community event, and second, through her fieldwork with invasive plant removal, replanting of native plants, fish trapping, and bird counts.

Matthew Syvenky is the youngest Director of the Cariboo Heights Forest Preservation Society (CHFPS) and has held his seat since 2020. CHFPS is a naturalist group focused on stewarding the Cariboo Heights Forest in Burnaby through invasive plant removals, water quality monitoring and community events. Mr. Syvenky helps run booths at Burnaby events like World Rivers Day and Burnaby Blooms, where he connects with a diverse mix of Burnaby residents and spreads awareness on urban forests.

In 2021, he spearheaded the Rubus Restoration community stewardship project in the Cariboo Heights Forest. In coordination with the Invasive Species Council of BC, CHFPS and the City of Burnaby's Planning & Solid Waste and Recycling staff, the project gathered volunteers from Burnaby and across the Lower Mainland, which resulted in the removal of an estimated 500 kilograms of invasive species from a fragile creek ecosystem and restored the site with over 30 diverse native plants. Since its completion, Mr. Syvenky has partnered with other local stewardship groups to host garbage cleanups in Burnaby, most of which have taken place along the Brunette River, where he and his fellow volunteers work to clean out abandoned camps and garbage along the trails.

In addition, Mr. Syvenky has also enhanced Salamander Creek by removing an estimated 700 kilograms of blackberry bushes and restoring the site with over 15 native trees, shrubs and other native plants. Mr. Syvenky earned the Wildlife Friendly Habitat Certificate from the Canadian Wildlife Federation for his efforts to steward this portion of Salamander Creek into a biodiverse ecosystem.

Cheney Creamer demonstrates an exemplary commitment to environmental sustainability in the home, garden and community. Around the home, she grows native plants like white sage and shares them with her community to help raise awareness of the importance of local flora and fauna, natural wildlife corridors and traditional Indigenous food sources.

As a local gardening expert, she helps design community gardens and educates residents on native species, the removal of invasive species and food producing techniques. Ms. Creamer designed a 400 feet community garden for a Burnaby strata that outgrew residents’ needs which resulted in the surplus being donated to the community. Using her therapeutic horticulture knowledge, Ms. Creamer designed and built a community garden out of an abandoned lot in 2021. That land is now known as Ryall Park, the city's largest community garden. It has over 30 self-watering garden boxes, a standing access box for those with mobility issues as well as a wheelchair-accessible planter box.

The keystone of this garden is the Native Food Forest Garden. It was made using innovative building techniques that make use of neighbourhood felled trees eliminating city waste by using old wood. This natural garden has native trees and berries, and mason bees, and is a living example of how productive the land in the Lower Mainland is. This garden alone is a great example of waste reduction, water efficiency, innovation in natural garden practices and native plant landscaping.

Ziya Merchant is a grade 11 student at Burnaby South Secondary School with a long-standing interest in environmentalism. Her interest in reducing single-use plastics inspired her to launch an educational campaign to spread awareness about the social, ethical and environmental consequences of plastic water bottles at her school. The campaign, Phase Out Plastic Bottles, grew into a grassroots organization reaching over 15 schools across Canada, including the Lower Mainland and Ontario, and even branching into the United States.

Ms. Merchant has been recognized for her efforts by the Burnaby School District and newspapers, including Canada Today and Burnaby Now. Also, she was nominated as a Youth Cabinet Member for the Institution for Sustainability Education and Action, a 16-year-old environmental organization where she assists with the provincial and national expansion of the Youth Climate Activism Award.

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