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 2023 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

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

The 2023 deadline for submissions is March 31. The 2023 recipients will be recognized for their contributions at the June 19, 2023 meeting of City Council. 

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.

2022 Environmental Awards

This award is presented in recognition of the club’s commitment to climate activism through public engagement and awareness. SFU350 is a student-run climate action club operating at Simon Fraser University (SFU), which has been active at SFU Burnaby since 2013. Their name references 350ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide (CO2), which represents the safe amount of carbon dioxide for our atmosphere to avoid a changing climate.

Since inception, SFU350 has demonstrated dedication to creating meaningful community impacts and positive change through various campaigns. The club ensures equity, sustainability, and Indigenous sovereignty are centered in all campaigns, and has a dedicated working group active with the express purpose of advocating for climate justice. Past campaigns have contributed to the declaration of a climate emergency from SFU’s Board of Governors; the full divestment of SFU from all financial holdings invested in fossil fuel extraction, refinement, and transportation companies; and acknowledgement of alignment between SFU’s goals and SFU350’s climate emergency open letter demands. These milestones were achieved through many hours of student advocacy – with support being garnered among a multitude of SFU community members and stakeholders.

The BFCS is recognized for their outstanding leadership and dedication in taking over operation of a community fish hatchery from the Sapperton Fish and Game Club (SFGC), many-time past Environmental Award winners in their own right.

In 2020, members of the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society (BFCS) were contacted by the SFGC to gauge interest in taking over operation of the community fish hatchery located in Cariboo Heights in Burnaby, near the Brunette River. The fire fighters charitable society confirmed their interest and in 2021, in a new partnership, the City took ownership of the hatchery building and entered into a licence agreement with the fire fighters as the new operator, under the technical guidance of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).   

Over the last two years, the fire fighters society has learned how to operate the hatchery under mentorship from the DFO Community Advisor.  They are now self-sufficient and have since released thousands of small salmon fry into Burnaby’s local streams and tributaries. Hundreds of hours of volunteer time are required of the members of the society, and family members, each hatchery season. This endeavor helps keep Burnaby’s salmon stocks healthy and growing.  The fire fighters society’s commitment to the hatchery program not only helps make Burnaby a greener city, but also helps the next generation learn to understand and appreciate our environment and the importance of Community Stewardship.

Pablo is recognized for his exemplary commitment to environmental sustainability by raising awareness and knowledge about sustainable food systems within the community.

A resident of University Highlands in Burnaby, Pablo uses his comprehensive knowledge of sustainable food systems to educate community members, drawing upon his decades of agricultural experience and academic training in landscape spatial analysis. As Gardens Manager with Embark Sustainability Society, he manages two large-scale Learning Gardens open to Burnaby’s SFU community.  There he facilitates various workshops exploring food systems and growing practices, making gardening accessible to community members and emphasizing organic gardening practices, minimizing garden waste, and gardening’s role in sustainable living.  This includes hand-on gardening experience during the growing season.

Pablo also runs the Roots2Grow Gardening Program, facilitating gardening and edible education workshops in Burnaby elementary schools.  Taking school groups through the gardening process from plot creation to harvest, Roots2Grow helps children understand local food production and supports Burnaby elementary schools to make the most of their outdoor space. He previously received an Environmental Star in 2014 for his volunteer work with the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, a local streamkeeper group in Burnaby. His Environmental Award in 2022 recognizes his other accomplishments noted above and overall contributions to his community.

Simon Fraser University is recognized for their achievements in building the Parcel 21 project on Burnaby Mountain, a non-market rental housing development primarily targeting mature students with children, a demographic that is typically undeserved by universities. This project will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings in British Columbia, with building envelope performance modelled at the uppermost tiers of the BC Energy Step Code. The original design target was the Passive House standard. However, as the design progressed, industry-wide construction costs continued to escalate and pushed the estimated construction cost beyond the budget allocated for the project. As a result, the project targeted the highest level of the BC Energy Step Code instead, while maintaining many of the design details and strategies typically associated with Passive House buildings. Significant is that this building’s energy efficiency performance level was achieved on a conventional construction budget. 

Casey Lo is recognized for her outstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and revitalization of an indoor greenhouse at Burnaby Mountain. She has been a part of the Forest Grove Garden Club since she was 7 years old, both as a participant and now as a volunteer leader in her Grade 12 year of high school. Casey volunteers for summer programs and serves as the current Youth Committee Head. She has also been involved with the Youth to Sea Youth Organization, through which she secured a grant to revitalize the indoor greenhouse at Burnaby Mountain Secondary School. The grant was also used to develop a self-watering system for the outdoor garden metal bins. The bins and the watering system are now used at other Burnaby schools.

The Greenhouse Project at Burnaby Mountain Secondary School has had a broader community impact. The project connected other students in the school to growing plants for their outdoor garden bins, as well as to other garden clubs that work with the Sprouting Chefs Society, including Forest Grove Elementary, Edmonds Community School and Windsor Elementary. Casey’s commitment to this project demonstrates environmental stewardship and climate resiliency to her peers and the younger students at the Forest Grove Garden Club. Casey has been an inspiration to her peers while showing a desire to create positive solutions for the future in permaculture, growing food and protecting the environment.

2022 Environmental Stars

Sara Ross is recognized for her commitment to protect wildlife and ecosystems and raising community awareness of an environmental issue.

Sara is one of the founding members of the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN) a grassroots, collaborative, volunteer network aiming to protect birds along the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion route. Since early 2021, she has helped train volunteers and citizen scientists to find and document the nests of birds in the Brunette River Corridor. This initiative arose out of the concern about Trans-Mountain’s construction activities in Burnaby and impacts on trees and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Sara has also helped create a website with a group of fellow artists to raise community awareness about the trees that will be removed as part of pipeline construction in Burnaby. She has shown great initiative and determination in her efforts to connect with the different stakeholders involved to reduce the impacts of pipeline construction on trees and bird habitat.

Brookside Court Strata is recognized for their exceptional commitment to ecological restoration of private property by strata members.

Members of the strata organized a multi-year restoration plan for a streamside area along Lost Creek, which traverses the Brookside Court property. Although access to fish is limited upstream of the Trans-Canada Highway, Lost Creek is considered fish habitat, and provides a refuge to many aquatic species and wildlife throughout its length from North Road to the Brunette River. 
This project highlights a commitment to both environmental sustainability and climate action on Brookside strata property by the strata members. Habitat restoration improves ecosystem health and resiliency by removing invasive plant monocultures and planting a variety of plants native to the habitat area. Benefits of this habitat restoration include urban cooling, reduction of erosion and improving streamside health, which extend beyond the property boundaries by providing protection not only to the stream at this location, but also to habitat areas further downstream.

Luka Kovacic is recognized for his environmental leadership and commitment to environmental sustainability through various school programs and streamkeeper activities.

Luka is one of the youngest members of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, a local streamkeeper group. He has been volunteering for many years in the environmental stewardship activities of the group. He also helps educate the public by creating environmental videos for promotion on social media, which he produces under the title of Luka's World Adventures. 

Luka has helped in Stoney Creek’s annual fall salmon counts, walking the creek to record and count the numbers of returning fish every weekend from October to mid-December. The Streamkeepers report that despite some wet days, he is dedicated to this activity and never discouraged. He also helps to download the water temperatures from data loggers installed in the Stoney Creek watershed and has helped lead tours of Stoney Creek for other students, helping others to become aware of the ecology of the watershed.

Smith Hemsley is recognized for his commitment to environmental stewardship by raising awareness on waste reduction. Smith is a Grade 2 student with an interest in environmental sustainability and waste reduction, specifically in reducing the amount of pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and other classroom supplies that are discarded to landfills. Smith says he hopes that if students and adults recycle their pens and pencils, they will also think about what other everyday items can be diverted from waste streams.

With leadership and support from his teacher, Smith has implemented this project at his school. His classmates decorated recycled shoe boxes with a "Feed a Zombie, Not a Landfill" theme and delivered a box to each classroom at the school. Smith and his classmates pick up the recyclable items in the boxes on a weekly basis and bring them to a community partner for recycling. 

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