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.

Award categories and criteria

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.


Nominations open at the beginning of January every year and close in March. Check back for 2022 nomination details. 

2021 Environmental Awards

Reclaim Plastics (formerly BumperNow) is a Bumaby based business that is committed to diverting plastic from landfills by operating in a circular economy. Reclaim Plastics gives discarded automotive bumpers a new life either as reconditioned ('re-use' stream) or by granulating the material to be turned into new products ('recycling' stream). The company has created a closed-loop system by remanufacturing and repurposing bumpers in house, effectively removing plastics from the waste stream.

In 2020, the Reclaim Plastics diverted 285 tons (570,0001bs) of automotive plastic waste from the landfill. Due to the success of the innovative processing, the company is currently investing in new processing equipment to further expand its activities to be able to divert even more automotive plastic waste from the landfill, as well as other plastics that are challenging to recycle. With its waste diversion goals, Reclaim Plastics continues to support the green economy and helps solve plasticwaste problems.

Ann and Bryan Green were co-nominated for this award. Ann and Bryan have been actively involved and dedicated to community stewardship initiatives in Burnaby for over 15 years. In 2006, they joined the Burnaby Lake Park Association (BLPA), volunteering with the BLPA Weedbusters Program and the first community led invasive species removal program. As a result of their dedication to their community and the environment, Ann and Bryan quickly moved into leadership roles within the BLPA.

Ann has been the association's Volunteer Coordinator since 2008 where she has organized over a dozen work parties and supported over 400 volunteer engagements on an annual basis. Throughout the years, Ann has been an advocate for BLPA, liaising with other community organizations and the City which has allowed for the association to participate in community environmental events, such as World River's Day, Environment Week and the Great Salmon Send Off. Ann has also provided educational opportunities and encouraged community groups to get involved with stewardship initiatives.

Bryan was the chair of the BLPA from 2011 through to 2015 where he played a key role in determining the strategic direction for the BLPA. In 2017, Bryan was then elected as the treasurer. He has held an important position in the BLPA as the educator for work parties, teaching volunteers about invasive species identification, demonstrating proper removal techniques for invasive plant species and methods to maintain bird nest boxes. Over the years Bryan has been involved in many outreach events in the community such as environmental fairs and nature walks, providing educational opportunities to participants.

Ann and Bryan Green have dedicated over 15 years to environmental stewardship initiatives and community education which has contributed to the growth and continued environmental commitment of the Burnaby Lake Park Association.

Simon Fraser University's district energy system, the Biomass District Heating Plant, showcases a district heating system that uses an alternative sustainable fuel source to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and divert wood waste from the landfill. Located on the south side of SFU's Bumaby campus, the high-efficiency heating plant burns biomass (clean construction wood waste) to generate energy. The energy produced during this process is used to provide heat and to heat water which is then distributed through the campus and UniverCity.

Following the university's planning framework and the principles of the Simon Fraser University's Strategic Sustainability Plan, the facility was designed to align with the university's core sustainability values and to develop and apply "innovations in climate change mitigation to our operational decisions." Since 2011, a dedicated team made from Facilities Services and Financial Services professionals collaborated, planned, and constmcted the altemate energy heating source for the Bumaby campus to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets while meeting the thermal needs of the Bumaby Mountain community. The Biomass District Heating Plant also helps meet the City of Bumaby municipal greenhouse gas reduction targets.

In October 2020, the Biomass District Heating Plant first opened, providing the campus and UniverCity residents with a cost-effective, low carbon energy source. The facility supplies approximately 85% of SFU's Bumaby Campus' annual heating requirements while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heating by approximately 85%. The Biomass District Heating Plant was designed to help SFU achieve 97% of the 2050 GHG reduction target set by the Province of British Columbia for public sector institutions, making SFU one of the public sector leaders in Canada in GHG emission reduction.

The facility additionally provides educational opportunities through hands-on learning programs for the Sustainable Energy Engineering students in their pursuit to become leaders of ecological, social, and economic sustainability. The Biomass District Heating Plant project has demonstrated strategic planning and incorporated green building technologies which reduce emissions, repurpose materials and align with municipal climate action goals.

Lilah Williamson is a high-school student, Burnaby resident, climate activist and community organizer with the Sustainabiliteens and Climate Strike Canada. As one of the founding members of the Sustainabiliteens, a youth group that takes climate action. Lilah has led this youth climate activist group towards climate change awareness and pushing for collective action on climate change.

Despite her age, Lilah has effectively brought out thousands of supporters to climate marches and helped trained her peers to be effective communicators and organizers. On September 27. 2019. Lilah addressed a crowd of over 100,000 at Vancouver's climate strike which mobilized over 1.000,000 Canadians across the country and brought awareness to climate change issues.

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions around social gatherings, Lilah has adapted her outreach strategy as she mobilizes people through 'distanced action' by connecting online through Zoom calls and interviewing with the media to bring people together to discuss and raise awareness for climate change action. One year following the September 2019 climate action strike, Lilah planned a day of action online, through social media and in streets to take action on climate change. She has pushed the conversation among adults and youth alike, building momentum towards a world of climate justice through her commitment to advocating for climate change and enhancing the public's awareness on emerging issues.

2021 Environmental Stars

The British Columbia Institute of Technology's (BCIT) South Wetland Restoration Project aims to provide an applied learning experience for BCIT students through ecological restoration. Under the direction of the Director of BCIT Rivers Institute, two BCIT wetland classes that included 24 undergraduates and 6 graduate level students worked for three days in September 2020, removing invasive plant species, monitoring ground water levels and planting native species to build a wetland on BCIT's campus.

The Ecological Restoration Degree Program offered at BCIT is traditionally a hands-on learning program that includes a field trip to Logan Lake to actively learn wetland building, restoration and maintenance. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this educational trip was cancelled to align with public health regulations. BCIT staff and students took this as an opportunity to provide the applied learning component to a site that was within the BCIT campus, offering an ecological restoration project right in Bumaby.

The wetland is BCIT's first wetland on campus. Located near the south end of the campus, the wetland has created habitat for birds, amphibians, plants and other species, making it a biodiversity hotspot. The BCIT wetland has eliminated the need for students to travel for learning as the Bumaby campus now offers a "living lab" setting that is not only intended for educational use, but is also a place for the community to experience and connect with nature. Future plans for the project include the addition of a proposed walkway and educational signage to highlight the wetland.

Students from the Ecological Restoration Degree Program at BCIT, including the Wetland Estuary Restoration undergraduate class, have gained invaluable experience while also contributing to the rehabilitation of Bumaby's environment through this project. The South Wetland Restoration Project not only created a hands-on teaming experience through the real-life restoration of a wetland but also created habitat that will support a high number of species for generations to come.

Les Leighton was one of the founding members of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee (SCEC) and has been an active member since 1999. Les has served as the SCEC President, Secretary and is currently the Vice President. He is an avid bird watcher and photographer who captures photos and videos of insects, plants, birds and aquatic life to use to educate the community and the SCEC on the biodiversity in the Stoney Creek watershed. Les has helped train volunteers on aquatic invertebrate sampling and is admired for his species identification skills of invertebrate and plant species. He has shared this knowledge to help educate elementary and post-secondary students. Les also organized and tended displays for various SCEC events, the Great Salmon Send Off, BC Rivers Day and Burnaby's Environment Week to educate the public on Burnaby's species and to promote the volunteer work that the SCEC does. Les has dedicated over 20 years to community stewardship through his various leadership roles by sharing his vast knowledge of botany, invertebrates and bird species which has been valued by both the SCEC and the community.

Force of Nature has shown outstanding dedication to informing the community on climate change solutions through their environmental campaigns. Force of Nature is an environmental non-profit society that is completely volunteer mn with members committed to working on solutions for climate change and advocating for the transition to zero carbon across municipalities in the lower mainland. The Bumaby team focuses their climate solution campaigns on public transportation, car-lite communities, phasing out of fossil fuels and smart growth/land use planning. The organization communicates these environmental campaigns at Bumaby events, through their social media channels and their website to provide the community the opportunity to have their opinions understood.

Since 2017, Force of Nature has launched the "Solarize Our Cities Campaign" and appeared before Bumaby's Environment Committee to promote the use of renewable energy. In 2018, the Climate targets campaign was launched to advocate for the City of Bumaby's adoption of the Intemational Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for community-wide emissions. Throughout this campaign, Force of Nature dedicated their time to inform Bumaby residents on climate change solutions by canvassing at a multitude of different outreach events, gathering signatures, hosting writing campaigns and organizing the community to write letters and emails in support of declaring a climate emergency in Bumaby. Following Council's declaration of a climate emergency on 2019 September 9, Force of Nature organized an Art Jam at City Hall for the community to celebrate Bumaby's declaration.

Force of Nature continues to enthusiastically promote their campaigns while collaborating and seeking input from diverse environmental and social organizations as well as a varied demographic to ensure equity and diversity throughout their environmental outreach campaigns.

The Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network (BVSN) is a youth-led organization that strives to create networks among Burnaby high school students for education and awareness of environmental issues and sustainability. The BYSN is made of a new group of student leaders each year. This year's core leaders were Emily Wong, Alisha Zhao, Katelyn Da Silva and Hannah Quin.

The BYSN was faced with challenges this past year due to the restrictions around social gatherings which hindered their ability to meet in person to organize programs. Despite the setback, the BYSN leaders were able to adapt and successfully launch their school's sustainability programs.

The BYSN has been actively involved in organizing and executing bi-weekly clean-ups and sustainability workshops within their schools and have helped carry out community clean-up events to bring awareness to sustainable consumption, waste diversion and sustainable agriculture. With coordination and planning from the leaders, the BYSN introduced the S.A.V.E Project, a stationary-recycling program, and Plastic Bank, a water bottle recycling program to Burnaby schools. BYSN has also worked with habitat restoration groups to remove invasive species and to restore habitats by planting native species.

Each year the BYSN leaders organize, plan and execute BYSN conferences such as the We Mean Green Conference and the BYSN D.I.G Conference, as well as the Sustainability Speaker Series: An Evening with BSYN. These conferences and speaker sessions raise awareness on sustainable living, waste reduction and advocate for the importance of protecting the environment.

The BYSN demonstrate continued commitment to sustainability as students are also leaders and presidents of other youth programs within their schools, such as the Burnaby South Green Team, Bumaby Central's Environment Club, Youth to Sea and Moscrop Secondary's ORCA Club. The passion, commitment and dedication of the BYSN to the sustainability of the environment while navigating through a challenging time is notable and their environmental achievements are therefore recognized through this award.

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