Islanders honoured for leading environmental change
Some of the Island’s youngest and most experienced environmental leaders are being recognized for their work eliminating single-use plastics that spend a thousand years in the landfill as well as protecting the oceans and forests.
This year’s Prince Edward Island Environmental Awards go to two groups of youngsters:
Trinity United Church’s 2016 Sunday School Grade 4-6 class in the Group category and Spring Park School’s Grade 4C French Immersion class in the School category for educating those around them to eliminate single-use plastic cutlery, bottles, and styrofoam.
In the individual category an award goes to Tony Reddin and Marion Copleston who have been dedicated to environmental leadership in PEI at all levels for more than 35 years.
“The Environmental Awards celebrate the efforts of people who work hard to protect, conserve or restore the environment. Each of this year’s recipients have promoted public awareness, understanding and actions to protect the Island’s environment in new ways,” said Brad Trivers, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change. “Climate change and plastic pollution are problems that require everyone to do their part.”
The awards are given annually by the Environmental Advisory Council.
“The connection between Islanders, the land and the sea is a deeply personal one. Our award winners have all taken actions that have a transformative, positive impact on the environment,” said Mike Gilbertson, chair of the Environmental Advisory Council.
Learn more about the Prince Edward Island Environmental Awards.
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change
About this year’s award winners
Category – Individual
Tony Reddin and Marion Copleston have been dedicated to environmental education and leadership in PEI at all levels for more than 35 years. They have organized campaigns with Save Our Seas and Shores, the Gulf Coalition to protect marine ecosystems from oil drilling, and the Citizens Concerned About the Plan B Highway Proposal. They were also involved in organizing the Green Atlantic Expo in 2017. They have brought to PEI an increase in critical understanding of the problems of environmental degradation. They have encouraged those around them to work together to help resolve these issues and they have positively inspired others to take leadership roles.
Category – Group
Trinity United Church Sunday School 2016 Grades 4-6 pledged to stop using plastic water bottles. The children followed through by asking the members of the church to stop using plastic. Styrofoam cups have been replaced with biodegradable cups, jugs of water from the tap and paper cups are now used at public concerts, and take-out dinners are delivered in biodegradable cardboard instead of styrofoam. Real plates are now used at church suppers.
Category – School
Spring Park School’s Grade 4C French Immersion class learned about the problems with single-use plastic containers and other items. They found out spoons that students used to eat their ice cream on Fridays would not decompose and would stay in landfills for thousands of years. They made a commitment to bring reusable utensils with their lunch. They visited other classrooms and encouraged students to bring reusable utensils in their lunch. Their teacher, Mme. Jo-Ann Esseghaier, made a presentation to the teachers at a staff meeting about her class’ goal to make others aware of single-use plastic.
The project has resulted in less plastic spoons being given out by the school. Teachers have also brought in reusable spoons and forks for students when they forget to bring them with their lunch.
As the winner of the Environmental School Challenge, Spring Park School will receive a $3,000-prize for developing this environmental initiative.