The 2015 Langley Environmental Heroes were honoured on Saturday in Fort Langley.
MP Mark Warawa joined members of the 2015 Langley Environmental Hero nominations committee to recognize this year’s Environmental Heroes with the planting of a heritage apple tree at Fort Langley National Historic Site. A bronze plaque will be cemented this summer near the newly-planted tree to mark their outstanding contributions.
This year’s winners are Marlee St. Pierre in the individual category; Aubree and Gavin Selinger in the youth category and the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group in the business/ organization category.
The awards began in 2006 as a way to recognize Langley’s grassroots efforts, big and small, to protect the environment.
It quickly became clear that environmental stewardship in Langley is an issue which people are passionate about.
“It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land that we are so fortunate to live in. Thank you to all Langley residents who take pride in our community by working to protect the environment,” said Warawa.
In a new development, nominations will now be accepted year-round.
Individual winner St. Pierre has worked to preserve the Yorkson Creek watershed, and for the past 10 years, has organized the Young Naturalists afterschool program at James Kennedy Elementary School, which teaches children about nature. St. Pierre has also organized many positive environmental activities at the school, including litterless lunches, Earth Day awareness, and the planting of native tree and shrub species on the school’s grounds.
Gavin and his sister Aubree, aged six and four, won in the youth category for caring for the environment through picking up garbage on their street. Gavin and his sister Aubree, aged 6 and 4, won in the youth category for caring for the environment through picking up garbage on their street. Every week, Gavin and Aubree are excited to put on their special vests and get out their garbage pickers. There have been times when neighbours would “drop” loonies in the grass for the children to find among the garbage. Adopting their street by regularly picking up bottles and trash has taught the children about the importance of a clean neighbourhood, taking pride in their community, and caring for the earth.
Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group has embarked on a number of initiatives in Kwantlen First Nation territory to enhance and bring awareness to local species at risk and critical habitats. Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group won for their commitment to environmental stewardship. This organization has conducted studies and awareness campaigns to raise the profile of two at-risk species: the Salish Sucker and the Eulachon. Seyem’ Qwantlen also initiated a study on the Western Painted Turtles in the lower Stave region, and hosted Walking Tours last summer to educate local community members about the sensitive ecology of Fort Langley. Seyem’ Qwantlen is dedicated to environmental stewardship and aims to lead by example.
Each winner took the time to share their thoughts on the importance of preserving the environment. Gavin and Aubree spoke about the importance of cleaning up garbage to the environment.
“All the garbage on the ground is not good for the earth, cleaning it helps the earth and keeps it happy,” said Gavin. “Cleaning up garbage helps the animals on the earth,” Aubree added.
Ashley Doyle, representing Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, said: “Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group has embarked on a number of initiatives in Kwantlen First Nation Territory, including the Township of Langley, that enhance and bring awareness to local species at risk and critical habitats. We will continue with work that protects our environment for the benefit of all people living in Langley and for our future generations. She was joined by a councillor and elders of Kwantlen First Nation.
St. Pierre, winner of the Individual category, said: “The clean, wild streams and forests of Langley are of vital importance to our quality of life and the existence of wild animals, like salmon. They are also an essential part of biodiversity and our cultural heritage. I am driven to do what I can in my daily life — at home and as a teacher — to make sure our environment will be there for the enjoyment of my family and for all of Langley’s children, both now and for the future.”
Partners in the environmental heroes awards are MP Warawa, the Township of Langley; Langley Environmental Partners; Fort Langley National Historic Park; TD Canada Trust and The Times.
Following a nomination process, the Environmental Heroes were chosen by a nominations committee, made of representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations: Sarah Atherton, Interim Executive Director of Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS); Mike Starr, Manager of Visitor Services at Ft. Langley National Historic Site of Canada; Frank Bucholtz, Editor of The Langley Times; Gary Aulakh, TD Canada Trust Branch Manager (Willowbrook branch); Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese; and Langley Member of Parliament Mark Warawa.
At the ceremony, Stephen Dicks, Acting Manager, represented Fort Langley National Historic Site, Sarah Scuor, Manager of Financial Services, represented TD Canada Trust; and Councillor Charlie Fox represented the Township of Langley as Acting Mayor.
For more details about all the nominees, see