Calling all potential champions: 2013 Community Champions program starts August 15

The Environmental Youth Alliance working on their bee garden at Oak Meadows Park.
The Environmental Youth Alliance working on their bee garden at Oak Meadows Park.

Submit a video for a chance at a $10,000 award

Do you work with a non-profit dedicated to keeping B.C. beautiful? We want to hear about it.

Starting August 15, the BC Hydro Community Champions program is back this year, and we're looking for non-profits focused on supporting sustainability and the environment. By showing British Columbians how they're making a difference, non-profits could earn a $10,000 conservation award.

Community Champions is open to non-profit organizations in British Columbia. To enter, organizations submit a video explaining how they're making a difference in their community in the area of sustainability, conservation or the environment.

Videos from non-profit organizations are accepted August 15 to September 30, 2013, so it's time to start thinking about how to shine in the spotlight. You've only got six weeks to make your case as a 2013 Community Champion.

Find out more and learn how to submit your video starting August 15

Finalists will move on to public voting

From all the video submissions, up to 15 finalists will move on to public voting. You'll need to get your network motivated and share your cause in the community to ensure you gather votes. Three Community Champions will be selected by public voting, and two will be selected by the program judges.

To make sure your organization makes the cut, here's what we're looking for in the video submissions:

  • How your organization contributes to sustainability: Tell us how your organization and project contributes to sustainability and the environment.
  • An energy or electricity focus: Does your project or organization support energy conservation and energy efficiency? This should be clearly communicated in your video.
  • Supporting the community: It's not called Community Champions for nothing. Share how your organization supports and benefits your local community.
  • Quality of your video: Make sure your video clearly identifies your organization and what you do.
  • Youth and school engagement: Your video should explain how your organization engages youth and schools.

Students and schools can get involved too. Starting October 15, B.C. classrooms can support their favourite finalist and share how that non-profit has inspired them to make a difference. Up to 25 classrooms have the chance to receive a $1,000 award for a sustainability project at their school for participating and supporting finalists.

Get inspired by last year's Champions

Kids from North Shore Neighbourhood House are learning about food and agriculture thanks to Community Champions.
Kids from North Shore Neighbourhood House are learning about food and agriculture thanks to Community Champions.

2012 winners putting conservation awards to good use

The winning 2012 Community Champions entries are a great place to start if you're planning to submit a video this year. Each of the successful organizations last year created videos that showed the tremendous work that they were doing for B.C. and the environment.

One year later, our Community Champions have made great progress:

  • The Environmental Youth Alliance planted a massive bee garden at Oak Meadows Park as part of a Nectar Trail initiative that will connect existing gardens at VanDusen Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park with smaller bee gardens along the Ridgeway Bikeway. The new Oak Meadows habitat includes 25 different species and over 250 plants that will attract bees and butterflies from February to September, the entire bloom season.
  • The team from Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) used their conservation award to purchase new equipment and software for public events. New display boards, video software and monitoring cameras are helping MARS to reach over 5,000 people at public events, plus create exciting new videos for their YouTube channel.
  • Over 600 students will be part of North Shore Neighbourhood House and their Fed Up program when it returns this fall. Thanks to their Community Champions conservation award, they've been able to expand and formalize the program to offer volunteer opportunities and educational farm tours to North Shore students. The Fed Up program also creates gardens at local schools, teaching youth how to grow their own food and even cook some of their own meals.
  • The Oyster River Enhancement Society is using their award to harness solar energy and save salmon. That is, using the funds towards the replacement, upgrade and improvement for solar panels that power the incubators for salmon eggs. Their hatchery can hold over 2.5 million salmon eggs, so new solar panels and batteries will be helping to sustain salmon life for years to come.
  • Wildsight used their conservation award to help local communities in the Columbia Basin "love their lakes". Presentations, social media and involvement with local government and regional officials are helping to raise water awareness throughout the basin. Thanks to Community Champions, Wildsight has been able to offer education and information on everything from shoreline management to Canada Water Week.