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We need your votes: Choose the 2013 Community Champions

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

Public voting for finalists opens October 15

Posted by Jacqueline Lambert

Our search for non-profit organizations that are making a positive difference through environmental leadership has now closed. Soon we'll be asking for your help to decide which group will be selected for a chance to win one of five $10,000 conservation awards.

From October 15 to November 15, 2013, visit our website and choose an organization to help them become a Community Champion by voting every day. Particularly inspired by a finalist? Share the video on Facebook and Twitter and encourage your network to vote as well.

Show your support to help fund your school's sustainability project

Students and schools can get involved too.

Starting October 15, B.C. classrooms can support their favourite finalist and share how that organization has inspired them to make a difference. BC Hydro School Programs has developed lesson plans for kindergarten to grade 12 students, which aim to help teachers introduce the concepts of social responsibility and sustainability to students, while getting involved in a conservation project at school.

As part of these lessons, B.C. classrooms can view the 2013 Community Champions finalist videos and choose one non-profit to support. By showing their support online by November 15, 2013, up to 25 classrooms have the chance to receive a $1,000 award for a sustainability project at their school.

Last year's school recipient going strong with community garden

One of the classroom winners last year has put their $1,000 award to good use.

Mr. Wolfe's grade 9 science class, from Matthew McNair Secondary in Richmond, was a recipient of the school-based conservation award last year. The class used the $1,000 dollar reward to transform the school's courtyard from a sterile environment into a biologically diverse habitat. By leveraging the Community Champions grant with a school sustainability fund provided by the Richmond School District, the science class was able to purchase a greenhouse, a solar-powered pond pump for a fish habitat, a rain barrel and many trees, shrubs, herbs and seeds.

The greenhouse allowed the students to grow their own food, including different varieties of tomatoes, peppers and melons, along with many seeds that were later transplanted into the gardens outside. The courtyard has undergone a transformation, from a monoculture of grass into a diverse edible landscape, and has engaged over 100 students, teachers and members of the community. Staff and students pick strawberries daily, as well as harvest garlic, potatoes, onions and zucchinis to send home for dinner.

The Community Champions program was essential to the project and McNair school's Eco-Marlins green team is keeping the momentum going by making it a priority to complete energy audits on all of the classrooms and activities that go on at the school.

mcnair-greenhouse-community-champions-object.jpg

How to get involved

Want some help starting a conservation project at your school? Participating in the Community Champions program is easy:

  1. Starting October 4, teachers can download lesson plans from FirstWave, that connect to curriculum and encourage students to explore what it means to be a champion and how they can work together to take care of the environment. Three unique Monday-morning-ready lessons are available for:
    • Primary: Kindergarten to Grade 3
    • Intermediate: Grades 4 to 7
    • Secondary: Grades 8 to 12
    As part of the lesson plans, classrooms choose a school-based sustainability project they would like to complete.
  2. Between October 15 and November 15, students can view the Community Champion's finalist videos online and as a class choose their favourite finalist. Plus students can vote individually to help their non-profit organization become winners.
  3. Teachers may enter their classroom in the Community Champions program through the online submission form by identifying the finalist they wish to support and describing a school-based conservation project they would like to complete.

Up to 25 classrooms will be selected through a random draw to win $1,000 to be used towards conservation projects at their school. Winners will be announced by December 6, 2013.

To get started, visit our Community Champions website.

Jacqueline Lambert is a web specialist with BC Hydro's digital communications team.