Recipients of Stettler and area’s ninth annual Eco Excellence Awards have been announced.
These awards, handed down by the Heartland Beautification Committee, recognize individuals, groups and businesses whose habits or projects help the planet and encourage re-use and item-longevity, noted a release.
The four recipients are Louise Damen, Joanne Pinder, Jan and Bob Richardson, and the Jewel Theatre.
“Louise Damen owns a vehicle but you will rarely see her in it since she walks or rides her bike almost every day,” said Grace Fix, vice-chair of the Heartland Beautification Committee.
“Even when the weather is nasty, she does her best to get to and from work without the use of her car. She is a great example to us all as we change to new habits that pollute less.”
Joanne Pinder has many habits that collectively make a huge difference to the planet.
“She hang dries her clothes outside in the summer and inside in the winter on a 35-year-old rack system. She walks for groceries, using a 40-year-old pull cart,” said Fix. “She also made her own re-usable produce bags from sheer curtain fabric.
“She has taken old clothes and made them into dress-up clothes for her children and grandchildren. She loves to garden; in addition to her backyard herb/salad garden, she has a rural vegetable garden and has recently rented two Community Garden raised beds to garden with her grandchildren.
“And when she has surplus garden produce, she shares with her neighbours. She tries to drive less and walk more, she uses the Library and her habits to keep items in use are exemplary.”
Jan and Bob Richardson always seek out used materials for their home and cabin renovations.
“They prefer to buy gently-used clothing rather than new,” said Fix. “They try to leave their vehicle at home and walk or bike to destinations. They also have a great ‘re-use’ attitude that helps the planet.”
Finally, Rose Chapman and Wendy Rairdan of the Jewel Theatre have worked hard on their ‘Green Jewel Program’ to ensure that everything for use by consumers is eco-friendly.
All concession items are either recyclable or compostable (drink straws, cups, paper trays, food wraps, popcorn bags and garbage bags).
“They will also encourage movie-goers to leave their garbage on specified tables and staff will sort out the compostables and returnables,” said Fix. “Funds from returnables are donated to the Stettler & District Handi-bus Society. All food waste goes to a local farmer to feed chickens and goats.
“They also order local food as much as they can and they order weekly to best manage quantities and reduce food waste. They offer free tap water and do not sell bottled water. And in their kitchen, they are striving for all reusable containers and are very close to eliminating single-use items,” said Fix.
“They also call their efforts a work-in-progress and are focusing on every detail to lessen their impact on the planet.”
The Heartland Beautification Committee normally presents these awards at the Communities in Bloom judges banquet in July but the Communities in Bloom international program is not occurring due to COVID, according to the release.
This year, recipients will be recognized on local media and on social media.
As Fix pointed out, Stettler is indeed a community of eco-friendly thinkers.
Past recipients include ATCO Electric Stettler, Jill Reynolds, Stettler IODE, Stettler Kinettes, Carolyn Victor, Re-Glycol, Superfluity, Candice Magee, Burmac Mechanical, Stettler Elementary Grade four, Noreen Woolsey, Rita Mielke, Tail Creek Greenhouses, County of Stettler Housing Authority, Barry Gitzel, Jennifer and Cale Bennett, Clive Spechko, Christ-King Catholic School, Elmer Gross, Gwen Keith, Stettler Learning Centre, John Philipsen, Consignment Closet, Mark Fox, Superfluity Crafters, Vince Miazga and the Stettler Veterinary Clinic.
In the meantime, other Heartland Beautification Committee projects this year include Planting Memories.
This is a partnership between the Stettler Funeral Home, the Town of Stettler and the Heartland Beautification Committee to build a large addition to an existing tree bed in West Stettler Park where the Stettler Funeral Home can hold an annual planting ceremony in memory of loved ones lost.
“A tree and annual flowers will be planted each year by family members for all to enjoy. Completion is expected in the spring of 2022.”
Also, there is soon to be a solar-powered phone charging station at Downtown Park.
Ongoing programs run the gamut from Community Gardens, Earth Week Clean-up, and Trash 2 Treasure weekends – where residents set their usable but unwanted items on their front lawns for others to take for free.
There is also the Spring Plant Exchange where residents gather on the Saturday before Mother’s Day to leave, take or exchange perennial plants and seeds.
The Repair Café is an annual event to encourage the spirit of repair, said Fix. “Residents bring items to get free help with repair from volunteer experts,” she said. “Past repair categories have included electrical appliances, clothing, knife-sharpening, bicycles, small engines and clock repair. The next one is slated for September.”
Residents can also check out the ‘Where do I Take it? A-Z Guide’ – a guide to where residents can recycle, re-use or responsibly dispose of over 700 items. It is posted on the Town and County web sites and the committee updates it annually.
For complete details on everything the Committee is working on, contact them via email at email@example.com or call 403-742-4411.