Island Lake with blades of green grass in the front on a nice sunny day

Town presents 2017 Environmental Sustainability Awards

Apr 24, 2017 | General

Several members of the Orangeville community were recipients of the Town’s eighth annual sustainability awards this week. The presentations were made at a meeting of Orangeville Council by Councillor Sylvia Bradley who chairs the Orangeville Sustainability Action Team (OSAT). The awards are presented by Town Council on an annual basis to recognize those who have made a positive environmental contribution to the community. The 2017 Environmental Sustainability Award recipients are:

Business – Metal Head Mike Recycling (Mike Kopoulos)

Metal Head Mike has been collecting scrap metal from business and local residents since 2014.  No pick-up is too small, he and his collogues are always eager to collect anything you have that they can recycle. The small items an individual may simply discard thinking they are insignificant add up very quickly as Metal Head Mike makes his rounds through the area.  Mike and his colleagues are always gracious and thankful for your offering as they complete their humble work of collecting unwanted electronic and metal items.

Group – 4th Orangeville Scouts

Established locally in 1982 (35 years ago) the group’s mission is to develop well-rounded youth who are better prepared for success in the world. There are 100 youth participants and 49 Scouters. They operate three Beaver Scout Colonies, three Cub Scout Packs, and one Scout Troop. 

For the last 17 years, the Scouts have partnered with James Dick Aggregates to plant trees. This is a major project dedicated to improving the environment by contributing to sustainability. For many years, the Scouts have come out en masse to support the Let’s Make Orangeville Shine and the annual Earth Day tree planting event.  Additionally, at some of their weekly meetings they perform park and roadside clean-ups. Their annual bottle drives takes recycling to another level.  At camping ventures, Scouts are taught about no-trace camping and respect for the environment. 

Individual – Paula Thomson

The environmental award for an individual contribution goes to Paula Thomson, also known as Mrs. T where she teaches at Credit Meadows Elementary School. Mrs. Thomson’s class is the only eco-kindergarten class in Orangeville. The kindergarten class learns outdoors largely through nature. The class takes daily walks along the trails learning about plants, animals, science and Mrs. Thomson teaches the children to respect the environment, their surroundings, and each other. The children learn to enjoy the outdoors and how to “unplug”. She was nominated by two formers students, aged 7 and 10.

Youth – Grade 7/8 class of Spencer Avenue Elementary School

Last fall, students started learning about water under the guidance of teacher Tracy Gray. They took a trip to Well #9 and learned about groundwater and how it is filtered. Two engineers were invited to the school to teach the students about the Orangeville moraine, water systems and sodium in the water. They had a video conference with Water Brothers, GUSH came to the school and did a workshop about water systems.

After seeing an article in the local paper about the sodium levels rising in Orangeville, the students knew what their mission was – and that was to educate and make changes. They sent a brochure home to parents and did a follow-up survey. As part of an ongoing project, the students contacted the school board to inquire about the type of salt used in playgrounds and parking lots and discussed alternatives. In March, the students held a World Water Day Assembly which gave them the opportunity to share what they had learned with the school. And finally, the students produced a documentary on water called WaterDoc.

This is a fine example of youth taking charge, leading change, and working with the local community.

photo of recipients of environmental awards in atrium of Town Hall