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Generation Green Award winners

Trikes with cargo bins designed to provide courier services in downtown Vancouver.

May 7, 2011 -- Trikes with cargo bins designed to provide courier services in downtown Vancouver. Kids on bikes picking up organic waste from local businesses to turn into compost for the community. Planting public vegetable gardens and fruit trees along boulevards and on school grounds. A new system to rate the sustainability of your lunch. A contest to reduce the consumption of shark fin soup. Solar panels on school rooftops.

These are a few of the 19 projects, created by children and youth, that won Generation Green Awards at a special event on Saturday May 7 hosted by Vancouver Foundation and attended by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“I'm very impressed by the wide range of projects and entrepreneurial energy,” said Mayor Robertson. “From delivering yard waste and parcels on trikes or bikes, to bringing solar panels to schools, to thinking differently about what we eat at restaurants – these projects demonstrate an incredible level of innovation and creativity.”

The Generation Green Awards is a Vancouver Foundation project that challenged young people, aged 6 to 24, to come up with their best idea for how they would make Vancouver neighbourhoods greener.

“The Foundation wanted to find a special way to celebrate the city’s 125th anniversary,” noted Gord MacDougall, Chair of Vancouver Foundation. “So we decided to do a unique project that engages youth and also helps the city achieve its green goals. What better way to accomplish both goals than by encouraging our young people to let their imaginations go green, and then provide them with funding to implement their idea.”

From more than 110 submissions, the top 19 projects (8 small and 11 big projects) were picked by a jury of youth and environmental experts. Small projects received $1,250 and big projects were awarded up to $12,500. The funds are designed to help the youth implement their ideas.

(A list of the winning projects, with short descriptions of each, is attached at the end of this release.)

Winners will have until October 2011 to complete their project, at which time citizens of Vancouver will be invited to review and select projects they would like to see more of in their neighbourhood.

Mayor Robertson closed the event by challenging the young people in the crowd. "Every generation has its own name. We have had the baby boomers; Generation X and Generation Y. And I am hopeful the youth of today, and particularly the youth of Vancouver, will truly become known as Generation Green. It’s inspiring to see the work they’re putting forward with the Generation Green projects.”

 

For more information:
604.688.2204

 

Project Descriptions

 

Age Group: 18 to 24    Award Amount: $12,500

Shift Delivery Co-op

Thousands of small deliveries  from coffee to catering to office supplies  are made in Vancouver’s downtown core every day often using cars and vans. Five students have created the Shift Delivery Co-op, which will offer greener courier alternatives. They will use trikes outfitted with cargo bins to deliver packages in and around downtown, decreasing carbon emissions and pollution, while also shifting perceptions about sustainable transportation.

Food to Plate: a Shift into Sustainable Eating + Lower Carbon Footprints

For some time there has been “Ocean Wise,” a designation program that enables the public and restaurant patrons to select sustainable seafood. But what about all the other food on the menu? How can diners assess the actual sustainability of their meal? Samantha’s “Food to Plate” rating system will rate restaurants according to their use of local, seasonal, low carbon, organic and certified produce, as well as their affordability, healthiness and labour practices. Restaurants can then use a symbol on their menu to identify their level of sustainability. The project will empower restaurant-goers and provide incentives for sustainable practices.

Urban Food Forest and Remediation

Although there’s a lot of land in the Strathcona neighbourhood that could be used to grow food, much of it has been contaminated through industrial use. A group of youth supported by the Purple Thistle Centre will remediate an unused piece of industrial land and then plant a food forest. They will encourage native species, plant fruit and nut trees and grow medicinal herbs. The project will showcase what is possible in industrial Strathcona. 

First Nations Ethno-cultural Garden Revival

Traditionally, local First Nations had an intimate understanding of native plants and their uses. However, today few First Nations youth have the same level of knowledge. Five students at the Native Education College in Vancouver plan to revitalize the ethno-cultural garden surrounding the college (it was last planted in 1985). They plan to install a water system, enhance soil, add plants and mount plaques that identify the plants and their traditional uses. The garden also aims to help the surrounding community understand more about Aboriginal culture and alleviate stereotypes.

Soup Cooking Contest: Alternatives for Shark Fin Soup

About 38 million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup. Vancouver has the second largest Chinese restaurant industry (by volume) in North America. Claudia Li’s contest will challenge chefs to create shark fin soup alternatives for Chinese banquets. Both a media event and a cooking competition, the contest’s goal is to raise awareness and encourage the significant and historically segregated Chinese-Canadian community to take positive action around shark fin soup and broader environmental issues.

Age Group: 18 to 24    Award Amount: $1,250

Healthy Eaters and Leaders (HEAL) Garden Improvement

At HEAL summer camp, kids help grow food and then incorporate it into their meals. In the process, they learn about healthy eating, food security and environmental stewardship. But usually the garden doesn’t get started until the camp starts, which limits how much they can grow and eat. This award will help the camp coordinator, Anja, start the camp garden early, so kids will get to learn more about gardening and will be able to incorporate more of their own food into their daily snacks and meals.

Food In Our Faces - Public Planters

How can I grow my own food? Fifty planter boxes in high-traffic locations, filled with low-maintenance food-crops, will answer that question for passers-by. The boxes will display information about their contents, uses and maintainance. They will also invite those who pass by to pick, sample, and munch, as well as water, weed, and care for the plants. The boxes will teach about urban farming and the importance of fresh, local, and organic produce.

Age Group: 13 to 17    Award Amount: $12,500

BioCYCLE

Students at David Thompson Secondary are already avid composters. Now they want to get the neighbourhood composting too. Members of the school’s Green Team will pick up compost materials from local restaurants and grocery stores via bicycle, produce compost at the school, and then use it at the school garden and gardens at nearby BC Housing sites.

Run for Sun

Eric Hamber Secondary School sits at one of the highest points in Vancouver, and is perfectly suited to using renewable solar energy. The award will pay for half of the solar panels the school needs to get started. The students also have organized a five km fundraising “Run for Sun” to raise the other half of the funds needed to provide their school with renewable energy.

John Oliver Secondary Community Garden

John Oliver is in a neighbourhood that historically hasn’t had many green initiatives. But six John Oliver students aim to change that by leading their school in building a community garden, greenhouse and farmers’ market, which will help supply the school cafeteria. They will also engage the community by providing space for neighbours to compost and grow their own food.

 

Age Group: 13 to 17    Award Amount: $1,250

Tupper GreenWay Compost & Recycling

Every day, an enormous amount of food scraps from the Tupper Secondary School cafeteria goes to the landfill. With this award, three Grade 11 students will initiate a composting project at their school. The compost produced will be used to fertilize the local greenway and garden areas, and will be sold to generate ongoing funding for the project. The students will also educate peers, staff, parents and neighbours about composting and recycling, and will involve their neighbourhood by placing and maintaining recycling bins along the Tupper Neighbourhood Greenway.

Zero Waste Committee Windermere

The students on Windermere Secondary’s Zero Waste Committee are aiming for a school that produces zero waste. They are also ambitiously targeting their entire neighbourhood to reduce waste. After they supply all the school’s classrooms with a compost bin, the Grade 8-12 students will coordinate bicycle pick up of community compost material from nearby elementary schools, community centres, restaurants, and coffee shops for composting in the school’s industrial-sized compost bin. The goal is to decrease waste in the community and creating compost for school gardens.

Boulevard Veg!

Michelle has a great recipe for encouraging local food security and building community: take 16 planter boxes, plant them with onions, carrots, beets, bush beans and radishes, add urban farming information signage and distribute the boxes on local boulevards. For dessert: a harvest celebration with neighbours
 

Age Group: 6 to 12      Award Amount: $12,500 

Operation Organics

To teach schoolmates and neighbours about waste reduction and organic food production, a Grade 6/7 class at Elsie Roy Elementary School (and their teacher) will grow an organic vegetable and herb garden, initiate a compost program at their school, and create an urban agriculture display for the Roundhouse Community Centre.

Livingstone Green

David Livingston Elementary and the local neighbourhood haven’t had facilities that make it easy to go green. So a group of Grade 5 students will create a recycling center, compost center and garden for both the school and the surrounding community. Then they will be able to recycle food scraps from their hot lunch program, and use money from recycling bottles to fund school projects.

Trading Spaces for Greener Places

Eleven Grade 6 and 7 students at Grandview/¿uuqinak'uuh Elementary Earth School will lead their school in planting an urban orchard and an aboriginal ethno-botanical garden, installing a worm farm and neighbourhood composting station. They will also plant a giant pumpkin patch for a fall harvest celebration.

Age Group: 6 to 12      Award Amount: $1,250      

Fruit Trees for the Future

Many kids are disconnected from the process of growing food. Ten-year-old Keegan and 15 neighbourhood families with young children want to learn about growing their own food and pass their knowledge on to other families. They will plant and maintain four to six fruit trees in their local park, and, of course, help eat and preserve the fruit produced! They will also share what they have learned with other park users.

Beaver Lake Boggers

The “secret bog” near Beaver Lake in Stanley Park  home to sundew plants and salamanders  is under threat from invasive species, among other issues. A group of youth led by 12-year old Maja will map the sensitive area, remove invasive species, and plant native bog plants. They will also educate the public by producing and distributing a poster, creating a blog called “The Bogger,” developing an ID card of the plants and animals, and hosting a “bog walk” led by kids for kids.

Henderson Spirit Garden

Henderson Elementary School is part of a culturally diverse neighbourhood, so students wanted an environmental project that would bring together students, parents and grandparents from all the diverse backgrounds. Their Henderson Spirit Garden will produce berry bushes, sunflowers, carrots, beans, lettuce, corn and squash, while also growing community spirit.

 

Vancouver Foundation helps build more vibrant and resilient communities in BC. We do this by harnessing the gifts of energy, ideas, time, and money of caring citizens to make meaningful and lasting impacts. We are Canada’s largest community foundation and we’ve been investing in communities since 1943.
 

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