2019 Award Winners

Individual Environmental Achievement
Harry Drage

Harry is receiving the individual environmental achievement award in honour of his leadership for the environmental stewardship of Haro Woods and Konukson Park. Harry was a leading force for the ecological restoration of Haro Woods, inspiring many volunteers to join the project. He then became lead steward for the last 15 years, restoring the ecosystems of Konukson Park with a large team of volunteers - twice a week, year-round. Leading thousands of hours of volunteer contribution, Konukson Park has been transformed through dedication and methodic work. Harry’s commitment has included applying for grants, supporting students and research, being an advocate for the park, engaging and leading community volunteers and inspiring the neighbourhood with the preservation of these natural areas.

Honourable Mention: Prospect Lake Elementary (teachers - led by Laurel Evans, Jane Schwann and Anita Ko) - for their commitment to creating opportunities for students to learn through nature and become stewards of the natural environment.

Volunteer Organization
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team

The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) is being recognized for their volunteer achievements in protecting and restoring Garry Oak ecosystems in Saanich and beyond. This team has worked with many partners, including Saanich, to protect and restore remaining rare Garry Oak ecosystems in Saanich – including local parks and private lands. Garry Oak ecosystems are one of the most endangered and biodiverse ecosystems in Canada and a very special part of the Saanich landscape. GOERT has developed partnerships and important tools invaluable to supporting restoration, stewardship, research and the protection of local biodiversity.

MAC Renovations

MAC Renovations is receiving the business award for their leadership in energy efficiency and implementing the Step Code. This Saanich business trained staff and used the Step Code in their work before it became a requirement. They rebuilt their new West Saanich Road office to a step 4 level, serving as a model for the important Step Code initiative to create net-zero energy ready buildings. Their renovation included a building seal approach, heat pump system, 50-year metal roof, high efficiency doors and windows, on-demand water heaters, vehicle charging stations, showers to support staff to ride or jog to work, prewiring for solar and a wastewater treatment system. MAC Renovations have focused their work on building sustainability and provide education grants to all employees every year to promote their professional development.

10th Garry Oak Scouts

The 10th Garry Oak Scouts are being recognized with this year’s Youth award for their commitment to hands-on environmental stewardship in Saanich Parks. The leaders and youth have been committed to actively supporting ecological restoration, such as helping to plant hundreds of native trees and working hard to remove invasive species in a number of parks. The 10th Garry Oak Scouts were instrumental in the ecological restoration of the new Lindsay Trail project on the Colquitz River near Royal Oak and have also helped build and install bird boxes in Saanich Parks. The Scouts’ active environmental stewardship helps to protect and restore local ecosystems for the benefit of all and instills life-long values of community participation and environmental action.

Biodiversity Conservation
Oluna and Adolf Ceska

Oluna and Adolf Ceska are being recognized with the 2019 Biodiversity Conservation award for their signficant scientific research on fungi at Observatory Hill in Saanich. Without financial support, their research on Observatory Hill has become a lifetime project, documenting and studying the fungi and ecosystem relationships over this 185 acre site of rare Garry Oak and Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems. Their work has supported the work of other scientists across the province and their long-term, detailed study, will provide a benchmark to understanding the impacts of climate change. Principal research Oluna, with the support of her botanist husband Adolf, have categorized, classified and discovered over 1,400 species of fungi on the site, described by Professor Joseph Ammerati of the University of Washington as “the longest, most detailed biodiversity study in North America”.

Honourable Mention: Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) - for their programs enhancing wildlife habitat and protecting biodiversity in Saanich.

Dean Murdock

Dean Murdock, former Saanich Councillor, is being honoured for his leadership in local food security, alternative transportation, and environmental stewardship. Sustainability is about integrating environmental, social, and economic values and Dean showed a remarkable ability to pursue all of these things at once in a meaningful and productive manner. Whether it was getting people out of cars, into fields, or away from oil tanks, Dean helped to bring people on board with his enthusiasm, knowledge and leadership.

Long Term Achievement
Mary Haig-Brown

Mary Haig-Brown is being recognized for her long-term achievement as a leader in nature conservation and education in the Prospect Lake/Tod Creek Watershed where she has volunteer extensively over the last 40 years. Mary has been involved with and led countless initiatives in the community and with partners including: studies and management plans for the area, the formation of the Friends of Tod Creek Watershed, working with students from elementary to post-secondary, serving with community groups such as Peninsula Streams, Habitat Acquisition Trust and for the last 8 years as a member of the Saanich Saanich Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee. In her letter of support for Mary, MLA Lana Popham noted: “even with the hours of work, planning, weed-pulling and advocating, perhaps the richest gift that Ms. Haig-Brown has bestowed upon the people of Saanich is the mentorship she offers to young and old alike.”

Summary of Past Winners

Environmental Award Winners 2000-2019