Saanich recognizes environmental champions in 19th annual Environmental Awards

June 19, 2018

News release 
For immediate release 


Saanich, BC – Last night, Councillor Leif Wergeland, Chair of the Saanich Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee, presented Saanich Environmental Awards to several well-deserving members of the community. 

“Saanich appreciates the community's assistance in submitting nominations for the 19th year of the Saanich Environmental Awards,” said Councillor Wergeland. “These awards are a great opportunity to recognize the many deserving individuals and organizations that play a vital role in protecting the natural environment throughout the District. Protecting our natural environment is essential to maintaining the balance, wellbeing and livability of Saanich’s many diverse communities and neighbourhoods.” 

Awards were presented in the following categories: 

Individual environmental achievement – Audrey Barnes

Audrey Barnes received the Individual Environmental Achievement award in honour of her leadership and volunteer achievements to help protect and restore local ecosystems. Audrey has contributed significant time and leadership with community groups in the Tod Creek Watershed area. She works weekly on restoration projects, especially at Whitehead Park, but including East Lake Park and the native plant garden at Prospect Lake Elementary. In addition, Audrey provides leadership for environmental monitoring initiatives, education, and fundraising and is an environmental steward of her own 5-acre property. 

Volunteer organization – Friends of Bow/Brodrick Parks

The Friends of Bow/Brodick Park were recognized with the Volunteer Organization award for their achievements in restoring and protecting native ecosystems and species at Bow/Brodick Park.  Since 2006, this group of volunteers has invested almost 4800 hours in persistent removal of invasives and replanting of native vegetation in these parks as well as the Feltham Trail. They have worked over a 6-7 hectare area of primarily Garry Oak ecosystems and wetland habitats, including fighting prickly blackberries and their massive root systems with mattocks and shovels. Their work now includes monitoring of a blue-listed plant species and stewardship of installed nest boxes that has resulted in one of the largest wintering population of wood ducks in the region. 

Business – McCall Gardens

McCall Gardens were recognized with the Business Award for their achievements in building a facility that honours and enhances the natural environment in Saanich. After 90 years of service to the Victoria area, McCall Gardens developed a vision of a new facility in the Royal Oak area combining modern technologies with a connection to nature. The facility that was developed is a green building, built in harmony with the creek and natural landscape on the property. Their site includes a rainwater collection system from the roof and parking lot which naturally filters the water before draining into the salmon-bearing Normandy Creek. Native plants fill the gardens, a natural theme is reflected within the facility, bringing nature and a sense of harmony for those dealing with loss. 

Youth – Charlotte Brady, Anastasia Castro, Grace Poole

Youth award winners Charlotte Brady, Anastasia Castro and Grace Poole, were honoured for their achievements and tireless efforts to raise awareness and advocate for banning single-use plastic bags. Over the last 4 years, these students have made presentations and attended Council meetings in the region, led a petition, have spoken publically about the dangers of plastics and micro-plastics in our oceans and have worked on beach clean-ups with the Surfrider Foundation.  The results of their efforts so far have included the adoption of a new bylaw and strategy in the City of Victoria, interest in the initiative around the region and of note, Anastasia was a winner of a National Science fair for her project on plastics. These students have presented to the Saanich Environment and Natural Areas Committee and Saanich Council. They recently spoke to the Vancouver City Council about their efforts in this region, met with the Provincial Environment Minister and are coordinating with two local MPs on a national strategy. 

Biodiversity conservation – Julian Andersen

Julian Anderson received the Biodiversity Conservation Award, honouring his leadership and achievements in protecting and restoring ecosystems, and enhancing biodiversity at Cuthbert Holmes Park. Julian has been a tireless volunteer and advocate for this park since the 1980’s, creating the Friends of Cuthbert Holmes Park in 2005 and serving as the Lead Steward of the park.  He has spent countless hours in the park monitoring, cleaning up, removing invasives, planting native vegetation, preserving fish spawning grounds and native biodiversity. His commitment has included taking UVic’s Restoration of Natural Systems program to increase his work in the park, leading many different groups in restoration activities, partnering with other agencies and community groups and providing public presentations. More recently his work has expanded to include monitoring the impacts of the McKenzie Interchange construction, advocating for the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Sustainability – Linda Geggie

Linda Geggie received the Sustainability award for her leadership and achievements in building sustainable food systems in Saanich.  Linda’s early work led to the establishment of Lifecycles in 1994 and from there the development of a network of organizations providing sustainable food services. This network eventually became the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable to develop healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems in the Capital Region. Linda’s vision and leadership have served this and other local organizations, contributing to many services, initiatives and partnerships. Recently, Linda’s efforts contributed to the development of the Saanich Food and Agriculture Security Plan. 

Long-term achievement – Shelagh Levey

Shelagh Levey received the 2018 Long Term Achievement award, honouring her accomplishments as a leader and educator in protecting the environment in Saanich. As a Gordon Head resident in the 1960’s, Shelagh pioneered the first recycling program in Western Canada, adopted and further expanded by Saanich. As a teacher she led Gordon Head Elementary School to achieve Earth School status through 1000 environmental projects. Over the years Shelagh has led and participated in many community initiatives to protect the environment in Saanich, especially at Prospect Lake and within the Todd Creek Watershed. Currently, Shelagh works on ecological restoration at Sayward Hill Park and dedicates her time as an advocate of local, provincial and national environmental issues. 

Past winners have been involved in projects such as invasive species removal, environmental education, native plant propagation, waste reduction and conservation on private property. Business awards have been given for sustainable developments and energy efficiency programs, among others. 

More information about this year’s recipients is available at                   

In addition to the Saanich Environmental Awards, Saanich Council and the BC Sustainability Association presented: 

BC Sustainable Energy Association’s Cool It! Award - Mr. Allsopp’s Grade 7 class from Glanford Middle School 

This year’s Cool It! award went to Mr. Allsopp’s Grade 7 class from Glanford Middle School. The Cool It! Leadership Challenge provided 17 workshops in Saanich this year to develop and empower young sustainability champions. Following the workshop, students take home a 4-week challenge to work with their families making changes to their energy consumption. Students and families are challenged to initiate life-long behaviour changes, reducing their carbon footprint. Results of the challenge are collected and measured in greenhouse gas reductions. Mr. Allsopp’s Grade 7 class was recognized with this award after completing the most climate actions in Saanich.   Congratulations to all these Grade 7 students. 

More information about BCSEA’s Cool It program:



Media contacts: 

Leif Wergeland, Chair
Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee

Adriane Pollard
Manager of Environmental Services