by Carmen Solana-Martin of the Cochrane Eagle
It isn’t easy being green, but a Redwood Meadows environmental group recently proved that passion and hard work will be rewarded. Audubon International, an environmental organization, gave Sustainable Redwood an Environmental Stewardship Award on February 7.
Sustainable Redwood, an environmental committee, was established by the Townsite of Redwood Meadows’ residents to address sustainability concerns in their community. “This award was in recognition of Sustainable Redwood’s outstanding efforts to foster environmental awareness and stewardship through the Audubon Green Neighbourhoods Program,” said Joanna Nadeau, Audubon International program manager.
The Audubon International Green Neighbourhoods Program helps local environmental groups choose and implement education and improvement projects to help their communities. “We look to improve the environmental practices of communities, educate residents, and reward actions, while making it fun for all who participate,” said Nadeau. “We welcome Redwood Meadows’ commitment to the environment and to managing their neighbourhood with wildlife in mind.”
Sustainable Redwood coordinator Shana Barbour-Welsh said Audubon International gave Redwood Meadows the award for completing three projects this past year in the areas of wildlife habitat protection, water conservation, education and outreach. Sustainable Redwood hosted a native and invasive plant species seminar to educate residents about the important role using native plant species in landscaping plays in protecting local wildlife.
The committee also renovated a small washroom in Redwood House, their community building, by retrofitting fixtures and putting in a low-flow toilet that they use as an example of water conservation for residents.
Each month, Sustainable Redwood hosts the Friday Night Ethical Film Series, showing sustainability-themed documentaries at Redwood House. They also regularly publish articles in Chatter in the Woods, their local newsletter, to educate residents about sustainability.
According to Barbour-Welsh, sustainability is about finding a balance between environmental, economic, social and cultural needs. Sustainability is also about respecting First Nations cultures and their traditional knowledge she said.
Last April 21, during Sustainable Redwood’s Earth Day celebration, respected Tsuu T’ina elder Fred Eagletail was invited to speak to Redwood Meadows residents to share his community’s oral culture of storytelling and cultural beliefs about their relationship with the environment. Eagletail, who was raised by his grandmother, said he enjoyed teaching Redwood Meadows children about the history, language, culture and tradition of his community. “I was glad to tell stories passed down from my granny about nature, our past history and culture,” said Eagletail. “These teachings are about the traditional ways and how we survived as a community.”
Sustainable Redwood will host an open house, during the next Earth Day event to collect information from residents that will be used to guide the committee in choosing and prioritizing projects in 2013. While Barbour-Welsh said the award has lent credibility to her committee’s work, they plan to receive Audubon International’s Neighbourhood for Nature Award by completing five projects in the next year. “We recognize that even though we are from a green community, there is much room for improvement,” she said. “We can strive to become a sustainable neighbourhood.”
Sustainable Redwood meets at Redwood House the first Monday of every month. To get involved contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.