Some of the Island’s youngest and most experienced environmental leaders are being recognized for their work.
This year’s P.E.I. Environmental Awards recognize people for helping to eliminate single-use plastics that go into landfills as well as protecting the oceans and forests.
Two groups of youngsters received awards — Trinity United Church’s 2016 Sunday School Grade 4-6 class in the group category and Spring Park school’s Grade 4C French immersion class in the school category for educating those around them to eliminate single-use plastic cutlery, bottles and Styrofoam.
Trinity’s Sunday School class asked members of the church to stop using plastic. As a result, Styrofoam cups have been replaced with biodegradable cups and jugs of water from the tap, paper cups are now used at public concerts and take-out dinners are delivered in biodegradable cardboard instead of styrofoam. Real plates are now used at church suppers.
Spring Park’s class found out that the spoons students use to eat their ice cream on Fridays would not decompose and would stay in landfills for thousands of years. They made a commitment to bring reusable utensils with their lunch. Their teacher, Jo-Ann Esseghaier made a presentation to the teachers at a staff meeting about her class’s goal to make others aware of single-use plastics. The project has resulted in fewer plastic spoons being given out by the school. Teachers have also brought in reusable spoons and forks for students when they forget to bring them with their lunch.
As the winner of the environmental school challenge, Spring Park will receive a $3,000 prize for developing this environmental initiative.
Tony Reddin and Marion Copleston were recognized in the individual category. Both have been dedicated to environmental leadership at all levels for more than 35 years.
Reddin and Copleston have organized campaigns with Save Our Seas and Shores, the Gulf Coalition to protect marine ecosystems from oil drilling and the Citizens Concerned About the Plan B Highway Proposal. They were also involved in organizing the Green Atlantic Expo in 2017.
The awards are given annually by the Environmental Advisory Council.