The votes have been tabulated and Green Communities Canada (GCC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 edition of the annual Green Community Awards.  

The awards celebrate individual and organizational excellence in the GCC national network. The 2023 awards were presented at GCC’s Annual General Meeting on June 22.  

Here are the Green Community Award winners for 2023:

Green Community Member of the Year – Saskatchewan Environmental Society

Green Community of the Year Saskatchewan Environmental Society • Helping the people of Saskatchewan meet their needs in sustainable ways for more than 50 years • A reputation for sound science, good management, civility, and an ability to work collaboratively

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) is the 2023 Green Community of the Year. For more than 50 years SES has worked with communities, organizations, businesses, and policy makers to help the people of Saskatchewan live more sustainably. 

SES’s current program areas include sustainable energy and climate solutions, water protection, resource conservation, biodiversity preservation, and the reduction of toxic substances. 

SES has a solid reputation for sound science, good management, civility, and an ability to work collaboratively to promote environmental action and help people meet their needs in sustainable ways. 

Award criteria 

For an organization that demonstrates innovation in programming, partnerships and marketing, and successful local community (businesses, households) or broader transformation (policy, government). 

Environmental Lifetime Achievement Award – Sé Keohane

Lifetime Achievement Sé Keohane, GCC Director of Finance • An integral part of GCC who possesses formidable financial skills and offers sound management advice • Skillfully led GCC through changes in leadership and the complexities of COVID • A mentor who helps create a supportive workplace

Sé Keohane, GCC’s Director of Finance, has been an integral part of GCC for many years, using her formidable financial skills and sound management advice to ensure the organization runs smoothly.  

Sé led GCC through complicated periods of transition, including serving as Acting Executive Director at the start of the pandemic. 

She enthusiastically values and champions the work of colleagues, and has helped create a supportive workplace that demonstrates the value of working in the environmental sector, especially amongst her younger colleagues. 

Award criteria 

For an individual in our Green Communities who demonstrates, through work and achievements, a lifetime contribution to improving the environment and/or climate action in their community (can be staff, board, volunteer). 

Social Equity Award – 2 winners!

Mandy Wilson, EnviroCentre EDI and Reconciliation Lead

Social Equity (2 winners!) Mandy Wilson, EnviroCentre EDI and Reconciliation Lead • Works tirelessly to grow knowledge of reconciliation and EDI, and help staff apply the learnings to project work • Has introduced, and led staff through, programs and activities to increase knowledge

Mandy is recognized for their tireless efforts to grow knowledge and help staff apply their EDI and Reconciliation learnings to project work. 

Over the past year, some of the many initiatives Mandy has undertaken include coordinating a book club focused on Reconciliation; providing EnviroCentre staff with regularly scheduled learning opportunities; formalizing a Land Acknowledgement Policy; and reviewing all organizational policies through an EDI and Reconciliation lens. 

In addition to their work supporting EnviroCentre’s EDI journey, Mandy is an active part of the Pride community and demonstrates the principles of equity and inclusion in their work supporting EnviroCentre’s HR management. 

Reep Green Solutions, Kitchener, ON

Social Equity (2 winners!) Reep Green Solutions • Has taken meaningful steps to address equity and energy poverty • Website updates include energy evaluation information in the top 5 mother-tongue non-official languages spoken in Waterloo Region

Reep Green Solutions has taken meaningful steps to address equity and energy poverty in an effort to make homes more comfortable, affordable and sustainable. 

Recognizing that energy efficiency measures can lower energy bills and alleviate energy poverty, Reep studied how to build equity into a financing program for homeowners upgrading their homes to reduce carbon and published a report detailing the findings. 

Reep also updated its website to include energy information in multiple languages to better reach immigrants. 

Award criteria 

This award is for an organization or individual that has taken meaningful steps and actions to further equity and diversity within their organization, community and/or the sector. 

Outstanding Staff Person Award – Sydney Hennessy, Reep Green Solutions

Outstanding Staff Sydney Hennessy, Reep Green Solutions Energy Programs Coordinator • The backbone that has allowed Reep to train and certify more new energy advisors than any other Green Community • Has the ability to convey complex and overwhelming information in an approachable, digestible manner

As Reep Green Solutions’ Energy Programs Coordinator. Sydney Hennessy is the backbone of Reep’s energy programs. Under Sydney’s leadership, Reep has trained and certified more new Registered Energy Advisors and delivered more EnerGuide evaluations than any other Green Community. 

Sydney possesses an in-depth knowledge of incentive programs and a healthy dose of empathy – two important factors in convincing homeowners to undertake deeper retrofits. 

Award criteria 

For a staff person who has demonstrated the strongest commitment to a Green Community, bringing about positive change and impact to the organization through their work and achievements. 

Youth Engagement Award – Heather Govender, Green Venture

Youth Engagement Heather Govender, Green Venture • Dedicated to developing and enhancing Green Venture’s environmental education programs • Developed mentoring programs for young climate leaders • Created a successful Youth Stewardship and Professional Skills Program

Heather Govender, Green Venture Education Program Manager, takes top honours for Youth Engagement.  

Heather led the development of several new Environmental Education programs and is continually building and fostering relationships to support and improve youth programming. Her work with youth includes developing mentoring programs; advancing an active High School Co-op program and creating a successful Youth Stewardship and Professional Skills program. 

Award criteria 

For a member who excels at engaging youth in programming, not only in school specific programming, but also in camps and other organizational programming. 

Outstanding Board Person – Art Skow, Green Calgary

Outstanding Board Person Art Skow, Green Calgary • Served on the Board for the maximum number of terms, and now mentors new Board members • Helped Green Calgary establish and solidify business relationships • Has an unflappable demeanor and a love for Robert’s Rules of Order

Art Skow’s unflappable demeanour, amazing sense of humour, and love for Robert’s Rules of Order made him an invaluable asset on Green Calgary’s Board of Directors. 

Art helped Green Calgary establish and solidify many business relationships, and guided the organization through some very difficult years, including the pandemic. 

After serving the maximum number of board terms, Art continues to support Green Calgary by mentoring new board members, and as an active member of the Board’s Governance and Risk Committee.

Award criteria 

For a board member who has demonstrated the strongest commitment this year, providing excellent stewardship to the organization through their work and achievements. 

Resilience Awards

Presented to Green Community member organizations that have continued to succeed despite challenges, thanks to a host of qualities including flexibility and adaptation, and have reached a milestone in longevity. 

Windfall Ecology Centre 25 years 

Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance 25 years 

Environment Network 30 years 

Green Calgary 45 years 

Saskatchewan Environmental Society 50+ years 

GCC also recognized staff who have reached significant milestones in their years of service. 

Margret Asmuss, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 5 years 

Hayley Carlson, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 5+ years 

Sherry Rawlyk, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 5+ years 

R.A. (Bob) Halliday, Saskatchewan Environmental Society    5+ years 

Peter Prebble, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 5+ years 

Megan Van Buskirk, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 10+ years 

David Wood, Reep Green Solutions 10 years 

Patrick Gilbride, Reep Green Solutions 11 years 

Ashley Priem, EcoSuperior                      15 years 

Elyse McCann, EnviroCentre 17 years 

Angie Bugg, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 20 years 

Bert Weichel, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 25+ years 

Allyson Brady, Saskatchewan Environmental Society 30+ years 

Congratulations to this year’s winners! Winners receive a certificate and bragging rights for the year. 

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