Is the environmental message really getting delivered? BurlingtonGreen fights on – Awareness, Advocacy and Action.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 27, 2012  BurlingtonGreen, probably the best run community organization in the city and one with measurable impact, held their Annual General Meeting Thursday evening. There is enough of a surplus on their financial statement to continue doing their job and enough in the way of funds on hand to pay for the work they have in front of them for the next year.

BurlingtonGreen president Ken Woodruff and Secretary Susan Fraser hear the financial report at the BG AGM

The organization has come off an incredible high – the visit Dr. Jane Goodall paid to the city and the two very strong talks she gave; one to a packed Performing Arts Centre where students from 33 high schools in the Region took part in a daylong event.

That evening Dr, Goodall spoke to another audience that included the general public.

Dr. Jane Goodall spoke to two sold out audiences at the Performing Arts Centre – it was the highlight of the year for BurlingtonGreen and the event of a lifetime for a lot of high school students.

Dr. Goodall is probably the first international personality those high school students got a chance to listen to and interact with.  Goodall was always gracious and always prepared to listen to that “one last question”.  Tireless, committed and making a difference, she had an impact on a group of students that will mark their lives forever.

While the Goodall event was a spectacular achievement it is just a part of what the organization does.

The Community garden lots were laid out waiting for clients with seeds. The season turned out to be abundant both for garden lot users and BurlingtonGreen. A second Community Garden in 2013 elsewhere in the city?

The Community Garden saw the light of day earlier in the year and the city saw the fruits of that first harvest.

The BurlingtonGreen Clean Up campaign gets bigger every year.  Now if we can learn NOT to litter the CleanUp may not even be needed.

The EcoClubs continue to grow with participation at every high school in Burlington.

The Clean Up campaign this year was their biggest ever.

All this on a budget that hovers around the $65,000 level.

The group is tireless when it comes to getting their message out, which begs the question – how well are they getting that message out?

During the October event at the Mainway arena where some 400 people listened to an update on where things are with the efforts being made to ensure that there is never a highway through the Escarpment, someone asked how many people had heard Dr. Goodall.  Less than a dozen hands went up.

One would have thought there would be at least 100 hands shooting up into the air.  Is the cross between the environment people and the efforts of the Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition not all but identical? That didn’t seem to be the case which does say something about the way people in this city approach their individual interests.

That observation is not meant to be critical of what BurlingtonGreen has been doing – but is their message burrowing deeply enough into the psyche of the city?  Is there yet more to be done?  Of course the job is never done and in the year ahead BurlingtonGreen will be led by Ken Woodruff, President and Paul Haskins, Susan Fraser, Michael Jones, Chuck Bennett, Leytha Miles and Colin Brock as members of the Board.

Amy Schnurr continues as Executive Director. Michelle Bennett continues as the Go Local Food Network Program Coordinator and Kale Black serves again as the Youth Program Coordinator.


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