May 22, 2006

Finalists, special recipients named for Canadian Environment Awards

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, has been named the 2006 recipient of the Citation of Lifetime Achievement, the top honour in the Canadian Environment Awards program. Watt-Cloutier has worked tirelessly for environmental protection and sustainability for Inuit, and her leadership and influence have been pivotal on key issues such as persistent contaminants and climate change.

In addition, the inaugural Ideas for Life Award will be presented to artist Robert Bateman. This new award recognizes outstanding efforts that increase environmental awareness or the conservation, restoration or sustainability of Canada's environment through excellence in the arts, entertainment or design.

Eighteen finalists have also been selected in the six categories of the Community Awards, the Canadian Environment Awards flagship program. The individuals and grassroots groups were chosen by a panel of environmental leaders from nominations submitted by the Canadian public. The award categories include climate change, conservation, environmental health, restoration and rehabilitation, sustainable living and environmental learning. The finalists in each category are as follows.

Climate change: Alysia Garmulewicz, Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference, New Denver, British Columbia; Scouts Canada, Climate Change Education and Action program, Ottawa; and Claude Villeneuve, activist and teacher, Laterrière, Quebec.

Conservation: Bill Freedman, Nature Conservancy Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia; HÈritage Saint-Bernard, a community-based conservation group in Ch¿teauguay, Quebec; and Wayne Sawchuk, Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, Chetwynd, British Columbia.

Environmental health: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Operation Pesticide Bylaw, Toronto; Families Against Radiation Exposure (FARE), a citizens' group fighting radioactive pollution in Port Hope, Ontario; and Groupe Eco-Action, a Montreal organization that has developed a model for sustainable health-care practices.

Restoration and rehabilitation: Comité de restauration de la riviËre Etchemin, for its salmon restoration project in Saint-Léon-de-Standon, Quebec; Rivière Vivante, dedicated to restoring the Saint Charles River in Quebec; and Ralph Simpson, for the Bur Oak project in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Sustainable living: Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA's Outdoor Centre, an eco-friendly outdoor centre and camp in St Clements, Ontario; Quest Outreach Society's food recovery program in Vancouver; and Nicole Rycroft, for the Markets Initiative, also in Vancouver.

Environmental learning: Comité de valorisation de la rivière Beauport, for its Adopt a River program in Beauport, Quebec; Ruth Foster, for the Centennial School salmon project, in Belcarra, BC; and Paul Hanley, a writer and activist based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Gold and Silver Community Awards winners will be recognized with a cash prize of $5,000 or $2,500, respectively, to donate to the environmental cause of their choice.

The awards, now in their fifth year, will be presented at a ceremony in Vancouver on June 5, officially launching Canadian Environment Week (June 4-10). The Canadian Environment Awards program is a partnership between the federal government and Canadian Geographic Enterprises. It is also supported by 14 Canadian corporations, with Shell Canada as the lead corporate sponsor. More information is available from Diane Chaperon-Lor, 416/653-0849, E-mail chaperonlor@canadiangeographic.ca, or on-line at www.canadiangeographic.ca/cea2006.

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