Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund Awards $378,000 to Ontario
Environmental Projects

    
        22 organizations and schools to benefit from grants funded by
                               Sobeys Ontario
    

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - Ontario will become a little greener thanks to funding from the Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund. Earth Day Canada (EDC) and Sobeys Ontario are pleased to announce the first grant recipients of the Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund. Twenty-two organizations, ranging from grass roots community groups to local schools, will receive funding totaling $378,000 to support environmental initiatives in their community.

"We are delighted by the number and breadth of projects which will be implemented as a result of this funding commitment from Sobeys," said Jed Goldberg, President of Earth Day Canada. "These organizations will benefit the environment and thousands of Ontarians. Hopefully they will inspire and encourage others toward action as well."

Projects receiving funding include environmental education programs for children and youth, the development and expansion of community gardens, and native tree planting and reforestation of conservation areas. Nineteen communities stretching from South Western Ontario, north to Parry Sound and east to Ottawa will benefit from the funding. A complete list of organizations and their projects is available below.

"It is a privilege to award the EDC Community Environment Fund grants to these very worthy organizations and we are indeed inspired by the projects they are about to undertake," said David Jeffs, President Operations, Sobeys Ontario. "When we embarked on this partnership with Earth Day Canada it was with the intent to make a sustained and meaningful difference in our communities and we look forward to working with all these organizations towards this goal."

The Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund was launched in June of this year to provide financial support to community-based environmental initiatives and create opportunities for grassroots not-for-profit organizations and local schools to develop sustainable projects to foster environmental education and action across Ontario. In just three months, 140 applications for funding were received and evaluated based on predetermined criteria by committees consisting of representatives of Earth Day Canada and Sobeys. The Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund will begin accepting applications for the next round of grants November 2 with a February 28, 2010 deadline. For full details, visit www.earthday.ca/envirofund.

About Earth Day Canada

Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004 it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America, for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources, by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education, the world's largest association of environmental educators. In 2008 it was chosen as Canada's "Outstanding Non-profit Organization" by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada. www.earthday.ca

About Sobeys Inc.

Sobeys Inc. is a leading national grocery retailer and food distributor headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX:EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,300 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, Price Chopper and Thrifty Foods, as well as Lawtons Drug Stores. Sobeys Inc. is committed to providing the most worthwhile experience for its customers, employees, franchisees, suppliers and shareholders. For more information on sustainability initiatives at Sobeys please visit www.sobeyscorporate.com.

    
    Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund Grant Recipients
    (October 2009)

    Black Creek Conservation Project, Downsview ON (www.bccp.ca/)
    Project: Downsview Dells Community Environmental Programs
    

The Downsview Dells Program will include tree and shrub planting and control projects for invasive plant species. These projects will increase native plant species, reduce stream bank erosion and improve water quality on the Black Creek. Through a series of hands-on activities, the programs will engage school and community volunteers in the Downsview Dells Park area.

    
    Conservation Halton Foundation, Milton ON (www.conservationhalton.on.ca)
    Project: The Burlington BlueCreeks Project
    

The Burlington BlueCreeks Project will improve the water quality and riparian habitat surrounding Grindstone Creek by engaging the local community through public education and community activities. Activities will include planting of native trees and shrubs, creek cleanups, water quality monitoring, fish migration and habitat enhancement, and the removal of non-native plants.

    
    East Elgin Secondary School Environmental Club, Aylmer ON
    (www.tvdsb.on.ca)
    Project: Environmental Discovery Tour
    

The development of an Environmental Discovery (walking) Tour will consist of five environmentally-themed stations, including a composter, butterfly garden, threatened native tree species, an erosion control garden and a solar powered display. Educational plaques and "Environmental Discovery Cards" will accompany each station.

    
    EcoSource, Mississauga ON (www.ecosource.ca)
    Project: Malton Community Garden
    

The Malton Community Garden space will be the third of its kind in Mississauga, supported by the City of Mississauga and the Multicultural InterAgency Group of Peel (MIAG). This garden project will provide individuals and families in the community with the opportunity to grow their own foods and participate in educational programs. A larger plot, maintained by volunteers, will grow fresh foods for the local food bank.

    
    Eva's Initiatives for Homeless Youth, Toronto ON
    (www.evasinitiatives.com)
    Project: Planting the Seeds of Hope and Independence at Eva's Initiatives
    

Planting the Seeds of Hope and Independence will help homeless youth learn how to plant and maintain produce to feed themselves and other residents of Eva's three shelters. The gardens provide thousands of at-risk youth with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop attitudes and skills which support the adoption of healthy behaviours.

    
    Everdale Environmental Learning Centre, Hillsburgh ON (www.everdale.org)
    Project: Creating a Local Food Culture - Farmers in the Schools
    

Everdale will continue its own hands-on education for students and farmers at the Learning Centre, and will also develop several new Farmers in the Schools workshop units based on new educational and curriculum standards. The goal of the Farmers in the Schools project is to generate a food culture that values the importance of local food and farmers.

FoodCycles, Toronto ON (http://foodcycles.org)

Project: FoodCycles will conduct educational workshops to help empower people to compost and create healthy soil plus grow and cook their own food, including fish, vegetables, honey and other raised foods at their 43 000 square foot market garden and 3,000 square foot heated greenhouse.

    
    Foodshare Toronto, Toronto ON (www.foodshare.net)
    Project: Soil Power
    

Soil Power will establish composting programs in 10 Toronto schools to educate students, educators and families on how to responsibly recycle or compost organic material. Soil Power will also hold community workshops, organize a school composting summit and author a school composting manual to realize their goal. Students will gain opportunities at all stages of the project from the design and construction of compost bins to the leadership of a community-based campaign for composting and environmental stewardship.

    
    Friends of the Rouge Watershed Inc, Scarborough ON (www.frw.ca)
    Project: Habitat Restoration on Priority Rouge Park Sites 2010
    

Habitat Restoration on Priority Rouge Park Sites 2010 will restore the urban wildlands of Rouge Park and the Bob Hunter Memorial Park located in the Greater Toronto Area. Three thousand volunteers from local schools, corporations and the general public will plant native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and seeds; remove invasive plants; and create nesting boxes, ephemeral ponds and wetlands. This project will expand the Carolinian forest habitat, the most endangered habitat type in Canada.

    
    Gamiing Nature Centre, Lindsay ON (www.gamiing.org)
    Project: EcoGuardian Program
    

EcoGuardian is an educational program that will develop a deeper understanding of our ecological impact on the natural world. Designed for students, in alignment with Ontario Curriculum, it will incorporate both on-site and outreach projects, including travelling exhibits, discovery boxes, a puppet show and a touch table tour.

    
    Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Inc, Parry Sound ON (www.gbbr.ca)
    Project: Growing Our Future: Healthy Land, Healthy Community
    

Growing Our Future will double the size of Parry Sound's new Community Garden. The project will increase gardening opportunities in the region by providing free hands-on gardening instruction programs for adults and children. It will also include planting a native wildlife demonstration garden and coordinating a produce drop-off at the local food bank.

    
    Haliburton County Community Co-operative Inc. and Abbey Gardens,
    Haliburton ON (www.haliburtoncooperative.on.ca)
    Project: Haliburton Highlands Community Gardens Enhancement
    

Haliburton Highlands Community Gardens Enhancement will construct 45 raised garden beds in three separate community gardens. The raised beds will allow seniors to garden and will feature good soil to prevent soil borne pests and weeds from affecting the produce. This project will produce higher quality vegetables for a community which primarily imports food due to poor soil in the area.

    
    Hamilton Naturalists' Club, Hamilton ON (www.hamiltonnature.org)
    Project: Monarchs & Milkweed
    

Monarchs & Milkweed will provide hands-on opportunities for local residents to learn about, and take an active role in, creating and enhancing Monarch butterfly habitats. Participants will learn about the lifecycle and intertwined ecological relationship between Monarchs and milkweed by collecting and planting milkweed seeds and transplanting young milkweed plants and other wildflowers. Youth will also raise, tag, and release Monarchs to help increase the population. Youth will help to net some Monarchs and the data collected will assist scientists with additional information about this species at risk.

    
    Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF), Toronto ON
    (www.leaftoronto.org)
    Project: Tree Tenders Stewardship Program
    

LEAF will enhance their current Tree Tenders Stewardship Program to provide volunteers with the opportunity to facilitate hands-on, community-driven urban forest projects of their own. LEAF will also work with volunteers to plant and steward five underutilized sites across the city of Toronto to showcase the benefits of urban forests.

    
    London Regional Children's Museum, London ON
    (www.londonchildrensmuseum.ca)
    Project: Play and Learn Garden
    

The Play and Learn Garden will be an outdoor gallery with a dual focus on environmental education and physical activity. The green space will be home to new environmental and science education programs, hands-on opportunities for children to care for vegetation and guest demonstrations. The design includes a water play feature, a seasonable vegetable garden, walking paths, native plants and active games.

    
    Lower Trent Conservation, Trenton ON (www.ltc.on.ca)
    Project: Oak Savannah Restoration
    

Lower Trent Conservation is restoring globally rare Oak Savannah habitat through prescribed burns in three areas within its jurisdiction. A major goal of the project is to reintroduce native prairie grasses as a part of the Oak Savannah's defining flora, as well as the native blue lupine, the food source of the extirpated Karner Blue Butterfly.

    
    Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre, Kitchener ON
    (www.ourplacekw.ca)
    Project: Our Outdoor Learning Environment
    

Our Outdoor Learning Environment will provide expanded learning opportunities for children during all seasons and allow for the exploration of nature, discovery and science in a safe, clean and outdoor environment. The space's education and community focus will be accessible to all families.

    
    Plenty Canada, Lanark ON (www.plentycanada.com)
    Project: Sharing Our Traditions for a Healthy Mother Earth
    

Sharing Our Traditions for a Healthy Mother Earth will focus on developing a greater understanding of biodiversity through Indigenous traditional knowledge and western science. This public and community action education project will expand and restore wild rice in three areas of Southern Ontario and develop a strategic plan to recover the American Eel.

    
    Pretty River Academy, Collingwood ON (www.prettyriveracademy.com)
    Project: Outdoor Learning Classroom
    

The Outdoor Learning Classroom will be used to address a variety of subject matters and will remain open to all schools, community groups and individuals to use as a resource. The classroom will be located on the shores of a wetland and will include interpretive signage to enhance students' understanding of environmental ecosystems and issues.

    
    Projet Karyne and Gisèle-Lalonde Public High School, Ottawa ON
    (www.projetkaryne.org) (www.gisele-lalonde.cepeo.on.ca)
    Project: Solar Greenhouse Classroom
    

Development of the Solar Greenhouse Classroom, phase three of Projet Karyne, will be a self-sufficient solar greenhouse that grows various plants and demonstrates a number of sustainable building elements. The greenhouse will serve as an indoor classroom for a number of classes such as biology, physics and geography. Produce grown in the greenhouse will be donated to local charities.

    
    Scott Young Public School, Omemee ON
    Project: Ecosystem 2000
    

Ecosystem 2000, a large scale planting project as part of the schools education programming, will educate students and the community on issues of land use, stewardship, habitat restoration and environmental awareness. During the winter, students will study ecology concepts and in the fall and spring they will have the opportunity to use their knowledge in helping to plant and maintain native species.

    
    Toronto United Church Council and Green Awakening Network, Richmond Hill
    ON (www.tucc.ca)
    Project: The Green Awakening Network--Communities in Action Program
    

The Green Awakening Network--Communities in Action Program will help congregations live more lightly on Earth and build a commitment toward healthy stewardship. The Green Awakening Network will use local churches within Toronto for teaching demonstrations to retrofit buildings and promote personal action to minimize their environmental footprint.

SOURCE Sobeys Inc.

For further information: For further information: Keith Treffry, Director, Communications, Earth Day Canada, (416) 599-1991 x 107 keith@earthday.ca; Tracy Chisholm, Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Sobeys Ontario, (905) 671-5308, Tracy.chisholm@sobeys.com


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