From left: Elysia Park, Ted Lightfoot and the Nicomekl Enhancement Society (represented by John Hewitt) are the winners of the 12th annual Environmental Hero Awards. Miranda Gathercole Langley Times

Trio honoured for environmental stewardship

Elysia Park, Ted Lightfoot and the Nicomekl Enhancement Society receive Environmental Hero Awards

A new apple tree, planted in the heritage apple grove at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and a bronze plaque will honour a trio who have made significant contributions to the environment in Langley.

On Saturday, June 9, Elysia Park, Ted Lightfoot and the Nicomekl Enhancement Society were announced as the winners of the 12th annual Environmental Hero Awards at an intimate ceremony in the apple grove.

Environmentalist Rhys Griffiths, who passed away in February, was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his work.

READ MORE: Tireless Langley volunteer and environmentalist passes away

Each year the awards, created by Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa, recognize those who are leaders in environmental stewardship in three categories: youth, individual and organization/business.

In addition to the apple tree, the recipients also were also given $500 each to donate to the environmental organization of their choice.

Park, a student at Walnut Grove Secondary, was awarded in the youth category.

She first became involved in environmental initiatives after travelling to Ghana, Africa as a medical volunteer. While there, she was impacted by the large amount of plastic pollution that was inhibiting development.

When she returned to Canada, she became the first junior project manager with the Plastic Bank, an organization that recycles plastics and distributes the profits to people in developing countries.

As part of her advocacy, she led the year-long research project RATO (Researching Acidification and Temperature of the Oceans), which provided visual displays of fish tanks, and gave opportunities for research and other contributions to the environment.

She also won a grand prize of $20,000 for her school through the “Staples Superpower Your School” contest.

READ MORE: Eco-friendly school nets cash award from Staples and Earth Day Canada

Lightfoot was given the award in the individual category for his environmental work over the last 50 years.

He is a steward for protecting the fish habitat and riparian area for Nathan Creek in North Langley, and along with his wife, Lynda, restored the heritage Leaf House in Aldergrove.

Lightfoot formed the West Creek Awareness Group, and has been actively involved with WOLF (Watchers of Langley’s Forests), the Glen Valley Watershed Society, the Langley Field Naturalists and the Langley Environmental Partners Society, of which he is a director.

Last year, Lightfoot built a mobile display trailer depicting beaver habitat and the beaver as a keystone species of Canada. At his own expense, he travelled from Langley to St. John’s, N.L. to bringing awareness to the beaver, its habitat and importance to the history and natural environment of Canada.

READ MORE: A Langley man travels coast-to-coast to honour Canada’s national symbol

In the organization/business category, the Nicomekl Enhancement Society, represented by John Hewitt, was awarded.

Formed in 1991, this organization is 100 per cent volunteer based, and operates a salmon hatchery facility under Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Enhancement Program.

The society takes care of rearing and releasing approximately 300,000 salmon fry and smolts annually (Chinook, Coho and chum) into the Nicomekl River and its tributaries, and works with other community groups, schools and government agencies in maintaining and improving salmon habitat.

Presenting the 2018 awards were the Fort Langley National Historic Site, Langley Environmental Partners Society, Township of Langley, City of Langley, Langley School District and Willowbrook TD Bank.

The Langley Times participated as media sponsor.

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