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Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund donates $28,000

Foundation and employees contribute to creating a more sustainable and livable environment

The Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund recently donated $28,395 to local environmental community groups for the 2006 season.

The Get Smart Bear Society, the Whistler Fish Stewardship Group, the Pemberton Community Garden, the Village of Pemberton, AWARE and the Slow Food Cycle Sunday are all recipients of donations this year, identified as significantly contributing to bettering the environment in the Sea to Sky corridor.

“We are very pleased to be able to contribute to these worthwhile projects in our community,” said Kathy Jenkins, Whistler Blackcomb’s Environmental Coordinator. “These groups are all making a difference in our quest towards a more sustainable corridor, and we hope that this additional funding will help them reach that goal.”

Funds are raised by Whistler Blackcomb employees, who donate money from their pay cheques. Those monies are then matched by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. Contributing employees have the opportunity to vote and decide which projects they would like to see as the recipients of the donations. Employees are also invited to volunteer to help on projects through the Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team (HIT). HIT works with local groups on the tactical elements of their project, enabling staff to see the results of their donations and participate in the success of the projects.

• $5,000 has been donated to the Get Smart Bear Society to help with the purchase of a bear proof mobile recycling unit to increase the opportunity to recycle correctly, reducing waste from landfills and ensuring the bear population stays healthy and safe.

• $5,445 has been donated to the Whistler Fish Stewardship Group (WFSG) to continue their current stream restoration work and to purchase a camera for their photopoint monitoring program. The WFSG exists to restore the health of Whistler’s watersheds to the utmost potential for fish and people. They have been working on watersheds with community partners since 1996.

• The Pemberton Community Garden has received $2,450 towards infrastructure for the garden which includes a potting and tool shed, picnic table and bear bin. Food production in the community garden creates organic produce benefiting the environment by cutting out the use of chemicals used in growing non organic produce. Eliminating the need to transport the produce also results in zero greenhouse gases usually emitted through transportation.

• The Village of Pemberton has received $3,000 to purchase bear bins for village ‘hot spots.’ By ensuring trash is inaccessible to bears, the health of the bears can be ensured.

• $12,500 has been donated to AWARE for the Upper Soo Legacy Proposal. Working with the First Nations, local community groups, the provincial government and the timber industry, AWARE is attempting to create a legacy wilderness area in the Upper Soo Valley to protect the wildlife and wild lands for future generations.

In addition to these projects, the Slow Food Cycle Sunday is receiving ‘in kind’ donations to help promote the event as well as provide ‘cleaner’ transportation to the second annual Slow Food Cycle Sunday on Aug. 20. The event promotes buying produce locally, and being socially and environmentally responsible.

Established in 2000, the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund works with local environmental programs to create a more sustainable and livable environment to call home by raising awareness and encouraging staff to help contribute.  Since 2000, the Whistler Blackcomb Environment Fund has raised over $135,000 and sponsored 26 community projects.