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Whistler Blackcomb wins golden eagle award for environmental excellence

Whistler Blackcomb has won the ski industry's top prize for environmental excellence out of a field of 62 applicants from ski resorts across North America.

"This award is for the environment, but is because of people." said Arthur De Jong, Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager for Whistler Blackcomb.

"I couldn’t be more proud of our staff, our guests, and our community.

"Every fall we train thousands of new staff on recycling and waste management, and we've reduced waste by almost 50 per cent since the year 2000. Careful placement of recycling bins means our guests helped us recycle 3,000,000 beverage containers this year. And thanks to community partnerships like adopting The Natural Step Framework, the Habitat Improvement Team, and the Employee Environmental Fund, we are making real progress."

Administered by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the award was presented last weekend at the NSAA National Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Whistler Blackcomb earned the 2005 Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence. NSAA said the ski resort has the most sophisticated and comprehensive Environmental Management System in the industry.

When announcing the award, NSAA cited Whistler Blackcomb's environmental stewardship, which includes: energy savings of 4,138,000 kWh, or 18 percent of overall consumption for the 2003/04 and 2004/05 seasons; dedicating $320,000 for conservation initiatives this season; and reducing waste by more than 540 tonnes per year.

Whistler Blackcomb won a Golden Eagle in 2003 and is a five-time Silver Eagle award winner.

Master kindergarten teacher to speak at Alta Lake School

Marjorie Thatcher has been a kindergarten teacher for 27 years at the Vancouver Waldorf School.

This Saturday, June 4, she will share some of the insights she has gained over the last quarter of a century with interested parents. Thatcher will be speaking at 3 p.m., but parents and prospective students are invited to visit the school open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In her presentation at the Alta Lake School, Thatcher will be addressing parents of preschool and kindergarten-aged children on what the children of today need in early childhood education to be successful in the new millennium. She will explore the growing body of research that supports the position of Waldorf schools that children learn best and should remain in play-oriented preschool/kindergartens until the age of six.

Thatcher has taught in the Associate Early Childhood Program at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California and was a founding member of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America), serving on its board for 15 years. Ms. Thatcher developed the Early Childhood Teacher Training program at the West Coast Institute on Vancouver Island and is currently one of its program directors.

Free rides for grads

The RMOW is offering Whistler grads free bus passes for any two days in June.

The GradPass program is a joint effort of the municipality and the Whistler and Valley Express and is meant as a recognition of the student’s achievements.

The program is a reminder to students that public transit is available as a safe means of transportation during graduation celebrations and for life.

It was developed in Vancouver in 1988 through Counterattack, BC Transit and the school boards.