Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake is typically home to many popular programs in the summer months. (Angie Mindus file photo)

DOWN TO EARTH: CCCS recipients of recycle environmental award

With this award, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go over the people behind our programs

This is an article where I get to brag about the Conservation Society, which is uncomfortable for someone raised in England in a certain era, when bragging was considered vulgar and one of the worst of sins.

Maybe I can reframe it as ‘celebrating’ the Conservation Society, which somehow sounds much more acceptable.

Anyway, here goes …

Last week, CCCS received a lovely e-mail announcing we were the recipients of the 2020 RCBC Environmental Award in the non-profit category. The Recycling Council of BC is the charitable organization with the goal of facilitating the exchange of information to work towards a zero waste province. We were thrilled to be recognized and applauded for our programs and work so far. Given the current times, there was an online awards ceremony, which two CCCS staff attended.

With this award, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go over the people behind our programs. Mary Forbes and Oliver Berger are the visible side of Waste Wise. They are the ones you will see most often in classes, at public events (remember those days?) and currently on ‘Trash Talking Tuesdays,’ the video series they have been putting out on the CCCS face book page. My role is mostly running the Water Wise programs in the schools as well as some administration. As with any organization, to keep the visible people going, there are the behind-the-scenes ‘do-ers,’ making it all happen. In our case, that is Amber Gregg in the office, applying and reporting on grants, taking care of the finances and generally co-ordinating the rest of us.

Brianna Van de Wijngaard also spends lots of her time on the computer, keeping our social media and website current but also covers some community Water Wise work and is integral to our ‘big’ events, such as the annual Earth Friendly event and clothing swaps. We are all part-time, so you will also come across us in other roles in the community. Most of us have worked together at the CCCS for many years now and have a complementary set of strengths that makes the organization work well as a whole, with the support and encouragement of a wonderful Board.

To get to the place that CCCS is at now has taken many effective people along the way. I want to recognize Diana French as one of the early founders of CCCS and having the initial vision. Marg Evans ran the organization for many years, establishing the current partnerships we have with the City of Williams Lake and the CRD and starting the Water Wise and Waste Wise programs. There have been co-workers along the way who have left their own stamp on our materials, programs and directions, or tightened up the administrative side of things (thanks Vanessa!). We have also been grateful to have the City of Williams Lake, the CRD, grant funders, the schools, the general community and other local non-profits that have helped Water Wise and Waste Wise flourish in our region.

So credit for this award also goes to all of you out there and we look forward to continuing our work in the community and schools as we look for new COVID-friendly ways to deliver our programs.

Water Wise tip: To test if your lawn needs watering, step on it. If it bounces back, it is fine!

For more information on Water Wise or Waste Wise and any of our school and community programs, contact the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at or visit the website at

Jenny Howell is the water wise instructor and the executive director of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

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