FOF hosted its first CARE Pitch Party & Fundraiser October 19th at the Okanagan Science Centre. It was packed and was great fun for all, including Thrift Stars Fashion Show models Marco Longley as a ‘70s disco king, Liam Stamile and Yvonne Fiala as secret agents, and Rhiannon Johnson and Barry Dorval celebrating their Thriftarian vows. Mikaela Cannon and her children took booth props to a whole new level with their tree costumes in support of the Armstrong/Spallumcheen Climate Group.
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as blueprints “to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” Three years later, the City of Vernon established a Climate Action Advisory Committee to help create a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that, by 2050, would see Vernon as “a leader in climate action, with no net greenhouse gas emissions, and resilient to the changing climate.”
Vernon’s CAP outlines eight key areas of focus for community climate action: Health & Well-Being, Core Services & Infrastructure, Governance, Land Use & Transportation, Ecosystem Health & Biodiversity, Buildings & Real Estate, Economic Development, and Agriculture & Food Security. Adopted by council in 2021, the plan received a 2022 Planning Institute of BC Gold award for Excellence in Policy Planning, Small Town & Rural Communities.
Here's How We CARE
FOF founder and CEO partnered with School District 22 teacher Al Gee to present CARE information to members of the Independent Schools Association of BC. If you’re interested in learning more about how you could introduce CARE to your community, check out this video of our presentation.
Vernon Youth Climate Action Projects & Summit
In spring 2022, more than 120 senior high students from four area high schools worked in small teams to create climate-action projects in support of the City’s CAP and UN SDGs. Projects focused on diverse topics ranging from beekeeping and hydroponics to a solar-powered windmill and a solar power plan for a Vernon high school.
Students and their projects were celebrated by about 250 teachers, students, speakers, judges, and community guests at the Vernon Youth Climate Action Summit, which was designed and delivered by the Students Without Borders Academy with FOF guidance. The event also featured inspirational stories from youth activist speakers Lilah Williamson (co-founder of Sustainabiliteens), Brady Roger (co-founder of The Rogerie), and social worker Jocelyn Lynett (co-founder of Kelowna Climate Café), who talked about climate activism, climate justice, green entrepreneurship, and practical tips to manage eco-anxiety.
Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE)
Rebranded as CARE for the 2022 fall semester, the project grew to include more than 160 students from grades 7-12 who created 42 climate-action projects displayed and judged at the CARE Summit December 2022. This event drew in more than 300 attendees.
Lessons learned by the planning team during the spring semester prompted development of a CARE mentor program, where 35 local climate-action experts and advocates from all sectors supported students during project development. This provided many benefits, including intergenerational and cross-cultural communication and collaboration, better research outcomes, improved project deliverables, and stronger community impact.
CARE also introduced diverse project categories to expand students’ understanding of climate change’s broad and deep impacts. These included Nature & Biodiversity, Agriculture & Food, Energy & Buildings, Waste Reduction, Active Transportation, and Community Resilience.
These categories and potential mentors were introduced at the CARE Kick-Off event hosted by Seaton Secondary School in its gymnasium. Soon thereafter, FOF visited all participating classes to coach students on community sustainability, community engagement (a project requirement), project and display design and development, and public speaking.
The resulting projects ranged from salmon-habitat restoration, to pollinator education in elementary school classrooms, to waste-reduction videos for immigrants, to a solar-powered hot water heater, and the creation of CARE Botanicals from local invasive plant species.
CARE also brought a website, teacher, and student resources, along with strong media coverage and increased support from local sponsors and prize donors.
FOF is again collaborating with School District 22 and other major sponsors and in-kind contributors to prepare for the next round of CARE projects and a summit in the spring of 2024.
Once strategies and schedules are set, we’ll be reaching out for support from community climate leaders, local businesses, and potential mentors. Contact us to get a jump start on participating!
Be the CHANGE!
Lend a HAND!
Show You CARE!
CARE Community Engagement in Action
CARE BOTANICALS were crafted by Fulton Secondary students Victoria Rush (left), Camryn Mackiewich, and Evangeline Schiehl. With mentor Norbert Maertens (North Okanagan Naturalists Club), they harvested invasive plants to make healing salves and teas that were showcased at the CARE Summit. They won first in the Nature & Biodiversity category and the Students’ Choice Award.
Camryn says, “CARE was a wonderful opportunity for me to dive into topics about climate action that interested me, as well as allowing me to meet others with similar interests. It was inspiring for me to see the community come together to celebrate everyone’s hard work and bring more awareness to what challenges our community and planet are facing due to climate change.”
Norbert says, “Mentoring students gave me a renewed sense of hope, but also gave them a sense of meaning and purpose in a time of confusion and superficiality.”
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY was a research project undertaken by Cole Kopera (right) and Pimi Demiri from Seaton Secondary with guidance from mentor Darren Murray (left), environmental coordinator for Regional District of North Okanagan. Students learned what the circular economy is and how it can support waste reduction and climate change mitigation. They investigated local examples and reached out to these organizations to learn about their initiatives.
Cole says, “It was definitely a good experience. I got to develop my presentation skills and learn all sorts of things. I think many students, including myself, appreciated the opportunity to do some learning outside of the classroom.”
Darren says, “It was inspiring to participate as a judge and mentor for CARE in 2022. The events were very engaging and well organized. The creative student project ideas and presentations showed that there are many ways to make positive contributions to address climate change, many of which are fun and deeply rewarding!”