Cleaner Living With The Fort McMurray Environmental Committee
Fort McMurray is a beautiful place to call home, thanks, in part, to the hard work and dedication of the Fort McMurray Environmental Committee (FMEC).
The FMEC is committed to promoting cleaner living to individuals, industry and businesses throughout the region. Why? Because what we all do today determines how we live tomorrow.
“The committee is a group of local volunteers, who are dedicated to raising environmental awareness throughout the Wood Buffalo region,” says Dawn Booth, president of the Fort McMurray Environment Committee (FMEC), who has been a member since 2008. “Each year we host Fort McMurray Environment Week.”
“FMEC has placed this local initiative in the community decades ago, in correlation with Environment Week, which is celebrated nationwide during the first week of June. Traditionally, we have utilized both weekends surrounding the week for our big events to gain more participation with our festivities and we’ll be doing the same for the planned 2015 events. So, technically, it’s Environment Week… and a few days.”
Raising environmental awareness is something that the FMEC does in different ways.
“We have organized a variety of events throughout E-Week and every year we try to come up with new initiatives to get everyone involved,” Dawn explains. “ Whether it’s through our well-known Household Hazardous Waste & E-Waste Round Up, which encourages residents to help keep our environment free from toxic chemicals, to taking residents on a guided tour to discover our beautiful backcountry, there are many ways to take part. And though this is a week-long celebration, we hope to instill new green-living ideas on to others, so they can be actively conscious throughout the year. Also, we are hoping to host more events outside of the week in the future.”
This group of volunteers is very hands-on when it comes to their environmental commitment. “We get our hands dirty – literally,” Dawn laughs. “With the help from our volunteering residents, sponsors and event partners, some of the events we host include getting out on the trails, roadsides and waterfront areas to pick up garbage. It’s not always easy to encourage people to pick up trash, but the volunteers that come out feel gratified at the end of it. Many have told me that they feel like they’ve done their part by helping our nature get back to its original state.”
She continues, “And the committee itself, it’s a really fun group of people and we welcome new members. Everyone teams up on the event organizing and we all pull together to help one another. With our members both working in the industry and out, we are able to combine our daily lifestyle and career experiences to get the right information, structure and contacts. And that’s where it goes beyond us, everyone in our region is so willing to help us out in the actions. As a result, we have a large list of partners and sponsors who are very willing to celebrate Environment Week with us.”
When asked about Environment Week, Dawn emphasizes that they try to maintain a focus on quality over quantity. “Our list of events are continuously rotating. We have some that we’ve done every year, for as long as I can remember, and others that we decided to withhold from bringing back,” she says.
“We are still planning our 2015 calendar, but some for-sure events include our Household Hazardous Waste Round Up, Adventure Hike, the Abasand Historic Hike, Tower Road Clean-Up and our photography contest. This year’s photo contest theme is “Celebrate Our Nature” and we are making the contest bigger than ever. Another great contest will include a scavenger hunt. We are also working towards bringing back the Clearwater River Clean-Up, which has been on hiatus for a few years. We’ll have all of the finalized events posted online on our website at www.fmec.org.”
Getting the family involved and passionate about caring for the environment goes a long way. We live in a viable region and there are many ways for the people of Fort McMurray to limit waste and practice greener living as individuals in our homes, backyards and neighbourhoods on a daily basis.
“Environment Week is based on the United Nations declaration of World Environment Day,” Dawn explains. “We have the same mission to partner together to encourage caring for the environment by inspiring and educating others to help improve our quality of life for our future generations.”
- FMEC Members Sandra Gilbert, Barry Duncan, Samantha James, Silcar Roache with her daughter Evalina, Dawn Booth and Karen Puga celebrate the end of the 2014 Environment Week at Doug Barnes cabin in June.
- Fort McMurray Environment Committee members join together after the 2014 Adventure Hike & BBQ at Doug Barnes Cabin, where local residents and volunteers joined the committee to walk a guided tour of the Birchwood Trails to learn more its habitat.
- Fort McMurray Environment Week volunteer Terri Noble picks up garbage with dozens of others for the annual 2014 Tower Road Clean-up. This clean-up started on Tower Road in 2009, after FMEC members discovered illegal dumping was a serious issue.
- FMEC Member Karen Puga finds a bed mattress in a pile of illegally dumped garbage on Tower Road in 2013. The trails along the roadside have been littered for many years, with some garbage piles consisting of roof shingles and other industrial materials found deep in the Boreal.
- FMEC Members Silcar Roache and Jessica Wong volunteer at an annual Hazardous Household Hazardous Waste & E-Waste Round Up. The event encourages residents to help keep our environment free from toxic chemicals.
- FMEC Member Chris Beierling drives a response boat on the Snye River during the 2011 Clearwater River Clean-up. This clean-up has been on hiatus for the past two years due to new development surrounding Fort McMurray’s downtown waterfront. The committee is hoping to bring it back for 2015 in a partnership with Borealis Canoe Club.
For more information about the Fort McMurray Environment Committee, their events, or to get involved, visit www.fmec.org.