Beauty All Year Round
As the temperatures grow colder and the first snowflakes begin to fall, some may think the local Communities in Bloom committee goes into hibernation, much like some of the lovely plant species native to our region. However, the Wood Buffalo branch of Communities in Bloom is active year round, celebrating the beauty of our region and those who contribute to it.
Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-for-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and through the challenge of a national competition, with a focus of enhancing green spaces in communities. The program promotes the combined involvement and effort by citizens of all ages, the municipal government, local organizations and businesses. The local committee, comprised of volunteers appointed by Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor and Council, tackle a variety of initiatives throughout the year, including the “Nominate Your Neighbour” program which operates in both the summer and winter seasons.
During the summer months “Nominate Your Neighbour” is designed to recognize residents who have gone to special efforts to beautify their properties, enhancing their neighbourhoods and adding to the overall sense of pride in our community. During the winter months this program takes on a decidedly festive feel, with nominations submitted to recognize those who have created elaborate or inspired displays of winter lights and decorations, showing that beautification of properties does not need to be restricted to one season. These recognized properties contribute to the development of a self-guided lights tour, a perfect activity for families to enjoy during the festive holiday season.
This winter season is certain to be an exceptionally busy one for the Communities in Bloom committee given the recent decision from RMWB Mayor and Council to support a bid to host the 2020 National Communities in Bloom Symposium and Awards. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will celebrate its 25th anniversary of amalgamation in that year, and the local Communities in Bloom members felt it was the perfect opportunity to welcome delegates from across the country to enjoy a showcase of the beauty of the Wood Buffalo region, including the local dedication to the achievement of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Hosting a symposium of this magnitude requires years of planning, and the Communities in Bloom committee has already begun to prepare the bid to host the symposium in the hopes of securing this prestigious event in 2020.
In addition to the long term plans, the Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom committee remains active during the winter months preparing for the arrival of spring in the region, including choosing the 2016 Flower of the Year and working on continuing to develop programs such as BAM, the acronym for “Business Ambush”, which is the initiative to beautify local businesses in a “blitz” fashion with the installation of flowers and plants designed to not only enhance the community but encourage neighbouring business owners to pursue their own beautification efforts.
Over the past several years the Communities in Bloom committee has achieved both success and recognition, bringing national judges to the region who have consistently awarded the highest “bloom rating” of 5 blooms for the efforts of local citizens, and in 2014 Wood Buffalo was awarded top honours in the Environmental Achievement Award.
More than just flowers, Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom is active year round, continually seeking new opportunities to showcase our region and communities and encouraging local residents to participate in programs developed to create and instil pride in our efforts to add to the natural beauty of our surrounding boreal forest. From summer flowers to winter lights, Communities in Bloom is dedicated to celebrating both this region and its people every month of the year!