City of Burnaby honours members of Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society with Environmental Awards



Note to Reader:

The City of Burnaby Environmental Awards program recognizes contributions made by individuals, groups, organizations and companies to improve Burnaby’s Paul cipywnk (120p) - byrne creek streamkeepers societyenvironment and the understanding of it. The following story was contributed by Paul Cipywynk, President of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society in the City of Burnaby, British Columbia. He writes about two members of his group who received awards in 2011.


Environmental Award Winners

Two of our members were recently recognized by the City of Burnaby in its Environment Awards program. Louise Towell received an Environment Award for Communications, and Denis Boko was awarded an Environmental Star for Community Stewardship. Councillor Dan Johnston made the presentations on behalf of the City.

Louise Towell

Louise Towell is a founder of the award-winning Stream of Dreams Murals Society that delivers a watershed education and community art program nationwide.

Passionate about her community and its environmental health, Louise approached the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers in 1998 following a toxic spill into a local storm drain that wiped out all life in the creek including thousands of fish. Louise and her daughter Chanel were horrified by the kill, and had also long been disturbed by a rubble-filled empty lot at the corner of Kingsway and Edmonds in Burnaby that was surrounded by a chain-link fence. They dreamed of beautifying the neighbourhood while commemorating the kill by installing a mural of thousands of painted wooden salmon on the corner.

With her persistence and dedication, Louise forged a partnership among streamkeepers, various City of Burnaby departments, local schools, firefighters and developers, to secure the necessary permissions, get thousands of wooden fish cut, get them painted by local schoolchildren, and have them installed. From that first project, Stream of Dreams was born, as people and schools began asking “Where’s my local creek?” and “How do I get fish on my fence?” Over ten years later, she is still active with Stream of Dreams, which has reached over 120,000 kids across Canada with its message of the importance of preserving and caring for our local creeks, streams, rivers, and our one interconnected ocean.

Louise rowell receives award from dan johnston

Denis Boko

I first met Denis Boko several years ago when he began volunteering with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society in SE Burnaby, BC. Denis jumped in with both feet, taking part in activities including aquatic invertebrate surveys (bug counts), salmon spawner monitoring, and educational outreach.

Denis is also a key volunteer with the Kaymar Creek Streamkeepers, where he is increasingly taking on a leadership role.

Denis is motivated in his work not only by a passion for the environment, but also by a desire to encourage others to act positively as well. Recognizing a need for more environmental leadership in his neighbourhood, Denis established the Burnaby Urban Forest Group Society in 2009 and has successfully led public stewardship events, grown the group’s membership, and secured funding for projects including invasive plant species removal, planting, and public nature tours.

Denis has excellent technical skills, and he constantly improves these through self-study and his enrolment in BCIT’s Sustainable Resource Management program. He intends to continue as a technician in natural resources after graduation.

Denis boko receives award from dan johnston

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Posted June 2011