Monday, March 14, 2011

Upcoming environmental events inspired by former Mayor Jack Leslie

Calgarians are known for their love of athletics and the outdoors. Our love of the outdoors has translated into over 3,000 city parks and green spaces, two of the largest nature reserves in urban centres across North America and more recently the development of 46 community gardens in 2009 with 56 communities looking to start gardens in 2010.

Undeniably, one of the major contributing voices to our municipal green thumb was former mayor, the late Jack Leslie. Jack was an integral leader in the movement to keep a proposed CPR rail line off the edge of the Bow River. As an alderman from 1962 – 1964, he gained some support and much derision for his stance against the proposed river edge rail line and freeway. His eventual win resulted in the city’s Bow River pathway system, the preservation of Prince’s Island Park and the backing to preserve parkland throughout Calgary.

The work Jack did as mayor and alderman has contributed to a thriving downtown core and a legacy of environmental awareness and stewardship. That legacy is carried on by The City through events like the Mayor’s Environment Expo. Every year the expo features a High School Photo Contest, the Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant and up to 60 exhibitors during the weeklong event. The Mayor’s Environment Expo also spawns spinoff events like workshops and speakers, this year it’s Ryan’s Well Foundation.

Previous grant winner, Walter Pang, received the grant to, among other things, improve collaboration between school environment clubs in order to avoid duplicated efforts.  

"Without a doubt, the Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant changed my life. For me, it gave me the confidence I needed to take on bigger environmental projects, such as initiating an environment club network in Calgary called Youth Earth Ambassadors (YEA), which currently involves six green organizations, five high schools and over 250 youth.”

The Mayor’s Environment Expo 2011 is starting its nominations for the Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant, its High School Photo contest and registration for the expo workshops.   

2011 Workshop registration and schedule
Teachers can register for the workshops online, or call 3-1-1 to register by phone. View the 2011 Workshop Schedule.

Jack Leslie Youth Environment Grant: Funding of up to $1000 available for youth environmental projects
This grant recognizes the positive impact Jack Leslie, former Mayor of Calgary made to protecting the environment and encourages Calgary youth to continue his efforts.  Deadline for applications is April 4, 2011. Visit for more details.

High School Photo Contest  
Focus on the environment and win great prizes!
High School students - grab your camera and capture your community, classroom or neighbourhood.  Deadline for submissions is April 22, 2011.  Click here for more details.

To get involved with the expo check out the links and register today.

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