Giving Tuesday with AWARE

Giving_Tues_FBook_Save_the_DateA day dedicated to giving back around the world, across Canada and in your own community! Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday is the opening day of the giving season. #SeatoSkyGives Donate here.

Our story:

AWARE, Whistler’s environmental charity strives towards a vision of a knowledgeable community that is engaged and empowered to preserve and enhance the environment on which it depends. AWARE was formed in 1989 with the primary intent of bringing recycling to Whistler, but the organization quickly transformed into a key player in safeguarding Whistler’s diverse, local habitats and their species. Today, AWARE continues to protect our wilderness backyard through representing the environment in local land management processes, connecting people with nature through projects and building a sustainable community by empowering individuals to pursue a more sustainable future.

We would like to invite you to be a part of our story.

Get into the spirit of giving – through donating to a charity that helps to enrich the environment on which our mountain culture depends.

Donate here.

Crafty By Nature – A Day of Nature Inspired Community Fun in the Rain!

Crafty by Nature 2015 was made possible by the Community Foundation of Whistler, the Pique Newsmagazine , hard working volunteers and generous local businesses.

CBN Event VolunteersAll the amazing volunteers that made Crafty by Nature 2015 possible!The Whistler Public Library read nature tales to crafty attendees beside the Whistler Museum who led participants on nature walks in and around Rebagliati Park. IMG_3456Egg-less egg and spoon races kept young ones active while being considerate of food and the energy that goes into producing it.  IMG_3446Board member, Paul Girodo and volunteer, Johnny Visser helped participants build houses to shelter the birds and bees of our community. IMG_3448Carefully building homes for our ecological neighbours. IMG_3449 IMG_3452The Whistler Museum showcased the creatures and critters that live and roam in the Whistler valley. IMG_3434AWARE supplied a Zero Waste station to minimize waste production and educate people on why composting and recycling is vital to our future. IMG_3438Thanks to generous tent donations from around the community the much needed rain did not stop Crafty by Nature!IMG_3441Wolfgang Sterr created low impact quinoa cakes for the park to enjoy.

IMG_3443The compassionate cooking demos taught attendees that low impact cooking can be both gentle on the environment and absolutely delicious! IMG_3430Wolfgang with his helper, a young chef in training.

IMG_3431A row of Whistler’s finest non-profit organizations shared the role they play in keeping the Sea to Sky corridor healthy with locals and visitors alike. IMG_3432An extensive array of donated prizes helped Whistler’s environmental charity raise money through raffle ticket sales.


PC: Jeremy Williams

Sea-to-Sky Communities United In Support Of Grizzly Bear Recovery

The District of Squamish has joined neighboring communities in the Sea-to-Sky and resolved to support recovery of the iconic Grizzly Bear. In the past 12 months, the community Councils of Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and Lillooet, plus the Board of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, have all passed Resolutions in support of the recovery of the threatened Grizzly Bear populations in southwest BC. This unanimous support for recovery throughout the entire Sea-to-Sky corridor, indicates the strong value both residents and visitors associate with having grizzly bears in our backcountry.

The District of Squamish resolution reflected those of fellow communities and reiterated local government support for the grizzly bear recovery planning identified in the provincially endorsed 2008 Sea-to-Sky Land and Resource Management Plan. Claire Ruddy of AWARE said: “A substantial, multi-year investment in scientific research on these grizzly bears has been made. Now it’s time to capitalize on this investment and use it to help guide the recovery planning which was formally called for over seven years ago.”

The local government resolutions also recognized that “there are ecological, economic, and spiritual benefits to conserving and recovering grizzly bears including that they are an “umbrella species”, the conservation of which will benefit many other plants, animals and ecosystem values like clean water and recreational opportunities”.

First Nations led the way advocating for Southwest BC’s grizzly bears. The St’at’imc Chiefs Council passed a resolution in 2011 expressing the importance of grizzly bears to their culture and urging necessary recovery actions including the protection of grizzly bear critical habitats, among other things. Since then, Squamish Nation and the Okanagan Nation Alliance have joined them in their calls for progress. The April 15 Squamish Nation Resolution states “That grizzly bear population recovery and management is a Squamish priority to ensure that Stl’lhalem – grizzly bear – will remain, occupy and thrive in its traditional area for all time.”

The resolutions parallel efforts of the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, which is a coalition of local, provincial and First Nation partners (of which AWARE is one), focused on restoring the five ‘threatened’ grizzly bear populations in southwest BC back to ‘viable’ numbers.

Johnny Mikes of the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative highlights: “This confirmation of unanimous local support for keeping grizzly bears on our shared landscape now and for future generations is important. The resolutions reiterate support from local government for grizzly bear recovery outlined in the regional land use plans (LRMPs).” Mikes went on to add  “Safeguarding southwest BC’s Grizzlies is a popular, inexpensive, non-partisan idea. Coast to Cascades is committed to working with the Province on helping these bears in a number of ways, but proper recovery planning is the best way to move forward and its time has clearly come”

Currently it is estimated fewer than 300 grizzly bears roam an area of over 4.5 million hectares, which makes up the five threatened grizzly bear populations of southwest BC.

Individual community resolutions can be found at:


Crafty BY Nature

Join Whistler’s environmental charity AWARE and some of their non-profit friends in Rebagliati Park on Sunday August 30th, 11am-3pm for Crafty BY Nature: a day of nature crafts, live music, food and fun to celebrate our natural environment.

What Will You Find @ Crafty BY Nature:

  • Nature Crafts
  • Interactive Info Booths with Local Non-Profits
  • Bird & Bee House Making (While Kits Last)
  • Low Impact, Compassionate Cooking Demos
  • Nature Displays & Walks
  • Old School Games
  • Live Music

This event has been made possible thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Whistler and Pique Newsmagazine, local businesses and the volunteers who commit their time and energy to making the day a success.

Want to help?
Become a volunteer with Crafty BY Nature.
Sign up to help here:
Take a look at last years event:
delete after

AWARE Volunteers & Regional Recycling Undertake Recycling Raid at SVMF Campsites

AWARE and Regional Recycling teamed up again over the first weekend in August to help the Squamish Valley Music Festival divert recyclables from landfill.  A small army of dedicated waste warriors came out to help with Recycling Raids at the campgrounds.

In all over 100 people came out to help, with staff and raiders dedicating over 660 on-site hours to collecting beverage bottles, cans and containers from four campsites.  Early estimates from Regional Recycling are that we collected over 80,000 beverage containers!

We cannot say thank you enough to all the AWESOME folk who literally ‘mucked-in’ to help over the weekend.  In return for their fantastic efforts the festival organisers gave each volunteer a pass to that evenings show, meaning we had some raiders who joined us just for a day and some who helped out every day! Again Thank You!

In addition to diverting recyclables from the waste stream, our shared efforts resulted in the estimated donation of $6000 to AWARE, meaning a double-whammy for the environment!

Check out some pics from the weekend below:

The simple but effective collection stations regional Recycling set up in each campsite at the Squamish Valley Music Festival.
The simple but effective collection stations Regional Recycling set up in each campsite at the Squamish Valley Music Festival.
Some of our AWESOME Waste Warriors after a Successful Recycling Raid
Some of our AWESOME Waste Warriors after a Successful Recycling Raid
This is how good it feels to volunteer!
This is how good it feels to volunteer!
We can't say thank you enough!
We can’t say thank you enough!
Rocking the Pink - Helly Hansen donated some high-vis vests to help keep us visible.  Beautifully modelled by some of our volunteers!
Rocking the Pink – Helly Hansen donated some high-vis vests to help keep us visible. Beautifully modelled by some of our volunteers!
So Many Solo Cups! - This whole bag of Solo Cups were collected in less than 45 minutes from one campsite - makes you realise how wasteful those flip-cup and beer pong games can be.
So Many Solo Cups! – This whole bag of Solo Cups were collected in less than 45 minutes from one campsite – makes you realise how wasteful those flip-cup and beer pong games can be.
Waste Not Want Not - This was the waste generated from the area around 4 tents!
Waste Not Want Not? – Not So Much – This was the waste generated from the area around 4 tents!  Luckily most people were not so wasteful.
The Big Clean Up - AWARE Volunteers and many others worked hard to clean up the campsites after the campers left.
The Big Clean Up – AWARE Volunteers and many others worked hard to clean up the campsites after the campers left.
Never Doubt What a Small Group of Dedicated People Can Achieve! - As the campers left we were sweeping the campsites for recyclables - this is what we got from just one (of four) sites.
Never Doubt What a Small Group of Dedicated People Can Achieve! – As the campers left we kept sweeping the campsites for recyclables – this is what we got from just one (of four) sites.
photo 3
Another truck filled!


As AWARE is increasingly being asked by Whistler event organisers to help with waste minimisation at events, we were excited to help with the SVMF to see how these mega-scale events are working to combat waste reduction.  What the experience confirmed was that no matter what the scale there are some key areas on which to focus:

  • Education – ensure people know how waste is being managed at that particular event, whether it be colour-coded bags, collection points, etc.  Events are also a great opportunity to communicate broader waste issues to the public
  • Prior Planning – careful planning of infrastructure, tote placement, signage, material purchasing choices, etc. all play a vital part in maximising diversion from events
  • Focus Resources Wisely – waste is traditionally an area that is undervalued.  Managing waste comes at a cost and budgets are often limited.  Focusing attention on your predominant streams is a good start for minimisation.
  • Work Your Way to the Detail – if an event wants to maximise reduction it might need to consider sorting some waste post-consumer.  This means a team goes through the waste to pull out  recyclables, organics, etc.  It requires staffing, budget and a suitable facility, but this is how large corporations and events have successfully maximised diversion from landfill.
  • Empower People  – choices are ours to make.  Waste minimisation starts with re-thinking the way we consume.  Plastic Water bottles & cups have reusable alternatives, as do paper plates and plastic cutlery.  Tents, pillows, sleeping bags, tarps, coolers, camping chairs can be used repeatedly rather than abandoned on a campsite after a weekends use.  We can all work on our own zero waste journeys as together we create the whole.

There is no such place as ‘away’.  When we throw anything away it must go somewhere  ~ Annie Leonard.

FREE — Squamish Valley Music Festival Tickets

SquamDo you love music & hate waste? Join AWARE in helping the SVMF divert recyclables from the landfill and get a FREE ticket(s) to the Fest!

Get a FREE ticket for the same day you complete your volunteer shift on (e.g. help us clean up on Friday and attend the festival for FREE on Friday evening). Shifts finish at 2pm and 6pm, so you don’t have to miss any of your favorite shows. Want to attend the whole festival for free? Volunteer everyday!

*Link deactivated – ALL POSITIONS FILLED. To be added to the waitlist e-mail with the specific day and time you are available  to volunteer (see below for options). Sign up to volunteer at

 Fri, Sat and Sun: 8am-2pm or 12pm-6pm (volunteer during the day, get a wristband for that evening)

 Mon: 9am-3pm (Since there are NO shows on Mon we are paying our Monday cleanup crew $100 each)

 Tickets will be distributed to volunteers at the end of their shift.

A percentage of the return received from the recyclables collected will be awarded to AWARE.

Questions? E-mail:



Haze Of Smoke Reminder Of High Fire Danger

Extended periods of hot dry weather have put the fire danger in our region at an extreme high.  There is a province wide ban on activities that could cause fire such as the use of fireworks, camp fires, etc.


Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

Please look after our homes and that of wildlife by being firesmart as the areas fire crews are also being kept busy with naturally caused forest fires such as those at Boulder Creek in the Upper Lillooet near Pemberton and the Elaho Valley to the south.

July 6th Updates on Boulder Creek and Elaho Fires:

Wildfire News Information Bulletin Boulder Creek July 6

Wildfire News Information Bulletin Elaho July 6


AWARE Zero Waste Stations make a debut at the Whistler Half Marathon

11401449_851071588315539_7086199694940153622_nThe Whistler Half Marathon approached AWARE for assistance increasing their waste segregation and landfill diversion at the fifth annual event. AWARE provided the half marathon with four volunteer run Zero Waste Stations (ZWS), which were set up in the Whistler Olympic Plaza, the starting and finishing point for all racers. Each ZWS contained bins similar to those found at the recycling depots in Whistler and around the province, consisting of: compost, plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, soft plastics and landfill waste. Many station users felt comfortable separating their post run snacks while others welcomed help from the station volunteers. Through providing this ZWS in partnership with Regional Recycling the Half Marathon diverted 66.6% of their waste from the landfill. AWARE looks forward to partnering with the event again next year and further improving upon diversion levels.

11391195_851071731648858_7627668121503510787_nWhile Canadians have been recycling the usual suspects for a while now, compost is new on the scene to many and can cause confusion. One of the most common questions ZWS volunteers get asked is:

“Why divert compost from the landfill, won’t it break down just the same?”

When compost begins to breakdown in a landfill it can be quite troublesome and therefore is very important to keep out. The Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) states, “landfilled organic waste – especially food waste – contributes directly to global warming as the methane generated by rotting organics in landfills is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2 (i.e. vehicle exhaust)”. The moisture generated from excess organics can significantly impact surface and ground water by seeping into the water table. So instead of trapping this valuable resource underground to cause havoc let’s turn it into high quality compost fit to fuel the flora around us and the food we love.

Recycling and composting can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many resources out there to help you, here are a few:

Multimaterial BC – What can be recycled

The Recyling Council of British Columbia – Recyclepedia App

Public Comment Period: Garibaldi At Squamish

Please Note – all content below the line is sourced from

The EAO held an open house to advise the public on changes and updates information.  AWARE was there – please find below the handouts that were made publicly available at that session.


Now is your chance to ensure that Sea-to-Sky community values and public goals are considered in project planning and decision-making.


Share your thoughts on the Garibaldi at Squamish Project.

What is this about?

Garibaldi at Squamish Inc. (Proponent) is proposing to construct and operate an all-seasons destination ski resort at Brohm Ridge near Squamish, BC. The Garibaldi at Squamish Project (proposed Project) would have 23 ski lifts, 124 developed ski trails, two golf courses and both private and commercial accommodations.

The proposed Project is subject to review under British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Act.

The Proponent must obtain an environmental assessment certificate before any work can be undertaken on the proposed Project. On June 10, 2010, the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts made a decision to require additional information from the Proponent after considering the environmental assessment review led by BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).

At this stage of the process, the EAO is inviting comments on the Supplemental Application. Comments will be accepted during a 45-day period between May 8 and June 22, 2015. All written comments received by online form, fax or mail related to the Supplemental Application will be accepted.

How can my contribution make a difference?

The intention of seeking public comments is to ensure that potential effects associated with the additional information in the Supplemental Application are identified for consideration as part of the assessment process.

Public comment invited by online form, mail or fax:

Chris Hamilton, Executive Project Director
Environmental Assessment Office
PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
fax: 250-387-2208


boy dog

AWARE Kids Nature Club Annual Bike Rodeo

This years bike rodeo taught a range of youngsters the importance of riding their bikes and how to be safe while doing it. Kids started the journey with a bike inspection which included a helmet, brake and tire check. Next the  careful use and application of breaks was explored followed by some slalom and figure eight drills. Kids were also taught the importance of dismounting their bikes while crossing the road and how to look all ways at a four way stop.

girl officer

Following the bike portion of the morning the kids participated in a cumulative effects drill where they looked at the importance of trail use and the severe environmental effects that off trail riding can have on the surrounding environment.

cumulative effects

A special thank you to Corporal Chris Dodds and the Whistler RCMP officers for the space and expertise that were provided to make this event happen. The AWARE Kid’s Nature Club would not be possible without the support of the Whistler Public Library, Regional Recycling and the volunteers who run the club.

The AWARE Kid’s Nature Club has been educating local and visiting youth about all things environmental since 2007. The Nature Club is held on the last Sunday of each month, from 10am – 11:30am at the Whistler Public Library.

The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) strives to improve the quality of life in Whistler and surrounding areas, protect and restore the natural heritage and maintain our resources and ecosystems, and achieve environmental sustainability through community education and advocacy.