Photo: Our Organizing Director Natasha accepting the award, image provided by Trail Chamber of Commerce

The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce has just released its 2020 Business Excellence Awards and here at the West Kootenay EcoSociety, we are honoured to be Non-Profit of the Year. This award belongs to the amazing team of EcoSociety volunteers, who have been working hard all year and adapting our work to COVID health and safety measures. EcoSociety’s team of dedicated volunteers in Trail, Warfield and Rossland made a big difference in the region this year. Our volunteer team leaders come from different backgrounds and they all believe in a better way to live together: clean and renewable energy, healthy food to eat, clean air to breathe, and clean water to drink for all.

We want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the special volunteers on the team who care deeply about the Trail, Warfield and Rossland community:

Eliot is a longtime team volunteer with EcoSociety. Since COVID, he’s focused his efforts on helping behind the scenes to make it easier to connect with our community. 

Rose is a youth from Rossland who’s been a part of the EcoSociety team for over a year. Rose and seven other EcoSociety team members helped out at the 2020 Chamber business walk to get a sense of how the business community is doing. 

When the anxiety of COVID-19 was fresh and high, Tasha and the rest of the volunteer team members hosted a movie and discussion with community neighbours on actions they can do in their own backyards to build healthier, safer and cleaner communities. 

Evan is one of the youth who participated in EcoSociety’s week-long youth summit this summer through online and socially distanced outside learning. Other youth from Rossland, Trail and the surrounding areas learned how to be leaders, build volunteer teams, and engage in meaningful conversations with their community on the transition to renewable energy. We had as much fun as we could over zoom, and had way more fun when we got together, socially distanced, on the last day at Gyro Park. These inspiring young people are now part of the Trail, Rossland and surrounding area community with new leadership skills, taking volunteerism to a new level.

Throughout this year the EcoSociety team had hundreds of conversations to listen and connect with people we don’t often talk to, people who have different opinions. This deep engagement at the door steps of our neighbours (with personal protective equipment, of course) and on the phone to our fellow residents is key for finding our common ground to move renewable energy solutions forward. Payton from Rossland has been an important part of developing this program.

Local, farm fresh produce has been arriving at the door steps of families in need in Trail and Rossland in the Lower Columbia, along with Castlegar, Nelson and the surrounding areas through our volunteer-led delivery program, Farms to Friends. A dozen volunteer team members get fresh food safely to the doors of our friends in need every Thursday from July until at least the end of December to help during these extra challenging COVID times.  Andrew from Warfield has been delivering food to families since the program began and said, “It’s been a rewarding experience volunteering with the Farms to Friends program over the past 4 1/2 months just because of all the positive feedback and appreciation we get from the community. I’m really hoping that funding for this will continue so we can develop F2F into a permanent example of food security and community collaboration in the West Kootenays.”

This award is recognition for the EcoSociety team volunteers and their hard community work across Trail, Warfield, Rossland and surrounding area. We’re looking forward to continuing to support the team’s leadership in 2021 and beyond to build healthy, safe and strong communities.