Hats off to the volunteers who made a difference.
It’s been a busy year! And a busy month! And now as Sustainable Orillia Month winds down, we’re proud to salute the great work our volunteers have done from our very beginnings and particularly over this past month. Sustainable Orillia is an active network of over seventy volunteers from all walks of life and all areas of the region. Volunteers who have come together to share their time and talents in the pursuit of long-term sustainability for Orillia.
The majority of Sustainable Orillia’s volunteers participate on one of the six Sector Teams, while others support and contribute with specific skills, like communications or information technology. From the Board of Directors right through the expanding network – everyone is aligned with our overarching goal to protect our way of life and ensure a clean, green environment for future generations.
Volunteering is a part of Orillia’s DNA and our city has been recognized in the past for the engagement of our citizens on a wide range of causes. There’s a lot of human energy at work here, all directed at reducing waste, our reliance on fossil fuels and preserving the sustainability of our environment. Each volunteer brings their own unique perspective, skills and motivation – let’s take a look at some of the folks who have been working on our behalf over the past eighteen months…
Since Audrey Bayens arrived in Orillia about seven years ago we have been the beneficiaries of her considerable marketing expertise, her experience in renewable energy and purposeful social focus on a variety of meaningful initiatives. Audrey is a champion for the Circular Economy and currently serves as the Chair of the Goods and Services Sector Team. As an expert on brand development, Audrey’s great energy and passion has been a catalyst for many productive discussions around Sustainable Orillia’s planning table. Audrey gets things done and just this past week, she successfully coordinated two webinars on the Circular Economy: one as part of our Sustainable Orillia Month series and the other on behalf of the Toronto Chapter of the Circular Economy Club.
They say “if you want something done, give it to a busy man”… and Tim Adamson is certainly a very busy man. After retiring from Enbridge, where he was Manager of Sustainable Energy, Tim has stayed engaged as a consultant. Tim is currently based in Schomberg, however he and his wife are in the process of relocating to Orillia. In fact, Tim already serves on Council’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Tim has provided tremendous support throughout Sustainable Orillia Month. On behalf of the Infrastructure and Energy team, Tim coordinated three webinars, all associated with forms of renewable energy. At the same time, Tim was very involved in the preparation of a grant application on behalf of Sustainable Orillia and in partnership with Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The grant, if approved, will bring tremendous benefits to homeowners across Orillia. Tim sees Sustainable Orillia as a group with a lot of talent and good ideas, contributing towards a sustainable platform that will make Orillia stronger.
As we work our way through the pandemic, like most organizations, Sustainable Orillia is limited in what we can do to maintain momentum and continue to broaden our reach. Which is why a Communications Expert like Kari Klassen is such a valuable member of our volunteer team. Kari, a freelance writer – has always worked in the not for profit sector and brings a rich and diverse background to the team. Kari arrived in Orillia from Saskatchewan a little more than a year ago and created some initial buzz with an article on spring gardening featuring fellow volunteer, Scott Allin. Following that widely read article, one thing led to another and Kari soon joined our Communications Team. Today, Kari oversees our social media platforms and does an amazing job expanding Sustainable Orillia’s messaging and reach across our community.
Zac Waite is the President of the Youth Council. In 2020, he was a full-time student at Twin Lakes and got involved in sustainability causes as a result of an science project in spring 2019. He and school-mate, Luke Parna-Gile developed the award-winning “Just Toss It in a Recycling Bin” concept. When board member John Knapp heard about the project, he approached Zac to join the Education Sector, as well as working directly with the Board as Sustainable Orillia’s Youth Rep. Since then Zac’s role has evolved significantly and he currently serves as Sustainable Orillia’s webmaster, provides IT support, serves as Youth Rep and the President of the Youth Council. That’s a lot of roles for one young person, but perhaps Zac’s most important role is that along with his counterparts from Orillia high schools, Zac truly represents and reminds us of the future and why ‘sustainability’ must be tackled now. (An update from 2021 – as Zac is now midway through his Freshman year at the University of Waterloo. Despite his new challenges, Zac stays in touch and continues as a resource for Youth Council and Webmaster issues.)
Stan Mathewson, Sustainable Orillia’s President sums up this salute to our volunteers with the following thoughts, “Sustainable Orillia, A grass-roots organization like Sustainable Orillia is dependent on volunteers to power the change that we advocate for. Thankfully, our volunteers have given and given over the past eighteen months and so, on behalf of our community, I applaud you for your generousity. Many thanks.”
Our thanks to Audrey, Tim, Robb, Kari and Zac for participating in this article and more broadly, our sincere thanks to all our Sustainable Orillia volunteers. We hope to feature many more of you in the months and years to come. It’s an ever-expanding group with an all-encompassing goal that is nothing less than to keep moving FORWARD and make Orillia a leader among communities in sustainable practices that will protect and enhance our quality of life.