Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

We think green sustainable practices are worth bragging about. Check out these local residents, groups and businesses that are leading the way with their green, sustainable values, practices, and initiatives. 


Inspiring individuals:

“I love volunteering with Burlington Green!

I say and write this a lot on social media because I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer for a cause I believe in. I have learned and grown so much since I started.

On November 21st, 2017 after seeing a Facebook event, I purchased tickets for my mom and I to attend the David Suzuki event. Here, I met BurlingtonGreen’s team member Kale Black, he was renewing his membership and I thought today is a good day to join, so I signed up and became a member. His kind-heartedness, compassionate personality and his passion for the environment convinced me.

The more I got involved and learned about the global impact through watching documentaries, attending BG outreach events and film nights; the more my awareness and perspective grew. I gained understanding from the committees I volunteer on.

I was one of those people that thought, “Oh, it’s recyclable, that’s good, right?” I learned even recycling has a cost. The more I learned during my experiences with BurlingtonGreen the more I saw the true cost and impact on what I do has on the environment.

My family has told me on several occasions “Ok, Jaclyn, you are taking this environment stuff too far.” Giving gentle reminders about composting and reducing plastic consumption is not taking it too far.

On several occasions, I have volunteered with BurlingtonGreen at Burlington Centre and the sculpture of the cardboard earth was beautiful. I was feeling inspired by the lovely messages and interactions with people stopping by the booth to write a message to the earth on a puzzle piece. Interactions and conversations with the community is advocacy in action.

Another one of my passions is knitting, it brings me so much joy. I now combine both passions for the environment and knitting to create hats, animals, and other exciting projects and donate them to be sold on behalf of BurlingtonGreen. It feels amazing to support an organization dedicated and passionate about the environment.

Volunteering has been moving, therapeutic, enlightening and empowering. The friends I have made during this experience have been a blessing in my life.”



“I have always disliked grass. Even as a toddler, I hated the feeling of it on my bare feet. As an informed, active environmentalist, grass represents a missed opportunity. What’s the purpose of grass? It doesn’t soak up much rain water, you can’t eat it, and it doesn’t create much habitat.

What if we replaced our front lawns with fruits and vegetable gardens? Or with pollinator friendly plants? Or with a rain garden? They would be a lot prettier and PURPOSEFUL.

When I moved into my first home as an adult, I wanted my property to become a stormwater collecting, pollinator feeding achievement. Little by little, I work every summer to rip up more grass and plant resilient native plants. There’s no better feeling than seeing a bee or butterfly pollinating a plant you put in the ground. Some nights I sit on my porch, looking at my grass and picture myself tearing out every last blade. Is this what being an adult is?

Plants have become an important piece of my efforts towards a more sustainable world. When cycling or walking, it is surprising how much more of your surroundings you take in. So much inspiration for my garden has come from walking or cycling around the city. The money I have saved on gas by choosing active transportation can be guiltlessly spent on … you guessed it … more plants!”



“Volunteering with Burlington Green has improved my life in so many ways! The impact of activities such as sorting waste and pulling invasive species is immediately visible and it’s a great relief to see how much we can achieve together with our hands. Volunteering in invasive species removals and native tree plantings has helped me feel more connected to nature which I carry with me every day. At the same time, being motivated to walk more places and take transit when I can has made me realize how much I love the feeling of walking and getting places on my own without having to learn to drive!”


Want to get involved like Haidi? Check out our BurlingtonGreen Youth Network


“Getting involved with BurlingtonGreen has opened doors and given me many lifetime opportunities. Because of my amazing co-op experience working with them, I am pursuing a career in the environmental sector!

I appreciate the patience and willingness to share knowledge, and the focus on outreach and awareness. Everyone at BurlingtonGreen shares a gift for getting people involved in the community and interested in the environment. I remember learning about so many different volunteering opportunities and being so surprised by the variety of ways that I can make my city a better place to live.

I really liked going into the Marsh at RBG to remove an invasive grass species, it was a really fun adventure. I got to put on some rubber overalls and learn about my local wetland! I had so much fun during my co-op and I am so fortunate to be a part of the environmental movement in Burlington.”


“A group of old friends like to walk most mornings, and being so close to beautiful Lake Ontario, we often walk along its shore.

One day, while walking the beach, we were horrified to discover an obscene amount of garbage which had been thrown up onto the beach after a winter storm. The amount of small plastics mixed among the usual debris was simply shocking and heartbreaking. We later learned that a major source of the tiny plastic pollution in the lake can come from cigarette butt filters made of cellulose acetate, which is not biodegradable.

We knew right then that we absolutely had to do something.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, “if not me who?” and “if not now when?”

We’re thrilled to report that with the encouragement of BurlingtonGreen and the help of the City of Burlington and Burlington Transit’s neighbourhood community matching fund we have installed 10 cigarette butt recycling units, operating successfully throughout the city.

Look for them on John St. at the bus terminal, Joseph Brant hospital (emergency entrance), Appleby and New St, and Prospect and Guelph Line by the Burlington Centre.

In just 4 months we have recycled 15 pounds of cigarette butts which would otherwise have found their way into the lake!

Clearly this is just one small step in the battle to clean up our beaches and waterways, but the results are heartening.

What my friends at BurlingtonGreen have shown me is that environmental solutions do exist, and that when enough people start taking small steps to change behaviour it really can lead to something with a much bigger impact.

I encourage everyone to take their first steps toward helping our planet to heal and I’d like to thank everyone involved in getting this project off the ground…literally!

Remember to spread the word that it’s not ok to throw cigarette butts away”.


Anna Pautler is an exceptionally dedicated, valued BurlingtonGreen volunteer. Her numerous contributions during 2020 alone directly impacted our organization’s ability to carry out our core pillar of advocacy work. Anna generously brings her passion for environmental work, combined with her extensive technical expertise to all her volunteer contributions, resulting in top-notch outcomes that serve our organization very well. In addition to serving on our volunteer Advocacy Team, Anna also contributes her time and talents to the Bay Area Climate Change Council Implementation Team for Buildings where she represents BurlingtonGreen. We were so thrilled when Anna agreed to serve on our Organization’s behalf because we have every confidence in her abilities and the strong ambassador qualities that she consistently exemplifies.

Anna’s dedication, commitment and subject matter expertise shine through in her volunteer work. Whether it’s providing detailed, thoughtful comments on Burlington’s Climate Action Plan, assessing the environmental implications of the Downtown policies in Burlington’s Official Plan or providing recommendations for numerous local environmental issues, Anna is tireless in her dedication to advancing a greener and more environmentally conscious Burlington.

Anna enjoys nature walks with her toddler and working in her garden. She is an active participant in BurlingtonGreen’s annual Clean Up Green Up, volunteering to clean up our city and plant native trees to improve local biodiversity. A friendly, positive, professional team player, Anna works very well with other team members
and extends a helping hand to all volunteers.

We are truly fortunate to have Anna as a valued volunteer for our organization – she is an inspiration to us all!

“Since joining BurlingtonGreen in 2020, I have been incredibly lucky to have been able to work with an amazing group of youth and adults alike to help change the environment in Burlington for the better.

The BurlingtonGreen Youth Network (BGYN) has been an amazing outlet in which I can devote my time to a cause in which I can see noticeable changes and am able to express my opinions in a comfortable and supportive environment. Through our various guest speakers, documentary screenings, and informed discussions I have become more aware of environmental issues, both here in Burlington and around the world, that I was not previously aware of. Volunteering with BGYN has also encouraged me to pursue a career in the Environmental Field.

Helping out with activities such as the Burlington Seed Swap and Clean Up Green Up among others have allowed me to work with many inspiring individuals and learn many new things about our environment. On top of this, volunteering with BurlingtonGreen has inspired me to become more involved in other committees at my school and other support groups throughout my community.

Volunteering with BurlingtonGreen has been an absolute pleasure, and I look forward to what’s to come in the future!”

– Lisbeth

Briana Petersen is a local Burlington resident who is passionate about bringing environmental awareness to the doorstep of her community. While she is passionate about most environmental issues and she leads a lifestyle that is low waste and sustainable, gardening has been a main focus. To Briana, “the more we connect with nature and the bounty it provides, the more we become stewards to the land”.

You may remember Briana from when she joined us virtually back in February to talk about gardening tips and her free vegetable seed giveaway. During the pandemic, she hoped her seed giveaway would provide benefits to mental health, improve food security and help people slow down and connect with nature.

Briana was able to equip 285 Burlington residents with free starter kits and seeds. Creating a sustainable low-impact giveaway was important to Briana, so she ensured that supplies were local, sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Briana also went on to create a ‘Burlington Gardeners’ Facebook group for the local community to connect and share their garden journey – everyone is welcome to join!

A big thank you to Briana for her amazing seed giveaway and for not only encouraging the community to grow their own food, but also equipping them with the supplies, resources and knowledge to do it eco-friendly. We value your contributions and efforts to help make Burlington a more environmentally-friendly place to live!

I was born in Burlington but have moved back and forth to other places due to my father’s work when I was a kid and my own sense of adventure as an adult. Moving back and forth in this way really highlighted the changes happening in the city. At times I have been frustrated by the ongoing development and disregard of green spaces in Burlington. I remember in my early twenties dropping off bags of garbage in a huff at City Hall that I had cleaned out a creek; calling for accountability from the staff member at the front desk for the municipal government to take care of the waters.  

Several years later I decided to return to school in the environmental field and when that went online due to the pandemic restrictions, I searched for ways to still stay engaged with field work. I wrote a grant for funding and was able to clean up 850 kg of waste out of Halton creeks and provide a rough quantification of the ecosystem services green spaces adjacent to those creeks provide. I was supported by BurlingtonGreen throughout this process and appreciate the mentorship and contacts they provided. The project is called Creeks and Trees and more information about it can be found here. 

I am still just as passionate as when I showed up at City Hall but have learned better ways to channel that emotion and approach the challenges we face. I think it is about creating collaborations that allow us to collectively take care of our green spaces. My hope is that my work inspires action and stewardship in individuals, organizations, and government. There are many ways big and small we can affect positive change and responsibly take care of the land and water we live on.

– Elliott

Dave Tourchin’s appreciation for the environment arose from canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park and enjoying conservation areas and trails around Halton.

Connecting with nature soon grew into a concern for its preservation. Dave worked on reducing his footprint through waste reduction, recycling better, and conserving energy. In 2008, he bought a Toyota Prius hybrid, and later went vegetarian.

One day while out for a walk, Dave noticed a mess of litter against a park fence and decided to stop and clean it up. He has since cleaned up over 800 full bags of litter around Burlington and beyond! He has volunteered with local groups like BurlingtonGreen and Field & Stream Rescue Team, helping with clean-ups, plantings, and invasive species removals.

Dave also connected with events in need of recycling volunteers: Sound of Music Festival (SOMF), Canada’s Largest Ribfest, and events greened by BurlingtonGreen and HEN. He became a recycling supervisor for many Eco-teams, and Chair of SOMF’s Eco-team in 2019. Dave expanded his efforts to helping about 25 events per year.

In 2018, he contributed 2 short films to Halton Green Screens’ Amateur Eco-Film Festival (Our Plastic Legacy, and Instead of Nothing).

Dave was honoured to receive a SOMF Outstanding Volunteer Award (2016, 2017), an Ontario 150 Award (2017), and a Paul Harris Fellow Award (2019) from the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore, for his local environmental contributions. Dave credits volunteering as, “one of the best choices in my life. It has allowed me to meet many great people and feel connected to the community.”

local businesses leading the way:
groups empowering positive change

We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation  for supporting this opportunity.


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