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Secondary Students Win Big at City of Burnaby Environmental Awards

Two student leaders from the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network were honoured with Environmental Awards from the City of Burnaby in the youth category for their work in the 2019-20 school year. Azzam Haq from Burnaby South Secondary and Emily Ng from Alpha Secondary each received awards for their outstanding leadership and commitment to environmental sustainability.

Every year, the City acknowledges individuals, community groups, institutions, and businesses who have made significant contributions to the sustainability of Burnaby’s environment.

Azzam and Emily, who graduated in 2020, were very active organizing a number of initiatives at the school level, while also serving as emcees of the district-wide sustainability conference called We Mean Green. Held in the last school year, it was attended by 140 students, administrators, teachers, and community members and was designed as an engagement event to help inform a new Strategic Sustainability Plan for the District. In addition to their work on the conference, both students served as student leaders on the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network. BYSN works to create networks among high school students across the District for education and awareness of environmental issues and sustainability.

Fittingly, Azzam and Emily have been designated as “Environmental Stars” by the City. The award recognizes environmental achievements of a smaller or more individual scale that may serve to catalyze larger initiatives and inspire others.

You can learn more about their work below, as outlined on the City of Burnaby website:

Azzam Haq led the Burnaby South Green Team in starting a school wide gardening program, managed the school’s greenhouse and promoted pollinator friendly gardens at his school. He oversaw monthly workshops at various Burnaby schools with topics that focused on food security and sustainable diets. Every week, Azzam ran lunchtime meetings to raise awareness and discuss different environmental issues, such as plastic pollution and sustainable lifestyles that focus on waste reduction. Azzam also took the initiative to re-install the collection program for soft plastics in the school district to reduce waste and properly sort recyclable materials.

Emily Ng has been actively involved in her school community, leading both the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network and Alpha Secondary’s Enviro Club to engage students in environmental and conservation initiatives that focus on protecting local species. She also helped secure a government grant so her school could lead a hydroponics study designed to protect local salmon species. Emily promoted sustainable consumption and awareness around reducing waste by organizing school events such as the Bring Your Own Cup hot chocolate sale, as well as the thrift store project for repurposing used items. Emily is passionate about sustainability issues and is always looking for innovative ways to minimize pollution to the environment and is currently exploring the use of food waste as an alternate and sustainable method for dying fabric.

Congratulations Azzam & Emily!


Posted October 2020