Bruce and Andrea Walker represented the Village of Ashcroft at the 2018 edition of the National Communities in Bloom (CiB) Symposium and awards held in Strathcona County, Alberta from Sept. 26 to 29.
Ashcroft was a finalist for three Outstanding Achievement Awards this year – Community Involvement, Community of Gardeners and Youth Involvement.
“We were thrilled to be selected as the winner of the Youth Involvement Award,” says Andrea.
Ashcroft CiB has worked closely with primary to intermediate students at Desert Sands Community School for several years, along with pre-school children from Ashcroft Early Learning.
The CiB group has engaged students in projects that include growing potatoes and sunflowers, growing tomatoes, learning about worm composting, learning about bee keeping and rock painting for the pre-school students.
Included in the application for the award was also information on how the students learned about indigenous plants and created an indigenous garden at the school.
“We also highlighted the contributions of local artists Marina Papais and Daniel Collett, who along with local residents, and primary and senior students, created a stunning mosaic mural for the lobby at the school.”
All these are examples of how a community involves youth.
Ashcroft Communities in Bloom is so pleased to able to share this award with the students at DSCS, she adds.
Ashcroft was competing in the Class of Champions category this year.
This is a category that includes communities that have already won the National competition for their respective population classes, so the competition is quite stiff.
Ashcroft scored 5 blooms bronze this year with a score of 85.9 per cent.
The Town of Castlegar won with 5 blooms bronze category, which means their score was within one per cent ahead of Ashcroft.
It was a very tight competition indeed!
Ashcroft CiB also received a special mention for the work done at the Chinese Railway Workers’ Cemetery during the 2018 National/International Symposium and Awards Ceremonies.
Over the summer, trained volunteer judges travelled to participating communities to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments; industry; businesses and the private sector – including volunteer efforts – in regards to the following criteria: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays.
Following their evaluation, volunteer judges Cliff Lacey and Cynthia Boyd wrote the following about the local CiB group:
“CiB Ashcroft has worked with other service clubs to locate and identify the remains of the Chinese workers buried in a small cemetery on railway lands in Ashcroft. These men died building the railroad through British Columbia in the 1800s.
“Using resources provided by the Kamloops Chinese Cultural Association, gravestones marking some of the remains were translated.
“At a traditional pagoda-style Joss altar, built by the Rotary and Lions clubs, ceremonies were conducted to acknowledge the final resting place of those interred at this site.
“Members of CiB Ashcroft are creating lovely glass mosaics with bird and floral themes, to mark each resting place. A shaded bench has been provided for those visiting the cemetery and flowers are often left at some of the grave sites.”
Ashcroft will continue to compete in the CiB National program because involvement in the program has far-reaching benefits in so many areas of the community, Andrea says.
“It makes our communities bloom in so many ways!”