Community and Sunshine Join RMRS to Celebrate Earth Day and 40 Years of Recycling!

SFU Cheerleading Flash Mob at Earth Day 2012

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, the sunshine and more than 3000 people came out for the biggest and best Earth Day event ever held in Maple Ridge!  Memorial Peace Park was bursting at the seams, with a multitude of entertainers, activities, demos and displays in every corner of the park and the Arts Centre and Theatre during the four-hour community party.

RMRS 40th Anniversary Cake at Earth Day 2012
We avoided sending plates and forks to the landfill by ordering a Cupcake Cake!

The very first Earth Day was the spark that inspired the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, so we tied our 40th Anniversary party in with the annual Earth Day celebrations in Maple Ridge. We wanted to make it a big event and create an atmosphere of celebration and recognition for all the ways the community supports the environment. It was a team effort, and everybody worked hard to create interesting green activities and displays celebrating nature & the outdoors, innovation & technology, community, and families.

Tying in our 40th anniversary raised the profile of the event, but its success was due in large part to a partnership with the ever-popular Haney Farmer’s Market, and good luck in benefiting from one of the first sunny days of Spring.

Eileen Dwillies, Market Manager of the Haney Farmer’s Market Society said, “What an exciting Earth Day for the vendors of the Haney Farmers Market.  Good weather, lively entertainment and early vegetables brought smiles to the faces of our customers.  The collaboration and hard work of the steering committee paid off.”

Culinary Blossoms at Earth Day 2012's Haney Farmer's Market
Culinary Blossoms serves up delicious treats at the Haney Farmer’s Market

The partnership between Earth Day and the Haney Farmer’s Market is a natural one and the market is a big draw, especially after a long winter. Everyone was well-organized and prepared so we kept our fingers crossed for the weather. The beautiful day was the clincher.

Success was also due to the strong level of support from the District of Maple Ridge, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services staff and staff from the ACT. Thank you!

In past years RMRS organized Earth Day festivities to coincide with composter bin distributions and other recycling initiatives. A few years ago we passed the torch to the CEED Centre Society, and the event outgrew the CEED site and moved to the downtown park.  This celebration was really a return to roots for us!

We appreciate the partnership with the Haney Farmer’s Market, the CEED Centre Society, Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, Adopt-A-Block, Maple Ridge Library, “C” is for Comedy Events, and everyone else who worked so hard on Earth Day this year. It was everything we wanted our 40th celebration to be!

More photos posted on our Facebook Page.

Top photo of the SFU Cheerleading Flash Mob and the following gorgeous photos were taken by the talented Karen Learmonth of Amber Light Photography:

Ridge Meadows Recycling 40th Anniversary Cake & VIPs at Earth Day 2012
(L-R): Councillor Judy Dueck, Councillor Cheryl Ashlie, Councillor Al Hogarth, Pitt Meadows Deputy Mayor Doug Bing, MP Randy Kamp, RMRS Director Leigh Hodgins, Councillor Corisa Bell, RMRS President Dennis Kinsey, RMRS Director Carol Botting (Seated, L-R): MLA Marc Dalton, MLA Michael Sather, Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin Photo by Amber Light Photography


Childrens' Crafts at Earth Day 2012
Childrens’ Crafts at Earth Day 2012 Photo by Amber Light Photography


Bear Aware at Earth Day 2012
Bear Aware Display Photo by Amber Light Photography


Maple Ridge Library's Storytime Corner at Earth Day 2012
Maple Ridge Library’s Storytime Corner in the ACT Photo by Amber Light Photography


RMRS Character Cutouts at Earth Day 2012
RMRS Characters celebrate 40 Years of Recycling! Photo by Amber Light Photography


"Green" Baby Disco at Earth Day 2012
“Green” Baby Disco at the Freecycle in the ACT Photo by Amber Light Photography


Earth Day 2012 Presentation for Oct.3, 2012 Community Festivals Network meeting


RMRS Founder Candace Gordon named 2012 Citizen of the Year

“Candace Gordon is the embodiment of the committed volunteer who works tirelessly on projects and causes that are close to her heart and changes a location from a town to a community.”


2012 Citizen of the Year Candace Gordon & Fred Armstrong at MR Community Foundation Awards - April 12, 2012
Candace with 2011 Citizen of the Year Fred Armstrong

On April 12, 2012, we were thrilled as RMRS Founding Member Candace Gordon was announced as Maple Ridge Community Foundation’s 2012 Citizen of the Year. Candace began working with Ridge Meadows Recycling as a truck driver and has been on our Board of Directors for the majority of the past 40 years, stepping off only for the 12 years she spent as a member of Maple Ridge Council. She was instrumental in developing programs to integrate people with developmental disabilities into our work site, leading to what is now known as our Supported Work program.

Her causes have been many – social inclusion & poverty issues, environmental conservation & recycling, arts advocacy & local festivals to name a few – but her projects and the organizations that have benefitted from her involvement are too numerous to count.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Candace.  In making her contributions Candace has made many friends of all ages and from every walk of life.  She brings wisdom and good cheer to each organization.  We are so fortunate to have Candace as a Maple Ridge citizen.” -Linda King

Candace’s 2012 Citizen of the Year Acceptance Speech:

“I wish first to thank the Maple Ridge Community Foundation for the honour of choosing me to be Citizen of the Year. I want to acknowledge my fellow nominees in whose august company I find myself, all of whom are distinguished and equally deserving of this honour.

Candace Gordon & Julie Koehn at Opening of RMRS Cardboard Building at Cottonwood Landfill 1981
Candace and Julie Koehn at Opening Ceremony in 1981

I am filled with gratitude to Julie Koehn, my nominator, known to us as “Mother Recycling,” whom I have known and volunteered with since first moving to Maple Ridge. Julie, I can now forgive you for making me play Garbage Gus in the recycling puppet plays.

Thank you to the Recycling Society, celebrating 40 years of leading the way as a community-based, not-for-profit business and the largest worksite in the province of persons with developmental disabilities. Also thanks to Kim Day, the current Executive Director, and to Kelli Speirs, our long-serving, retired Executive Director.

Thank you to Leanne Koehn, who organized the many support letters. Leanne first came to the recycling depot in a cardboard box where she slept while her parents loaded newspaper into a trailer. She became our first bursary winner in Environmental Studies and last year we welcomed her back as Communications Manager where she has efficiently herded us older folks into the 21st Century and the realm of social media.

Two other organizations have celebrated 40 years of service to the community, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Arts Council and the Family Education and Support Centre. Thank you to Vicki McLeod and Faye Luxemburg-Hyam for your kind words.

2012 Citizen of the Year Candace Gordon & Mayor Ernie Daykin at MR Community Foundation Awards - April 12, 2012
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin congratulates Candace on being named 2012's Citizen of the Year

The Haney Farmer’s Market worked with the Recycling Society to put forward my nomination. Thank you to Eileen and Paul Dwillies and to the entire board who insisted on each signing my letter of support.

To Alouette Home Start Society, Social Planning, Maple Ridge Agricultural Advisory Committee and Mike Murray’s remembering of my early years volunteering for the Parks and Recreation Commission and my work for the BCRPA, thank you so much.

To the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie Community Network, the largest community planning table in the Lower Mainland, thank you for your support.

And last but certainly not least, the dear friends that wrote such kind words supporting my nomination.

Volunteering weaves the social fabric of our town, builds community capacity and strengthens our resiliency.

Volunteering provides us with an opportunity for leadership roles, offers us a place to champion our passions and it builds solid networks of warm friendships.

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes strong networks and volunteers to build a vibrant and resilient community. If you want to be happy, do not aim for happiness. Be of service to others and it will come to you.

This honour is a testament to all of you that I have had the privilege of volunteering with and to all of you here tonight who have strived to make a difference and help shape Marvellous Maple Ridge.”


Maple Ridge Museum Celebrates 40 Years of Recycling

MR Museum Home Canning Poster“Starting in February the temporary gallery in the Maple Ridge Museum will be co-curating an exhibition alongside the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society. Chronicling from thrift to modern day up-cycling, the exhibition will look at various repurposed tools, extending what the term recycling really means. The exhibit will also display the history of the Ridge Meadows Recycling through various artifacts and photographs.”

“Check out the Looking Back column from the Maple Ridge News, “Thrifty Business”, for more information on recycling and some of the artefacts you’ll see in the exhibit.

The exhibition will run from February 1st until the end of April. Stop by Sunday or Wednesday from 1-4pm for a visit!”
The Maple Ridge Museum & Archives is located at 22520 – 116th Avenue, Maple Ridge, BC
Phone 604-463-3511 for more information or visit

2011 Recycler of the Year – Mason Parkhill

Mason Parkhill - 2011 Recycler of the Year with Ernie Daykin & Judy DueckIn recognition of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, Mason Parkhill, a 4-year-old Maple Ridge resident, will be named Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s 2011 Recycler of the Year at the Maple Ridge Council Chambers at the regular council meeting on Tuesday, October 11.

Mason’s interest in recycling began with a friendly garbage collector and his garbage truck. This led to his interest in Maple Ridge’s recycling trucks with their unique, multiple compartments and how things get recycled. “From there (Mason) just started asking more and more questions and was really interested in all of it!” says his mother, Amanda. For his fourth birthday, Mason and his friends went on a tour of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot, located just off River Road in the Albion Industrial Park. Free tours of the depot are given to local schools and community groups, as well as an annual visit from BCIT Environmental Health students.

With his natural curiosity and the awareness that came from helping sort his family’s recycling each week, plus encouragement from his family and educational books, toys, & games, Mason began applying his knowledge to the world around him and noticed some things weren’t quite right. So he wrote a letter to the Maple Ridge mayor & council: “Hi! My name is Mason Parkhill and I’m four years old. I’m really interested in recycling and garbage. I’ve noticed that most garbage bins at bus stops are full of recyclable materials, mostly pop and water bottles. I would like to see recycle bins attached to all bus stops next to the garbage cans. It would also be a good idea to have recycle bins in schoolyards and parks. I look forward to hearing what you think of my idea. Yours truly, Mason Parkhill (with help from my mom).”

Mason’s awareness of how our actions affect the world around us, his concern about the environment he’ll be growing up in, and he and his family’s commitment to taking action to make the world a better place led Ridge Meadows Recycling Society naming him their 2011 “Recycler of the Year.” Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin agrees. Says Daykin, “It’s really cool that somebody that’s four years old is already environmentally responsible and thinking about what would make his community better.”

Congratulations Mason, and the whole Parkhill family!