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blueindicatorCommunity Environmental Fund


Community environmental fund 2013 logoFund Categories

The Community Environmental Fund was established by Regional Council on October 26, 2011. The fund consists of a Stewardship Grant stream (formerly the Environmental Stewardship Fund which operated in 2010-11) and the new Sustainability Grant stream.

Stewardship Grant categories:

  1. Enhancement and restoration of natural areas
  2. Naturalization projects
  3. Acquisition of ecologically significant natural areas
  4. Public education and awareness initiatives on some aspect of environmental stewardship
  5. Research related to stewardship of natural areas

Sustainability Grant categories:

  1. Demonstration projects focused on reduction of GHG and air emissions, energy conservation and waste reduction/diversion
  2. Public education/awareness initiatives which promote long term behavioural change on aspects of environmental sustainability (e.g. reducing GHG)
  3. Environmental sustainability-based research (focused on GHG and air emissions, energy conservation or waste reduction/diversion)



The integrated Community Environmental Fund was launched in November 2011. From inception, the Fund received and approved the following applications:

 Year  Number of applications received  Number of applications approved
2014 35 21
2013 36 30
2012 44 28

Approved Projects in 2014

Staff reviewed the applications based on the approved Community Environmental Fund Terms of Reference, and recommended 30 projects, as listed below, to receive funding in 2014:

  • St. John Catholic School Greening Project - $2,550
  • James P. Wellheiser Private Land Stewardship Project - $1,800
  • Stanley Park Public School Greening Project - $3,000
  • St. Clement School Greening Project - $2,100
  • Grand River Conservation Authority Pollinator Garden - $13,000
  • City of Cambridge Stewardship Project - $8,051
  • Coronation Public School Community Garden - $2,000
  • Steward Avenue Public School Outdoor Renewal - $3,000
  • City of Waterloo Earth Day Event - $8,525
  • Winston Churchill Public School Early Years Natural Playspace Project - $3,000
  • Forest Hill Public School TreeGeneration Project - $3,000
  • Wilson Avenue Public School Greening Porject - $3,000
  • House of Friendship Gardens - $14,152
  • CLIPPED Outdoors Take-a-Hike - $3,920
  • Sir Adam Beck Public School No-Mow Naturalization Project - $2,000
  • Brigadoon Public School Green Project - $3,000
  • Township of Woolwish Ash Tree Removal and Replanting along Trans Canada Trail - $17,750
  • City of Kitchener Windale Park Rejuvenation - $2,800
  • Public Health Shade Working Group Waterloo Region Shade Forum - $1,200
  • Laurel Creek Headwaters Environmentally Sensitive Landscape Public Liaison Committee Phragmites Management Strategy - $1,910
  • rare Charitable Research Reserve Invasive Species Control in Hogsback Woodland - $13,447

Click on the following links to see each year's respective full Council report: 2014, 2013, 2012 Stewardship Grants, 2012 Sustainability Grants

Call for proposals for the 2015 round of applications will take place near the end of 2014. Visit the Region of Waterloo's Environment website for more details.

Highlights of Completed Projects

St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School - waste diversion project: $6,000

CEF2012.32 St Benedict CS waste diversion cThe CEF enabled students, staff and teachers at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School to implement a waste diversion program to capture the recyclables that audits showed made up 70% of the school's waste stream. The movement to divert a significant portion of the school's waste stream from landfill was driven by the school's Eco Squad: a collaboration of students, staff, the Head Custodian, and the school's administration. Not only did team members find a way to divert waste, they found a way to inspire and mobilize the entire student body. Waste receptacles were designed and manufactured in the school's own metal shop classrooms under the guidance and support of the teacher. While design and manufacturing were underway, the EcoSquad scoured the school collecting data on waste composition and designed an education program to remind everyone to recycle. The final waste audit after implementation of the new diversion bins showed 28% fewer recyclables were being disposed of in the garbage. The drive to recycle is continuing. When sports team are active in the spring and fall, the new bins are set up outside around the school grounds to capture recyclables. Additional posters will continue to inspire students to make use of the new infrastructure. The original goal for this project was to improve recycling rates at the school; however, this project has accomplished much more. Students and everyone in the school community can take pride in this "home-grown" solution that will be visible in the community for years to come. And most importantly, the entire school population came together in a single purpose: to reduce their ecological footprint.

CEF2012.24 REEP group photo with solar thermal systemREEP Green Solutions solar thermal project: $15,000 

The Region of Waterloo 2012 Community Environmental Fund supported REEP Green Solution's Solar Thermal Project. This project consisted of three education workshops and an installation near downtown Kitchener. The workshops presented the business case for solar water heating for institutions with high water consumption; helped homeowners explore the technology for heating domestic hot water, living space and swimming pools; and provided a unique experience for participants to assemble a miniature solar collector. Installation of two solar panels at the REEP House culminated the project, which now serves to reduce natural gas by preheating water for the boiler during winter months and heat domestic hot water during warmer months. Half a tonne of greenhouse gas per year is expected to be reduced from this system. REEP has successfully created a lasting, visible, and accessible demonstration of the indoor and outdoor components of a solar thermal system to further enhance solar energy literacy and adoption. The adjacent photograph shows the REEP Solar Thermal Project staff and volunteers.

Grand River Carshare

Grand River Carshare purchase of an electric vehicle: $15,000 

The Region of Waterloo 2012 Community Environmental Fund helped Grand River Carshare fund the purchase of an electric vehicle (EV), the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, to demonstrate and promote electric vehicle technology and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project allowed carshare members to try the new technology and reduced approximately 525 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions over the first 5 months of use (Aug. 29, 2012 – Jan. 31, 2013). Grand River Carshare will be conducting a survey to assess members' experience with the i-MiEV as well as analyzing the spring and summer usage data during 2013, when they typically experience higher vehicle usage. The project has also highlighted the need for more charging infrastructure to support the use of the new technology within Waterloo Region as there are several EV models available at local auto dealerships.

FoodlinkFoodlink Waterloo Region – Buy Local Buy Fresh mapping application for mobile devices: $5,000

The Region of Waterloo 2012 Community Environmental Fund helped fund the development of a free software application to expand access to Foodlink's local food database via handheld device (previously only available as a printed map) to give users access to the local food market and support the Local Food movement. The App was successfully launched in May 2012 with nearly 600 downloads by Blackberry users of the application at the completion of the first phase of the roll out and included the most efficient bus and cycling routes, encouraging alternative carbon friendly transportation options. A more extensive marketing campaign is planned for the second phase which includes expanding to all smart phone platforms and monitoring user statistics. This App will allowed Region of Waterloo citizens to forgo the paper version of the "Buy Local Buy Fresh" map (reducing printing and paper costs). Foodlink actively promoted this app at events such as 'Taste Local! Taste Fresh!' and the 2012 International Plowing Match.


rare North House - solar modular home: $15,000 

rare North House

The Region’s Community Environmental Fund provided a sustainability grant to rare Charitable Research Reserve to help with their North House project.  The recently completed building involved re-constructing an award winning pre-fabricated solar house which was designed by University of Waterloo architecture and engineering students.  Nestled in the quaint Blair Village Heritage District, this house really captures the important balance between innovative change occurring within the region while still preserving the rural charm of the area. North House demonstrates a green housing model that makes sustainable living attractive and rewarding. The combination of passive and active solar design, integrated energy production, customized components and mobile interactive technologies, produces a modern high performance home that sets a new standard for solar design in Canada’s northern climate.  The features of North House reflect both the science of sustainability and the human lifestyle in terms of energy gain, conservation of natural resources, manufacturing and building design, and interior/exterior connections to the surrounding environment.

Tours are available: see or call Katherine at 519-650-9336 x 124



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