Port Moody's Elaine Golds wins award for environmental leadership

Elaine Golds has been honoured with the Hungerford Award by the Pacific Salmon Foundation for her work as a stream steward in the Tri-Cities.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE
Elaine Golds has been honoured with the Hungerford Award by the Pacific Salmon Foundation for her work as a stream steward in the Tri-Cities.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE

A prominent local environmental activist has been honoured with the prestigious George Hungerford Award by the Pacific Salmon Foundation for her work as a stream steward in the Tri-Cities.

And she’s paying that honour forward to a local environmental education project.

Elaine Golds, who is a director with the Burke Mountain Naturalists as well as The Tri-City News’ Green Scene columnist, received the award at a fundraising event for the foundation Wednesday evening.

It comes with a grant of $10,000 to be donated to a stewardship group of her choice.

Golds opted to give it to the Mossom Creek Hatchery, which is fundraising to rebuild the hatchery that burned down in December.

“It was an easy decision,” Golds told The Tri-City News yesterday. “Mossom needs all the funds they can get to restore their hatchery.”

The news’ of Golds’ award and the grant was greeted with elation by volunteers working to rebuild the Mossom Creek Hatchery. Word went out on Twitter early Thursday and Ruth Foster, the hatchery’s co-founder, said the donation and Golds’ win have “buoyed the spirits” of everyone working on the project.


“The news is great and comes at a time when we are really struggling to put together the funds for the hatchery,” Foster said, adding, “We have tremendous respect for Elaine and all she does.”

The grant is particularly notable because it provides a sizable chunk of necessary fundraising dollars but it also comes after Golds donated $1,000 on her own earlier this week, before she even knew about the Hungerford Award.

Foster said the personal donation is one of the largest from a resident and sets a new bar.

Golds is a well-known activist in the Tri-Cities who has been honoured numerous times for her contributions, including recognition by the city of Port Moody, which gave Golds the Freedom of the City in 2007. As well, Golds, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from McGill University, was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2013, the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association Achievement Award in 2012, and the BC Community Achievement Award for her outstanding commitment and dedication in the field of environmental stewardship.

The longtime activist, who recently raised awareness of a Kinder Morgan proposal to use fields at Colony Farm Regional Park as a staging area for pipeline construction, said Wednesday’s award was unexpected but she was thrilled to receive it.

“I feel totally humbled to be recognized this way,” Golds said.


Named after the founding chairman of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the award recognizes the contributions of volunteer stream stewards, including their leadership and dedication to the cause of salmon enhancement, explained Michael Meneer, the group’s vice-president, who added that Golds is particularly deserving because of her longtime activism in the Tri-Cities.

As for news  that Golds plans to dedicate the $10,000 grant to the Mossom Creek Hatchery rebuild, he said: “That is tremendous news for all in the salmon community.”

The George Hungerford Award award was presented in front of 700 people at the foundation’s gala fundraiser at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Golds said she was particularly pleased to win the award, which has only been in existence for five years, because it was first won by a colleague, Jennifer Atchison, who was well-known for her work with Stoney Creek but who passed away shortly after receiving hers in 2010.

“That’s what makes it particularly wonderful,” Golds said, describing Atchison’s energy and enthusiasm for protecting and enhancing Stoney Creek, which starts in Burnaby Mountain and runs part of the way through Port Moody, ending up in the Brunette River, and eventually, the Fraser River.

Golds said she is also happy to be able to help Mossom Creek and the volunteers who are working hard to ensure that it rises from the ashes.


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