Terrera was founded on the principle of sustainability, and one of the ways we stand behind this value is by offering an annual grant, the Terrera Earth Award. It is awarded to recognize the outstanding contributions of Canadian women in their communities. This includes, but is not limited to: local community development, women’s empowerment, poverty relief, humanitarian/refugee aid, or environmental sustainability. The winner receives a $1000 grant for a community initiative, project, social enterprise or business that is making a positive impact in our world!
Reflecting On Our Winners Over The Years
Lauren, a Queen's University graduate student, is on the search for a more sustainable solution to the remediation process for road salt. The current processes are toxic to the environment, so she discovered that certain species of plants are able to do the job in a much more sustainable manner. Lauren is currently researching the effectiveness of the plants, and has long-term goals to discover a more eco-friendly solution to road salt.
After graduating from Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Kayli started her venture, A Friendlier Company, with one purpose: to be part of the solution to reducing pollution. Friendlier is a zero-waste initiative to eliminate the use of single-use plastics in food packaging.
Tara, Amy, and Brianna's project, Carbon Conversation Toronto, works to share conversations with the community about the connection between climate change and social inequality, and the need for climate justice.
Julia is the owner of Crocus Hill Farms in Maidstone, Saskatchewan. She works to support sustainable farming and promote a cleaner, healthier, and happier planet. Her farm brings together wonderful ideas around organic food production, biodiversity, regenerative agriculture, and permaculture.
Since her teenage years, Ariane has been interested in environmental issues, which made her want to reduce negative impacts on ecosystems and raise environmental awareness. Ariane trained to become a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator through the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. She noticed a gap in the help and support we can give to wildlife in Quebec, and wanted to work towards filling it. She also wanted to educate people about the interaction between humans and wildlife through her work.
2017: Jana Girdaukas | The Period Purse
Jana saw a need to help women she saw begging and living on the streets. She wanted to give these ladies something useful, so she decided to create the Period Purse. Jana would fill used purses with menstrual products and hygiene items and donate them to local women experiencing homelessness. After reaching out to her local Facebook parent group asking for spare, used purses, she donated nearly 1800 purses. Now, each month, there are 300+ women who are supported with a monthly supply of menstrual products.
2017: Ann Gibson | Upcycle Lifestyle
Ann had a vision for Upcycle Lifestyle: to reduce consumer waste through reusable alternatives. With a passion for waste management and experience working at a landfill and in environmental compliance reporting and consulting, Ann took a leap into making clothing with 100% waste-free production. Her first upcycled products were blankets she made from 'rescuing' ugly sweaters from the thrift stores. She creates smaller products like reusable facial rounds and nursing pads from scraps of fabric left from the clothing she makes. The smaller pieces that are too small to sew are used to stuff dog and cat beds that she donates to the Stratford SPCA. All of her products are made in her home sewing studio with 100% waste-free production.
2016: Tenille Riechelmann | Recycled Fashion
Tenille got her start in the fashion world when a local designer approached her to showcase at the Medicine Hat Pride AIDS Benefits and Fashion Show, after starting out making purses out of used jeans and t-shirts. She created a collection of custom bras made out of recycled, re-purposed and found materials, such as tablecloths, damaged clothing and broken jewelry. She was inspired by the need to alleviate the immense amount of soft textiles we throw out into landfills. She has also organized charity fundraisers to benefit the community, such as a breast cancer benefit fashion show where all proceeds were donated to Medicine Hat Health Foundation.
2015: Angela Kesthely | MILKBAGS Unlimited
After seeing the disaster of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, Angela decided to help by partnering with Air Transat to ship over 750,000 milk bags to Port Au Prince. These were to help unemployed women create their own milk bag mats. Inspired by her personal motto of "Empower the People - Save the Planet,” she taught the women in Haiti - some who did not know how to read or write - how to crochet the bags into mats, handbags, slippers, and table runners to sell in their local markets.
2014: Jill Doucette | Founder of Synergy
Jill is the founder of Synergy, a company whose mission is to help green businesses by teaching them how to steward and protect ecosystems and build thriving economies. Synergy has worked with over 70 companies - each a shining example of how to run zero-waste, carbon neutral, and low-impact operations that create new green jobs. After Synergy, she launched Synergy Sustainability Institute (SSI), a non-profit dedicated to catalyzing the green economy. This would become a national organization that provides innovative solutions to bring businesses and the environment together in a symbiotic relationship. They have launched Vancouver Island Green Business (now BC Green Business), Canada's First Food Eco-District, the Green Building Research Project, and the Zero Waste Project.
2013: Sofiya Chroniy | Miss Earth Canada 2013
Our first Earth Award winner was Sofiya Chroniy, who was fascinated by the human-nature connection after reading Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods. Her goal was to become a French and Physical Education teacher and instill in her students a greater understanding of the beauty inherent in the natural world. She has given multiple environmental presentations in elementary schools, coordinated shoreline cleanups, participated in community tree planting, and was crowned "Miss Earth Canada 2013” - one of the largest international pageants with a focus on environmental advocacy.
We are excited to see who this year's winner will be!