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Canada’s Greenest Employers: Whistler Blackcomb Named In Top 100

Hiking High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain
Whistler Blackcomb celebrated Earth Day by once again being named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. For the 8th consecutive year, Whistler Blackcomb has been awarded this distinction by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for its proactive approach towards sustainability and energy conservation.

We take environmental sustainability seriously. We make an effort to integrate sustainable and energy conservation practices into everything we do so it is always wonderful to be recognized. It is by the grace of our dedicated employees that we are able to achieve this distinction year after year. – Dave Brownlie President and CEO at Whistler Blackcomb.

Whistler Blackcomb has worked with BC Hydro for over 10 years on conservation initiatives as a Power Smart Leader in British Columbia.  Conservation and sustainability are deeply embedded into the corporate culture at Whistler Blackcomb due to the operation and their staff and community being so highly connected to the natural environment.

The Every Step Counts team, a cross-divisional team of 15 employees, strategically plan and execute campaigns and programs to increase awareness and behavioural change both at work and at home.  In 2015, Whistler Blackcomb reduced energy consumption by a further 890,000 kWh through lighting and mechanical retrofits and operational changes.  That’s enough to power 89 homes in BC for a year. To date, the Every Step Counts team has changed out over 15,000 light bulbs to more energy-efficient models.  Whistler Blackcomb also has an employee carpooling program using fleet vehicles to transport staff members from Squamish and Pemberton that saves 360 tonnes of emissions per year.

“For years, we advanced the argument that building environmental values into your workplace culture helped organizations reduce waste and recognize the true costs of doing business,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor at Mediacorp. “Today, we’ve moved well beyond the business case to the point where we can say that a large part of Canadian society now expects the organizations they deal with to incorporate sustainable business practices into their operations.”

Now entering its 10th year, Canada’s Greenest Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes employers who lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness. Whistler Blackcomb was chosen for, among other reasons, their long history of working with community stakeholders on local environmental initiatives. Whistler Blackcomb, through the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, matches dollar-for-dollar employee contributions to the environmental fund — over $340,000 has been donated to specific environmental projects since 2001. For more information about the recognition, please visit: http://content.eluta.ca/top-employer-whistler-blackcomb.

Feature image: Mitch Winton

For more information about Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental initiatives, please visit: http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/about-us/environment.

Summit Lodge Native Wild Pollinator Conservation Project

Whistler is a place of spectacular natural beauty and as the popularity of our town has grown so has the footprint of our urban environment – sometimes at the expense of the wildlife that also calls Whistler its home.

This spring is the start of the Summit Lodge Native Wild Pollinator Conservation Project where, in consultation with the Elle Lab at SFU and the Beefriendly Native Bee Conservation Society, we are reinventing all of our outdoor spaces to create environments that are specifically designed for the conservation of Whistler’s native wild pollinators.

Why Are Native Wild Pollinators Important To Whistler?

Native wild pollinators play a huge role in the continued survival and growth of Whistler’s ecosystem:

– They are an essential part of reproduction for many plant species that require cross-pollination to occur

– Many animals rely on these cross-pollinating plants as part of their diet

– They are important for the pollination of agricultural plants as well as wild landscapes

– They pollinate everything from woodland trees, shrubs, fruit trees and plants

What Are Whistler’s Native Wild Pollinators?

Native wild pollinators includes all species of beetles, moths, bees, butterflies, flies and birds that visit flowers and are native to Whistler and the Western Coastal Hemlock Zone. Native wild pollinators are essentially any animal or insect that visits a flower for nectar or pollen.
While honey bees might the the first pollinator that comes to mind, they are not native to North America and can have a negative impact on the survival of native wild pollinators, such as the bumble bee.

Why We Won’t Be Getting Honey Bees As Part Of The Project

Honey bees are wonderful. They pollinate, they create honey, and they’re magnificent to watch work. However, the honey bee is considered an “agricultural animal” and recent research has shown that competition with honey bees reduces the foraging efficiency and reproductive success of bumble bees. Research also shows that honey bees force bumble bees off flowers, and that disease transmission is higher between honey bees and bumble bees that have to share the same plants.

A single honey bee hive can contain over 50,000 bees, who collectively remove hundred of pounds of nectar and tens of pounds of pollen from an area in a single year. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler  is already doing a great job with their four honey bee hives (totalling around 120,000 bees), and while they have a large garden to support the bees, to add more hives in our small community could contribute to a resource decline for bumble bees and other wild native pollinators.

Updates On The Summit Native Wild Pollinator Conservation Project

Throughout the year, as we reinvent all of our outdoor spaces, we will regularly update our social media, hotel news page and our blog with stories and invites to our community events. If you’d like to join us as a partner or sponsor for the project please get in touch at: hello@summitlodge.com

If you’d like to learn more about the project please visit:

Our hotel news page: summitlodge.com/news-events

Our blog: artofliving.summitlodge.com

Facebook: facebook.com/summit.lodge.whistler

Twitter: twitter.com/whistlersummit

Instagram: instagram.com/summitlodge

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Over Whistler

Blood Moon Timelapse over Whistler

Last night the cosmos gave us a spectacular show – a full lunar eclipse on the Hunter’s Moon.

What is a “Blood Moon”?

The term “blood moon” is one of many that originate from from folklore and skylore (a form of folklore centred on the sky). There was a blood moon back on April 15th 2014 and last night’s was the second of four consecutive total eclipses in a series, known as a tetrad, with the remaining three eclipses taking place on  April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

According to earthsky.org, “The Hunter’s Moon is the next full moon after the Harvest Moon”, and it was also accompanied by a lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon. The Hunter’s Moon comes after the autumnal equinox and also goes by other names, depending on where you’re from, and can also be called the Hunter’s Moon, the Frosty Moon, or the Beaver Moon

Blood Moon over Whistler

Any kind of lunar display is an exciting event, and local photographer (and baker of incredible cookies, really!) David McColm was out at the crack of dawn, primed with his camera, a steady hand and a fist-full of determination to capture the blood moon over Whistler. Above are a few timelapse shots that David has stitched together to show the changing colour phases of the moon. The ominous cloud adds an eerie feeling to the aptly named blood moon.

Follow David McColm for more incredible local photography

Twitter @triwhistler

Facebook /davidmccolm.photography

Instagram dlmccolm