Castlegar residents Olga Hallborg and Tanmay Deshpande have been named the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society 2022 Volunteers of the Year.
Every year the society recognizes community members who go above and beyond to make a positive difference to their organization and the world around them.
According to a release from the society, Hallborg is passionate about environmental action that addresses biodiversity loss and climate change. She first volunteered with the society at a restoration event at the Snk’mip wetland in 2020.
“I am very humbled to accept the award, not just for me but for the entire team,” says Hallborg.
“There is still so much to do,” says Hallborg, “this doesn’t mean I will just sit back and relax, the team will work even harder to ensure that we have a cleaner planet for all to enjoy.”
She has also been helping the Kootenay Native Plant Society with their Kootenay Gallery garden enhancement project to create habitat for bees and butterflies. She asked if the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society if they wanted to get involved and they told her about the community weed pull program.
That’s where volunteers use hand tools to remove an invasive plant infestation. Hallborg, recruited a group of volunteers to participate in such events at the Kootenay Gallery area in both 2021 and 2022 to remove invasive Scotch broom. The event raised $500, which went towards the garden enhacement.
Deshpande, who recently relocated to Castlegar, first volunteered with the society at a native planting day at the Kootenay Gallery in 2021. He took the initiative to seek additional volunteer opportunities using his technology skills. Over the winter he used his website development experience and helped the society streamline their online membership process.
“Helping for a worthy cause is fulfilling, and helping organizations to grow is what I strive to do,” says Deshpande.
“I was honoured, and very pleased when I heard I got an award.”
“We are thrilled to recognize Olga and Tanmay,” program co-ordinator Laurie Frankcom said in a news release. “All of their volunteer work is greatly appreciated. It is clear that they both care deeply about their community and want to make the world a better place. It is inspirational to witness such dedication in our region.”