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Climate champion a true Vernon leader

Dr. Mary Stockdale helped develop the city’s first ever climate action plan
Dr. Mary Stockdale, who co-founded the Vernon Climate Action Plan, was named Leader of the Year at the 2024 Community Leader Awards, hosted at the Vernon Lodge on Wednesday, March 13. (UBCO Photo)

The co-founder of Vernon’s Climate Action Group is being recognized for her tireless work within the raise awareness around climate issues.

Dr. Mary Stockdale has been given the Leader of the Year award at the 2024 Community Leader Award banquet, hosted at the Vernon Lodge on Wednesday, March 13. The CLA’s are a revived program started by the Vernon Morning Star, to recognize leaders in and around the community that have been working behind the scenes.

There were a number of submissions for 12 specific categories, which range from mentorship, coaching, volunteering and leadership.

Stockdale is a professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, in the department of community, culture and global studies. She teaches and does research in the area of sustainability, the environment and food systems, in the discipline of geography.

Stockdale, together with Bill Darnell, founded the Vernon Climate Action Group, which is now known as Climate Action Now.

“The group did a lot of advocating for action on climate change at the local, provincial and national level,” said Terry Dyck, who nominated Stockdale. “In 2016, she petitioned the city to develop a climate action plan and form a committee to oversee the process. She became co-chair of the committee and then, upon implementing, oversaw its development within the city.”

Stockdale was also a director for the Sustainable Environment Network Society and an early member of the North Okanagan Food Action Society where she helped to run the 100 Mile Diet (eat local) challenge.

Vernon’s cycling advocacy has Stockdale to thank for a lot of its initiatives as well. She worked with community members and city planners to improve bike lanes, support Bike to Work Week and was a part of the Vernon Cycling Advisory Committee.

“Vernon has now become much more cycling friendly,” said Dyck. “It is now recognized as a great place for cycling and Mary had a big role in this.”

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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