With longer days in our sights and spring on the horizon, it's the perfect time to pause and reflect on all the work being done to create a healthier, sustainable future for our community and to get involved in sustainability initiatives taking place in and around Kelowna. 

Warmer weather means it's time to get your bike out of winter storage and once again use it for trips out and around Kelowna. Be sure to mark your calendars for Spring GoByBike Week, which will take place from May 31 to June 6, 2021—start putting together your cycling bubble and thinking about all the trips you can take this spring by bike. The City of Kelowna has secure bike lockers available for riders and a program for bike rack installation for businesses wishing to encourage cycling and to support cyclists.

We are fortunate to have numerous lakes in our region, including Okanagan Lake, which enriches the quality of life for residents and attracts visitors. Keeping the shores of our lakes clean is one way to contribute to the sustainability of our region. The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a national initiative delivered by Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, is reopen for solo, household or small team clean-ups. Make a difference one piece of garbage at a time by downloading the Shoreline Cleanup checklist, which includes helpful resources and COVID-19 protocols, and then planning and executing your own cleanup.   

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is still leading the Biosphere Commitment Program where companies can formally commit to incorporating systemic changes in their everyday business operations to adhere to the United National 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This year, new initiatives include complimentary energy, water, and waste audits to help identify potential savings opportunities and carbon workshops where Committed Businesses have the option to use carbon tracking software complimentary for a year to measure their carbon footprint.  

Lastly, now is the time to plan how you can celebrate Earth Day, and its theme of Restore Our Earth, on April 22. What can you and your company or organization do to really make a difference this year? The Earth Day Action Toolkit provides some ideas and helpful resources. We encourage you to explore options and ideas for events and celebrations while keeping current COVID-19 restrictions in mind. Be sure to tag us on social media when promoting your Earth Day initiatives and use #exploreKelowna, as well as #RestoreOurEarth and #EarthDay2021.   

Tourism Kelowna's Sustainability Committee is always on the lookout for other great initiatives that we can support. We are committed to making a difference in our community and have set up a new webpage to monitor our sustainability indicators.  If you have other great ideas on how our team and other tourism businesses in our region can be involved, please contact me at jennifer@tourismkelowna.com.