Project – Lake Planning at Lake Bernard

Porpoise’s Purpose in the Lake Bernard community: Get the Lake Bernard community set up to write their own lake plan to keep Lake Bernard healthy and beautiful for years to come.

How did it happen? With the assistance of several community members, Porpoise Group synthesized background research, revisited old conversations, and struck up new ones relevant to the future of Lake Bernard (which is supposedly the largest lake in the world without an island). The research was compiled into a document titled “This Is Not A Lake Plan”, because it wasn’t a lake plan. It was the nitty-gritty science and background to help set the stage for involved community members to write their own lake plan. It’s much more powerful to write your own plans than have someone else write them!

The process of creating “This Is Not A Lake Plan” involved:

-Scientific research with aquatic systems expertise

-Multi-stakeholder engagement

-Vision creation through facilitated workshops

“This Is Not a Lake Plan” can be read in two formats:

As a Microsoft Word document here

Or as a PDF document here

In the time since “This Is Not A Lake Plan” was written (July 2011), involved lake community members have used it to write a first draft of a lake plan that will be presented for consultation in Summer 2012. Sweet!!

Very special thanks to Jocelyn Palm, Jim Schmidt, and the entire Glen Bernard Camp for driving the lake planning process forward.


Glen Bernard Camp Eco-Education Program

The existing program was already at the very top of the pack in Canada. Porpoise Group’s work focused on keeping the program fresh with new activities and different teaching approaches. These included:

-Making hydrological and topographical maps of the Lake Bernard watershed available to staff and campers

-Teaching campers how to use basic water quality testing kits

-Using the maps and kits in combination to understand how watersheds work, visually looking at and experiencing the interaction of streams, groundwater, surface water, and the human element.

Project – McGill Office of Sustainability

Porpoise’s Purpose: Clean up a couple messes and help document some lessons learned so the Office of Sustainability could continue to foster a culture of sustainability at McGill University.

How did it happen? The first Director of the Office of Sustainability at McGill started work in 2007 and left at the end of May 2011. He left very few written records of what had been done, and a few projects were in disarray. David Gray-Donald was brought in to try to get some important information out of the outgoing Director, and diffuse a situation the Director was making unnecessarily tense regarding a major composting project on campus.

As of now, the composting system is running smoothly, the Office of Sustainability is planning a major community-wide visioning and action-planning process, and David Gray-Donald is working full-time just up the street from the Office as Sustainability Coordinator for the Students’ Society of McGill University. David is currently co-leading the community-wide process with staff from the Office of Sustainability and some amazing students.

Project – Sears Home Energy Campaign

Porpoise’s Purpose: Help Sears Canada help Canadians to save money on their energy bills by referring appropriate services.This was done by providing “Home Energy Tune-ups”, a program designed by Sears Canada.

How did it happen? Porpoise Group put together a team of five (5) energetic and knowledgeable representatives to visit interested customers dwellings and show how Sears Canada could help them save money on their energy bills. Customers were provided with simple next-steps and long-term considerations to save energy. Customers often asked for additional services from Sears Canada, helping them realize that Sears is a leader in providing important products and services for responsible and conscientiousness living.

The same team that provided the home visits also staffed the Sears Eco booth at the National Home Show and the Green Living Show in Toronto.

Since Porpoise Group helped with the Home Energy Tune-ups in Ontario in fall 2010, the service has expanded in Ontario and into BC.

What does Porpoise Group do?

Ya, what does this company do? The last couple blogs talked about staff and ideas and connections and all that, but what is actually happening to get money in the bank? I will be blogging about each individual project/contract that Porpoise Group has handled so you see can learn from those experiences and see how the business works, but here are the basics for now:

Environmental education delivery

Stakeholder engagement

Conflict resolution



Watershed management

Energy advising

Organic waste management (medium-scale)