Study and Action Group for the Environment (S.A.G.E.) : Environmentalist of the Year – 1999 the Dr. Victor Cecilioni Award winner of the Environmentalist of the Year in 1999.

L-R: Loueen Madill, Alison van Nie, Nettie Allen, Jean Wilson, Joe McLaughlin.

This Westdale United Church group is being recognized for its dedication to improving the environmental health and well-being of our community. S.A.G.E. has been active for ten years and is co-chaired by Nettie Allen and Loueen Madill. Other key members include Sandra Thomaidis, Alison van Nie, Jean Wilson and Joe McLaughlin.

Westdale United Church being filmed by Vision TV for program about its outreach and environmental initiatives (1993)

Among the group’s accomplishments are the elimination of stryrofoam disposables and pesticide use at the church; establishment of composting and recycling and hazardous waste collection programs; developing an organic garden at the church with the produce directed to Wesley Urban Ministries; building a partnership with a rural church to grow grains for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; promoting ‘fair trade’ coffee, and other environmentally friendly products; circulating petitions on environmental issues such as global warming; and arranging an environmental concerns booth and an Earth Day church service.

Westdale United Fall Fair. S.A.G.E. information display and sale of environmentally responsible products by Sandra Thomaidis.

In addition to concrete actions to reduce the environmental impact of the church and its members, the group promotes ongoing discussion of environmental issues through the church’s weekly bulletin and arranges for speakers to present information on these issues. Their outreach efforts provide healthy food to people both in Hamilton and abroad, including over $18,000 to assist local food production in other countries.

Planting tomatoes in S.A.G.E.’s garden.

S.A.G.E. is a model of thinking globally and acting locally, encouraging and facilitating environmental stewardship in our community and elsewhere.

Fall Fair Booth. Reuben, Isaac and Alison van Nie selling rolled oats which was part of S.A.G.E.’s growing project with Letterbreen United Church in Mt. Forest for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.


Harvest from S.A.G.E.’s organic garden at Westdale United. The produce is for Wesley Centre. S.A.G.E. members: Wesley Bates (plaid jacket) and Nettie Allen (kneeling). Others: Kigar family. (Oct. 1993)

Girls in church youth group harvesting S.A.G.E.’s tomatoes.