NEAT is a non-profit group dedicated to helping residents, schools, and businesses live a greener life in British Columbia. Primarily, NEAT provides environmental education, but also assists organizations and institutions develop strategic plans to reduce waste and conserve resources.
NORTHERN - Where we live and work.
ENVIRONMENTAL - What we care about.
ACTION - We don't just talk, we do!
TEAM - We work together to reach our goals.
Northern Environmental Action Team (NEAT) is a not-for-profit society that was formed in 1989 as a volunteer community group with the original mandate to lessen the environmental impacts of the local waste stream. Since then, the focus of NEAT has broadened to include conservation of all resources.
NEAT is operated by an executive which oversees educational programming, public relations, special events, fundraising and the operation of the office.
These programs are developed to increase awareness of waste reduction and resource conservation and other environmental issues that affect our community.
NEAT is a community organization supported by residents and businesses. Members and enthusiastic volunteers assist in “spreading the message” through their actions at home and at work. The Board of Directors and staff are personally committed to NEAT’s vision and mission statements, guiding principles and core values.
NEAT’s definition of “team” includes partnerships. We have developed excellent relationships with school districts and individual schools while nurturing our existing partnerships with government, businesses and organizations.
NEAT is based in Fort St. John with satellite offices in Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Fort Nelson. We have an outreach team that covers the entire BC Peace region. We are constantly expanding our efforts, and are proud to be the leading source for environmental education in Northern BC! Our region is blessed with incredible beauty, clean air, pristine water and people with a dynamic spirit. These combine to make our communities desirable places in which to live, work and play. We celebrate our community in everything we do.
NEAT Board of Directors, 2015/2016
Colleen Brown - President
Adam Nguyen - Vice President
Margaret Fenton - Treasurer
Margaret Fenton B.Sc., P.Ag. R.P.F. is a Natural Resources Professional with over thirteen years experience in natural resources management through government and the consulting arenas. In addition to Ms. Fenton participating as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for NEAT, she has mentored many Agrology and Forestry professionals through the articling process, and is active in the women's friendship group Beta Sigma Phi. Ms. Fenton volunteers for the Fort St. John Metis Society, helping with funding proposals, and is the designated oil and gas consultation professional. Sometimes you can see Ms. Fenton helping her mother at the Farmers' Market, where their baking and handmade moccasins are on display.
Sarah McConnell - Secretary
Bruce Kosugi – Director
Bruce has lived in the north (Fort Nelson and Fort St John) for more than10 years. Resource conservation, particularly recycling opportunities, has been a challenge for northern communities. NEAT has a long history of successfully overcoming many of these challenges. Bruce is part of Spectra Energy’s Environment, Health and Safety Department based in Charlie Lake. Charlie Lake is also home to the Charlie Lake Conservation Society to which Bruce is also actively involved. Bruce is “proud to be part of a dedicated and energetic team of volunteers to promote community awareness and involvement with local resource conservation.”
Lisa Belleville - Director
RuthAnn Darnall – Honorary Director
Ruth Ann, a retired teacher, has lived in the North Peace for almost 60 years. She came to FSJ with her family from Edmonton. She graduated from NPSS before heading to UBC for her post secondary education. After teaching for one year in northern Ontario, she returned to marry Bob.
The Darnalls have been married for over 40 years. They live on a farm just north of FSJ where they enjoy watching the birds and wildlife. Every year from November to March, they do 10 bird counts for Project Feeder Watch. Their two big dogs and a cat round out their family.
Ruth Ann visits 3 classrooms a week to sing and play song games. Once a month, she and a class visit the Care Home to do the same thing. Other volunteer hours are spent working with the North Peace Mental Health Society, Unicef, Peace Valley Environmental Association, Meals on Wheels, Save Our Northern Seniors and of course NEAT.
In the summer, Bob and Ruth Ann enjoy spending time on the Peace River with their jet boat when they can find time from haying, gardening and raspberry picking.
In the early 70’s Ruth Ann began to worry that there was too much going to waste. There was no place to recycle tins and paper. For years, until NEAT established the recycling depot, the Darnall’s stored material until there was a place to take it. She is pleased that more materials can be recycled now and is looking forward to a solution to ‘e-waste’ for the Peace River area.
Ruth Ann says, “There is satisfaction in doing something positive. People need to hear how they can make a difference. NEAT does that! We are ordinary people leading by example.”
Jarrod Bell - Honorary Director
Jarrod has lived in Fort St John since 2002. He moved here from Kamloops for work and has been looking for a way to give back to the community that he now calls home. Jarrod was looking for a way to give back to the community and found volunteering opportunities with the Hospital Foundation during the CT Scanner campaign and found NEAT shortly after. He has been interested in recycling, energy conservation and waste reduction since he was young; NEAT is a perfect fit.
Jarrod works for School District 60 as the district principal of technology services. His teaching experience included math, physics, chemistry, science, and computer sciences. The physics and science curriculum frequently afforded him the opportunity to teach about energy, efficiency and conservation. Jarrod is a proud member of NEAT and hopes to sustain and grow the organization.
Andy Larstone – Past President
Andy was born in Ontario and migrated to BC in 1977. By 1980 he had worked his way north to Fort St, John and subsequently apprenticed as an electrician for two years. Due to a local recession, Andy completed his apprenticeship in the Lower mainland before returning to the Peace Country. In partnership with his brother Phil, he formed an electrical contracting company (i.e. Larstone Electric) that still operates locally as a corporation.
Both Phil & Andy were avid supporters of sustainable living practices and sought to expand this philosophy by sharing ideas with others. To facilitate this endeavor, they founded the Northern Environmental Action Team in 1989. NEAT existed originally under the umbrella of the Peace Valley Environmental Association due in part to Ruth Anne Darnall’s efforts. Since then NEAT has matured into an essential regional resource for environmental management & knowledge. Andy currently resides in Fort St. John with his wife Dorri and children Kelly, Joy & Adam. Two cats round out the household. Andy & Dorri enjoy organic gardening and composting at their lot in Matthew’s Park. Due to NEAT’s commendable efforts, Andy & his family can Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to their heart’s content. Andy believes that “sustainable living sustains life” and offers the biblical suggestion to “do unto Mother Earth as you would have her do unto you.”
Sue Popesku, Fund Development
As a Resource Development Officer in Fort St. John, B.C. Sue has helped many non-profit organizations raise funds for various projects and facilities. As the Artspace Administrator (1970-80’s) she conducted the fundraising for the construction of the Fort St. John-North Peace Museum ($1.5 million) and North Peace Cultural Centre ($4.6 million). As the Executive Director of the Hospital Foundation (1996-2006) she developed the Foundation from the ground up. Sue current works with the Fort St. John Community Arts Council with project development.
Gordon Gentles, Legal Advisor
Gordon has practiced law in Fort St. John since 1986 after completing post-secondary degrees in commerce and law at the University of British Columbia. He has been a director of the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation for over ten years and previously served as director of the Fort St. John Airshow Society and has been involved in other volunteer organizations.