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Yarmouth's Gert Sweeney, Store Next Door to get Mobius awards

A Yarmouth County resident and a Yarmouth organization are among the recipients of this year’s Mobius Awards of Environmental Excellence, which will be presented Oct. 25 in Halifax.

Gert Sweeney, who has done a great deal of work over the years organizing cleanups and promoting environmental awareness, will receive an award in the Hall of Fame category.

The Store Next Door will receive an award recognizing its work turning old hockey sticks into furniture.

The Mobius awards are presented annually by Divert NS.

In its nomination for Sweeney, Waste Check said Sweeney has been a “force to be reckoned with in the Yarmouth area ... Many people know her as one of the ‘litter ladies of Cape Forchu’ who pick up litter on a regular basis, but she has done much more than that. In our region, there is no one that can match the passion and commitment that Gert has shown towards waste.”

 Sweeney started cleaning up in her neighbourhood in the mid-1990s and she gradually was able to build on the initiative in a number of ways, spreading her message and getting others involved in cleaning their environment.

“Gert has gained the respect of businesses that work around the harbour,” Waste Check said it its nomination of Sweeney. “She managed to convince them that the area needed to be cleaned and they did it.”

 Sweeney was nominated for a Mobius award in 2007, earning an honourable mention.

In 2013, Waste Check inducted Sweeney into its Club 300 in recognition of her environmental efforts.

“Gert’s dedication and persistence goes to show that one core dedicated person can encourage others to come out and get involved to make a difference,” Waste Check said in nominating Sweeney for her Mobius Hall of Fame award.

Another of this year’s Mobius award recipients – The Store Next Door in Yarmouth – is being recognized for its hockey stick furniture project. The organization uses old sticks to create various products. The first item produced was a headboard. Since then the product line has grown considerably to include chairs, tables, benches, trophy and coat racks and more.

“The initiative took off and has grown to be their most successful project so far,” Waste Check said in its Mobius nomination for The Store Next Door.

Aside from the environmental component of the project – making and selling furniture using hockey sticks that otherwise might end up in the landfill – it also provides employment.

“There are many jobs that are created out of this endeavour,” the nomination said. “This initiative provides sustainable job opportunities for persons with disabilities.”

The Store Next Door is part of YACRO Social Enterprises, which includes the Shanty Café and All Ways Us. All three are based at 6B Central St. in downtown Yarmouth. (YACRO is Yarmouth Association for Community Residential Options.)

Waste Check says all three enterprises, along with their vocational program, are a “shining example” of putting into practice the three environmental R’s of reducing, reusing and recycling through their various activities, the hockey stick furniture project being one of them.

Said Waste Check, referring to YACRO Social Enterprises, “Their work is impressive and has far-reaching impacts in the community.”

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