Assessing a community on its tidiness effort, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, floral displays and landscape areas with community involvement as the thread that runs through each criterion, is what makes this program valuable to our participants. Having the unique CiB criteria to follow creates a focus and deadline to affect real change.
Local committees will build a team of volunteers with varied backgrounds: landscape design professional, urban planner, master gardener, media, economic development, chamber of commerce or business owner, parks and recreation, public works, Mayor or Councillor all working together to help their community. It also provides recognition for local volunteers that go under the radar: garden clubs, trail groups, cemetery historians, or the local that picks up litter while walking his dog. Every community has champions that contribute to making their hometown better. The Communities in Bloom program provides a place to recognize these efforts.
There are three participation levels to the Communities in Bloom program: Provincial, National and International. At the provincial level: municipal participants are assessed against themselves to improve their bloom score through the annual evaluation. It may take 3 to 5 years to achieve 5-Blooms. Once a community has achieved this level, they may choose to enter the National CiB program to compete against other 5-Bloom communities of similar population size from across Canada. Some have gone onto International competition.
Each province has their own Provincial Edition and in 2005, BC Communities in Bloom (BC CiB) was formed as a society to support our volunteers who give their time as specialists in horticulture, parks and recreation, municipal management and community engagement. At the heart of our organization is our team of dedicated volunteers who bring a wealth of experience to our society as facilitators, board and committee members in addition to representing their geographical region.
Our provincial program (BC CiB) focuses on three main events:
- A spring training workshop to prepare new and returning facilitators and board members.
- In the summer (typically the third week in July), we coordinate the travel of multiple pairs of facilitators to various regions of the province to evaluate registered participants over a 24 to 48-hour period.
- In early fall, a CiB community hosts the Annual Provincial Awards and Conference weekend. This is an educational opportunity for all participants to network and culminates in the awards evening where the facilitators present the bloom certificates and reports.
The CiB program works at its absolute best when it is a collaborative effort made up of a variety of key stakeholders.
After almost 20 years of Communities in Bloom in Canada, we are encouraged to see former 5-Bloom national participants registering back in the provincial program to engage a new group of volunteers in
People, Plants & Pride…Growing Together!