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Rotary & Cleantech Commons announce “Environmental Innovators Fund” award winners

$10,000 awarded to advance environmental innovation in Peterborough; Community Futures Peterborough preapproves finalists for $20,000 microloans

Recently, we announced that the Rotary Club of Peterborough and Cleantech Commons have joined forces to promote environmental innovation.

REIF award winners: Carlotta James, Monarch Ultra; Craig Onafrychuk, Baxter Creek Watershed Alliance; Dylan Radcliffe, drones for environmental restoration; Zackary McCue, REPWR. Absent: Christa Plumley, Ava&Ziva. Pictured with Graham Wilkins, Rotary, left, and Martin Yuill, Cleantech Commons, right.

Cleantech Commons teamed up with Rotary as founding Title Partner to launch an initiative known as the Rotary Environmental Innovators Fund (REIF).

You can read that story right here!

The recipients of the 2023 Rotary Environmental Innovators Award were announced at an event hosted by Camp Kawartha on April 27, 2023.

See: Rotary and Cleantech Commons provide almost $10,000 to five environmental innovators in Peterborough area –

Three environmental innovators were each awarded $3,000 to further develop their initiatives to address environmental issues affecting the Peterborough region. Congratulations to Craig, Carlotta and Dylan!

  • Craig Onafrychuk, Baxter Creek Watershed Alliance (BCWA): A collaborative community initiative, the BCWA is dedicated to conserving and enhancing the local watershed. The Alliance is working with community stakeholders and government to monitor ecological systems in the Baxter Creek watershed, educate the broader community, and implement innovative conservation initiatives to protect the natural heritage through landowner stewardship plans and conservation agreements.
  • Carlotta James, Monarch Ultra: The Monarch Ultra raises awareness about the decline of monarch populations through its long-distance running events, social media channels, the media, and partnerships with schools, non-profits, and municipalities. This year, they are planning Peterborough’s first-ever Monarch Butterfly Festival and Race to bolster monarch butterfly conservation efforts. The organization is also planning festivals and races in the USA and Mexico.
  • Dylan Radcliffe, creator of a drone for large-scale environmental restoration projects: Dylan has created a drone that broadcasts high-value tree and tallgrass seed with precision over large areas to help restore essential ecosystems. The drone operates autonomously with limited operator intervention and can be constructed with tools commonly available in school or library maker spaces. The intention is to release the project as an open-source design – a relatively new concept in the environmental sector.


Given the applicants’ exceptional commitment to environmental conservation, two additional finalists each received $300. Congratulations to Zackary and Christa!

  • Zackary McCue, REPWR: REPWR designs and builds renewable energy systems for the intermodal shipping network, which provide clean power for the shipping industry and lower greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.
  • Christa Plumley, Ava&Ziva: As a sustainable clothing brand, Ava&Ziva strives to reduce the environmental impact of the clothing industry by using deadstock fabric for their high-quality, small-batch garments.


“This exciting collaboration between Cleantech Commons and Rotary will help create pathways for skilled youth and talented graduates to start and grow their own companies and find employment in the environmental sector right here in Peterborough,” says Martin Yuill.

The response to our call for environmental champions has been phenomenal,” Rotarian Graham Wilkins, who is leading the REIF initiative, told us.

The high-calibre applications we received are a testament to the environmental leadership and collaboration within our community. We look forward to bolstering our support for initiatives to address society’s most pressing environmental challenges in new, innovative ways.

Helping start-ups and entrepreneurs bring their innovative green technologies to market is at the heart of what we do at Cleantech Commons,” says Martin Yuill, Cleantech Commons Executive Director.

That is why we are so proud to partner with Rotary to launch the Environmental Innovators Fund.”

Initiatives such as REIF,” says Yuill, “serve as an important launchpad for both high-impact startups and high-impact environmental advances that will help move society forward.”

The REIF partners have several exciting plans to grow the competition in the coming months.

Graham Wilkins, Rotary; Ron Back, Deputy Mayor, Township of Selwyn; and Martin Yuill, Executive Director, Cleantech Commons

In addition to the cash prizes, Community Futures Peterborough executive director, Devon Girard, announced at the awards ceremony that this year’s winners have all been pre-approved by Community Futures for microloans of up to $20,000 each in order to move their ventures forward.

A huge shoutout to our friends from Community Futures for so generously stepping up to support these incredible local environmental entrepreneurs.

See: Environmentalist Innovators Fund awards nearly $10K to first five recipients – Peterborough Examiner and Innovators Fund awards nearly $10K to first five recipients – Toronto Star

About the Rotary Environmentalist Innovators Fund (REIF)

The Rotary Environmentalist Innovators Fund was created by a collection of active citizens and businesses – the environmental champions group – to support and advance the passion of local environmental innovators—environmentalists working on some of the top environmental concerns facing us today and impacting us locally. The goal is to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, and remediation by supporting new environmental initiatives in the Peterborough area. Learn more at

For more information or to discuss your involvement in REIF, please contact Catherine Legault, Rotary Environmental Innovators Fund Committee at

See Rotary Club and Cleantech Commons host inaugural Rotary Environmental Innovators Awards, recognizing a number of local environmentalists – PtboCanada