SOUL – How to Get Involved

Are you passionate about environmental issues and interested in forming a local SOUL group in your cottage or rural residential area to address the challenges facing Lake Winnipeg and its watershed? While it may seem like a daunting task, collective action by committed individuals can indeed make a significant difference.

Origins of SOUL: The SOUL initiative began at the 2006 Annual General Meeting of the Grindstone Cottage Owners Association (GCOA), where a board member proposed:

  • A donation of $500 to the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium (LWRC) to support scientific research and education on Lake Winnipeg.
  • A challenge to other lake communities to match or exceed this donation.

The motion quickly gained support, and the SOUL group was formed on the spot. The group, initially three women, chose to focus on practical and effective actions and to manage the Challenge initiative.

Progress and Impact: Since its inception, SOUL has actively engaged with regional municipalities (RMs), communities, and cottage associations around Lake Winnipeg’s south basin. During the annual Grindstone Days festival, additional funds are raised through donations, reflecting strong community support. Now in its fifth season, SOUL enjoys continued support from the majority of Grindstone residents and its board. The Grindstone Cottage Owners Association is a proud member of the LWRC and has representation on its board of directors.

Activities and Achievements: Here are some of the initiatives SOUL has undertaken over the past four years:

  • Compiling lists of phosphate-free cleaning products, both commercial and homemade.
  • Distributing green gardening information, including eco-friendly fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Organizing contests for youngsters, quizzes about the lake, environmental film screenings, and informative displays.
  • Providing shoreline protection construction information and general facts about the MV Namao and the LWRC.
  • Conducting a water survey to enhance environmental awareness about water use and disposal.
  • Offering a Green Guide for individual action and on-site information about well maintenance and testing.

Get Involved: If you’re inspired to start a SOUL group in your area, the possibilities are limitless. Your group can tailor its activities to the specific needs and interests of your community, fostering a local movement for environmental stewardship.

For guidance, support, and more information on starting a SOUL group, contact us at [email protected]

“Everything is possible if we work towards a common goal.” – The Grindstone Association SOUL group.