Former librarian Lisa Mintz is so busy, she keeps two laptops in her home office to keep up with all the work she has.
Still, her mind drifts occasionally to something that happened in late November.
Mintz won a 2021 Nature Inspiration award, a national prize given by the Canadian Museum of Nature. The award recognizes people and organizations whose actions contribute to nature preservation.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I’m actually still having trouble assimilating this.”
Environmentalists, with help of public, categorize biodiversity in Saint-Jacques Escarpment
She was honoured for her work fighting to protect the Saint-Jacques escarpment, a green space between St. Jacques Street in Notre-Dame-de-Grace and the Turcot interchange.
In 2015, Mintz became concerned that the future of the green space was threatened after hundreds of trees were cut down to facilitate the reconstruction of the interchange.
“I found out later it was two hectares of the falaise and I got mad, and I started the group,” she said.
Through the group, Save the Falaise, she pressured governments and residents alike to recognize the importance of the space. In 2020, the City of Montreal made the 60-hectare space a park.
“It provides tremendous environmental benefits to the surrounding communities in terms of keeping the temperature down in the summer,” said Roger Jochym, a Save the Falaise committee member.
Malcolm Mcrae, another committee member agrees.
“She’s basically changed my life,” he said.
“The falaise is become this big thing where I come down and work at cleanups.”
Montreal moves forward with Parc de la falaise plan
The project to rebuild the interchange is now complete and so is the “green belt” — an extra green space the transport ministry built at the bottom of the escarpment to make up for the 200 trees it cut down.
While it’s not exactly what Mintz campaigned for, she said she’s happy with the results.
“It’s a cycling pedestrian path and you can access it now either from Montreal west or from the [McGill University Health Centre],” she said.
The ministry has also replanted trees and kept part of a wetland.
Mintz has stepped down from the group and has started another group, called Urban Nature to give workshops on the environment. Those, including Mcrae and Jochym who’ve taken over from her at Save the Falaise, vow to continue her legacy.