Home > About

Who We Are

DSC07664REAL (Large)The Rideau Environmental Action League conducts community-wide environmental projects and promotes environmental improvements within the Town of Smiths Falls and Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties.

REAL was incorporated as a not-for-profit community organization in 1989. It formed a charity, the Rideau Environment Trust, in 1990.

In 1998, REAL formed the Lanark & Leeds Green Community (LL Green) and in 2000 Evergreen Avenue, as projects of REAL. LL Green engaged homeowners in specific actions to reduce their impact on energy use, water, shorelines and land. It’s projects are now considered direct projects of REAL. Evergreen Avenue is both a living memorial to veterans and peacekeepers from the area and a community beautification project that features native vegetation.

In 2010 REAL became a registered Canadian charity, and the Rideau Environment Trust was dissolved in 2011.

REAL works with its volunteers, members, donors, friends and supporters, and with schools, municipalities, agencies, businesses, and government ministries to achieve its Mission and Goals.

See a PDF of our REAL brochure.

See a video produced in honour of our 25th anniversary by Arranel Studios.

(back to top)

Mission & Goals

Our mission: To protect, preserve and enhance our environment for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations through advocacy, education, recognition and projects within Eastern Ontario.

Our Goals

a. To organize or participate in environmental projects designed to:
• preserve and protect flora and fauna;
• preserve, protect and restore rivers; or
• improve the urban environment.

b. To educate and increase the public’s understanding of the environment and its importance by offering courses, seminars, conferences and meetings and by collecting and disseminating information on that topic.

c. To develop and provide programs promoting the protection and preservation of the environment through re-use, reduction, recycling and recovery of waste and to educate institutions, industries, businesses and individuals about efficient waste management systems.

d. To conduct research relating to the environment and to disseminate the results of such research.

(back to top)

Board of Directors

DSC07669REAL (Large)REAL is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors which:

  • Determines outcomes
  • Sets long term goals, clarifies issues and voices problems
  • Develops and implements the strategic plan
  • Sets budgets
  • Defines policies and monitors implementation
  • Carries out an evaluation process on activities/projects

 Directors 2016-2017

  • Barb Hicks (President)
  • Jason Takerer (Vice-President)
  • Karen Schecter (Treasurer)
  • Donna McKenna (Secretary)
  • Peter Au
  • Keely Maddock
  • Manager, Environmental Projects and Executive Director, REAL Deal: Susan Brandum
  • Advisor from Town of Smiths Falls: Lorraine Allen

See Bios of our Board and Staff.

(back to top)


REAL has a number of standing committees: Executive, Finance and Fundraising, Membership, Communications, and the Municipal Team. Major fundraisers usually have a committee associated with them as well. Each other activity has a Board member assigned to it, who is responsible for reporting its progress at the monthly Board meetings. Funded environmental projects are the responsibility of Susan Brandum.

(back to top)

Annual Report

(back to top)

Lake 88 LogoTake a listen to REAL’s Sue Brandum and Lake 88’s Kassina Ryder discuss REAL, the Rideau Mississippi Take it Back Recyclopedia and REAL’s plans for an Environment Centre on our site on In Focus, November 7, 2012.

June 11, 2013: Sue Brandum and Ian Sutton discuss Environment Week, the REAL Deal, energy audits and well water.

Click on In Focus, or on the appropriate month in the side bar to find the interview.

REAL’s Business Plan

The REAL Board of Directors is guided by a Business Plan  that lays out the values that drive us as an organization, the issues we face, our vision, the key areas and projects that we plan to focus on, the results we want to achieve.

The Business Plan grew out of a Strategic Planning exercise  and the community consultation  we held in September 2002, called “Stopping the Slide”.


Key Result Areas of REAL’s Business Plan 

1. REAL’s capacity built

Objective: To ensure that REAL has sufficient human and financial resources to achieve its mission and goals.

2. Resources conserved

Objective: To encourage the conservation of resources , including but not limited to materials, energy, water, and soil.

raft3. Watersheds protected

Objective: To ensure there is sufficient clean ground and surface water for all human and non-human species, that natural water-cleaning and quantity-balancing systems are maintained and that our citizens conserve water and become wise water users.

4. Climate change addressed

Objective: To protect air quality, contribute to the reversal in the growth of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and promote and facilitate adaptations to climate change.

5. Public educated

Objective: To have a public that is cognizant of, committed to, and actively promotes the best of world-wide trends in environmental solutions on a local level.

More specific goals are listed under each objective. If you would like to see a complete PDF version of the Business Plan, please contact us.

(back to top)


REAL holds memberships and reciprocal memberships with a number of local, provincial and federal organizations:

(back to top)

Corporate Members

REAL is very grateful for the continued support of our corporate members:

(back to top)

Honorary Members

REAL awards Honorary Memberships to acknowledge a person’s longterm commitment to REAL and exemplary volunteer contributions.  These members were influential in the development of REAL and continue to be an integral part of our organization. Current honorary members are shown below.

(back to top)