A short summary of some of the wonderful and touching tributes shared by the people that were touched by Lenami's spirit and moved by the person she was.  We all miss her.  Thank you to the people who have contributed to make these tributes possible.

Lenami Godinez Avila Memorial Video

A tribute video in honour of Lenami and the beautiful person that she was. Stories and comments from Lenami's friends and partner. She is loved and missed. Special thanks to Kat Louman-Gardiner, Mairin Deery, and Sean Tassell for their support in pulling this video together.

Legislative Tribute - The Honourable Dr. Terry Lake (BC Ministry of Environment 2012)

A touching tribute to Lenami Godinez Avila by the Honourable Terry Lake (MLA Kamloops-North Thompson; Minster of Health 2013, Minister of Environment 2012) made on the floor of the BC Legislature in May 2012.  Dr. Lake speaks to the person Lenami was to her co-workers at the Ministry of Environment and provides some of their touching comments.

Reposted with permission from Hansard Services.


Legislative Tribute - The MLA Spencer Herbert (Opposition Critic for the Tourism, Arts and Culture 2012)

A touching tribute to Lenami Godinez Avila by the MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert (MLA Vancouver-West End; Opposition Environmental Critic 2013, Opposition Tourism, Culture and the Arts 2012) made on the floor of the BC Legislature in May 2012. Mr. Herbert recounts meeting Lenami while she was volunteering at the Food Scraps Drop Spot in Vancouver's West End. 

Reposted with permission from Hansard Services.

Memorial Bench - Garibaldi Provincial Park

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’ll be doing the impossible.
— St. Francis de Assisi

Garibaldi Lake was the first place that Lenami and I we went camping together. It was the first time in her life that Lenami got to see a glacial lake and alpine meadows. I remember seeing her eyes widen when she first saw the turquoise water in Barrier then Garibaldi Lake and the look of awe on her face as she took it all in. We spent a long time sitting, talking and just being happy together, along the shores of this lake.

It was Lena’s first backpacking trip, and I remember being amazed at how well she handled it – not once did she complain or ask to slow down. She completely embraced the trip and the experience and fell in love with the outdoors. She was in awe of the scenery, wanted to know if all lakes up in the mountains were that colour and immediately wanted to do more camping trips. She even started to acquire her own gear not long after that trip.

I hiked in alone the first time I went to see Lenami’s bench. When I found it, on Battleship Island, three people were wadding in the water in front of it and had put their food and gear on and around it.  Without telling them why, I asked them if I could sit down, and one of them turned to me and said ‘yes sit down, it’s magical.’

There really wasn’t any better introduction to her bench for me. I wanted a bench where I could sit down, talk to her, and hopefully feel her next to me. There may not have been enough magic in the bench to give me back what I wanted, but I’m glad it’s a place where other people can go to sit down, relax, and find themselves in awe of their surroundings. And for those that go there and feel like it’s a magical place – I’d like to tell myself that I know why.

My sincerest thanks to Lenami’s co-workers at the Ministry of Environment who fund-raised to make this bench possible and to Chris Platz and Kendra Wood form the BC Parks regional staff for installing it. 

- David

Memorial Bench - Cultus Lake Provincial Park

“Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”
— Les Brown

Lenami is a special person and friend to me.  I still miss her a lot and I think this is why it is hard for me to write about her as it brings back so many happy memories.  You might think that sounds weird but it's when you come to the realization that she's not here with us.

I almost never went to the bench dedication ceremony and used every excuse in my mind not to go, but I am happy I went.  I had a relaxing drive to Cultus Lake by myself and as usual got lost on the way to the bench location.  I am known for getting lost and eventually finding my way.  The day was cold but sunny and the only thought that came to me was that Lenami would've liked this.  The bench was beneath a giant tree and I decided to take pictures from behind so you could get a view of the lake and to send to friends who were not able to be at the ceremony.  They picked a great location for the bench as you can just enjoy the view of the lake and mountains with your thoughts.  To me, everything was pristine and as close to nature as you could get.  Something Lenami would've like. 

I don't remember much that was said at the ceremony but we were all given flowers to place in the lake as a tribute to Lenami. You could feel the love and admiration of all of Lenami's co-workers and friends as we all had an opportunity to talk about Lenami.  Her co-workers and friends had all these great stories or situations they had with Lenami.  How she was excited to be collecting garbage on the weekend, riding behind a garbage truck and having her mom follow the garbage truck in Mexico like a scene out of a movie.  Sneaking onto the garbage dump to talk to the manager.  The bench and the ceremony was a perfect way to honour Lenami's memory.

"Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you'll land among the stars" - when I think of this quote, I always know that no matter what I do or whatever the results, Lenami will always be there by my side.

I am grateful to Encorp for their generosity in providing the bench at Cultus Lake for people to enjoy themselves with their thoughts or just enjoy the view.  Even though they may not know Lenami, they will have happy memories that Lenami still provides to us.

- Jimmy

Memorial Bench - Regional Recycling Depot, Richmond, BC

“Her passion for zero waste lives on forever in our hearts and deeds”
— Tamara Shulman and Regional Recycling

This bench located at the Regional Recycling depot in Richmond BC was donated by Regional Recycling. Many thanks to Regional Recycling's team for supporting Lenami's Endowment fund at SFU and for giving her a bench in their little garden oasis.

Burning Man Tribute

I focused on one ember and thought about Lena and all that she brought to the world.
— Christina

As with everyone who has known Lena, honouring her life has brought pain but also joy. In August 2012 I attended Burning Man, a week-long gathering with a somewhat counter-culture feel of over 60,000 people in the Nevada desert. Although Lena had not ever been to it, I believe she would have greatly appreciated the 10 principles guiding this temporary and innovative community, which are: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-relience, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. A main feature of Burning Man is the Temple, a structure that serves as a place to remember, celebrate, and release. The Temple is the sacred and solemn heart of Burning Man that allows participants to not only express grief, but also seek healing and renewal. Many who visit write messages on the structure or leave photos and other physical mementos representing something to be honoured or left behind. At the end of the week, the Temple and everything placed within it are burned in a moving ritual. It is a powerful lesson in impermanence.

I had placed photos of Lena in the Temple, along with a few words: "Lenami passed tragically way too soon. May her partner David and all other loved ones find healing and peace. May all of us carry on Lenami's spirit of playfulness, adventure, compassion, and service to others. Lena will live on through us."

When the structure burned late on the final evening, embers flew up and over the silent crowd of tens of thousands of people. I focused on one ember and thought about Lena and all that she brought to the world. It was strange timing that at that very moment the ember suddenly lit up ever more brightly and flew high above the others. That made me smile (through my tears) and I could only think "You go girl!".

It is important to create something that will not only carry Lena's spirit forward, but continue gifting to the world. The SFU scholarship has done this very thing and I appreciate everyone who has initiated and supported it to date. Please contribute what you can and spread the word.


her meaning, our blossoms

my favorite time of year has shifted
her meaning, infused into cherry blossoms
has nothing left on my fall leaves
drenched into the sidewalk cement
I relish in the thoughts of
her white and pink blossoms
swirling and twirling around
just as her essence-
gives us light
and hope
but everyday goes by
and we can’t see the blossoms
they are only our memories

until the next year flips around
and spring
renews our delight

a way for us to visit
her cherished thoughts
her inspired bicycling
her visions of a better world
are still immense in my heart
in the dark moments
I think of the happiness
she left behind

pink petals
white blossoms
green nature
sunshine peaks

her stunning soul

nature will keep growing
just as her meaning
infuses our blossoms


- original poem by Tanille Geib. Tanille further made a tribute to Lenami in her book: "Love and Cooking"