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MEET OUR FALL 2018 ENVIRONMENTAL GRANT RECIPIENTS

Twice a year we gather the Grant Review Committee (GRC) together to decide which community projects around the province will receive Alberta Ecotrust environmental grants. The GRC make-up is our corporate and environmental nonprofit Visionary Partners. We gather in the spirit of conversation, collaboration and shared learning to collectively invest dollars that are so generously donated to us.

We use an impact matrix to guide our evaluation and come to all of our decisions using a consensus model. We spend time going through projects one by one. Our team compiles the evaluation data and we then facilitate the GRC through a process to determine the recipients. The conversation is rich, and by the time this part of the agenda comes around there’s excitement and camaraderie.

Once a project is awarded a grant, a GRC member takes on the role of a Project Steward. The steward acts as a resource for the project, and checks in at key points along the timeline.

The coming together of the GRC means our partners hang their organizational hats at the door, but bring in their expertise and interest in working towards healthy ecosystems for all Albertans. By working together our industry and nonprofit colleagues ensure we have shared solutions for today and generations to come. Get in touch with our team to learn more about what partnership can look like with your organization.

“Imperial sees tremendous value as a participant on Alberta Ecotrust’s Grant Review Committee. This multi-stakeholder group includes diverse perspectives and experiences and we appreciate the collaborative and constructive approach to supporting not-for-profit organizations doing important environmental and sustainability work.” – Laura Bishop, Imperial

This fall we had the honour and privilege to grant nearly $250,000 to 13 environmental projects across the province! Check out our 2018 Fall grant recipients, and be sure to click through their profiles to learn more about the people and organizations behind these projects:

 

Major Projects

 

TAKE A STAND FOR GRASSLANDS

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society – Southern Alberta Chapter
Grasslands are one of the most endangered landscapes in North America. Only 43% of Alberta’s native grasslands remain. Approximately 80% of Alberta’s species at risk live within the grassland region. Native grasslands play an important role in climate regulation as a carbon sink. Grasslands education is timely, with the recent announcement to reclassify and expand the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area. CPAWS Southern Alberta hope this sets a precedent and positive example of grassland conservation.

 

LAKEKEEPERS: EQUIPPING CITIZEN SCIENTISTS FOR WINTER LAKE MONITORING

Alberta Lake Management Society
Eutrophication (nutrient enrichment) is one of the most pressing issue facing aquatic ecosystems. In Alberta, where lake ecosystems are naturally nutrient rich, the symptoms of eutrophication may be dramatic. Toxic algal blooms, odours, and anoxia may reduce biodiversity, limit recreation, and threaten the health of humans and wildlife. Much of our awareness of eutrophication is limited to the summer months when health advisories attract the attention of the media and community based monitoring programs such as LakeWatch and LakeKeepers work to monitor the issue. However, the symptoms of eutrophication are not limited to the summer – they extend into the winter and under the ice.

 

BIGHILL CREEK PRESERVATION SOCIETY WATERSHED STUDY – YEAR 2

Bighill Creek Preservation Society
This project is a continuation of a first year of water quality sediment analysis in the Bighill Springs Creek, Cochrane. The second year study is to compare and reaffirm the extensive data obtained over 2017 to 2018.

 

RIPARIAN HEALTH FOLLOW UP – MAKING MORE OF PAST INVESTMENTS

Cows & Fish
This follow-up focused project allows Cows and Fish to capture and showcase past successes in improved riparian management and health. While the ‘all-done’-in-one-year funding approach is great for building and creating small things, it misses the key role of learning, building ecological literacy, skill development and growth that supports a stewardship ethic, and the required time to change social norms, let alone implement actual changes that take time and money, and then see measurable ecological improvements.

 

WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD: IMPLEMENTATION OF CALL OF THE WETLAND

Miistakis Institute
Urban wetlands need our help. Wetland loss in urban context is well documented, management is focused on storm water function and not dual role of maintaining biodiversity and amphibian populations within Calgary are not well understood. Miistakis Institute and partners developed Call of the Wetland, a citizen science program designed to encourage Calgary’s public to visit natural areas and monitor amphibians in the City of Calgary. Volunteers participate by surveying wetlands for amphibians at specified wetlands and reporting their observations via a program smartphone application. Sixty wetlands within the City of Calgary were identified for surveying, and each wetland was visited 9 times during the amphibian season.

 

SEVENGEN: INDIGENOUS STUDENT ENERGY SUMMIT MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Student Energy
The mentorship program will start before the summit with training for both participating professionals and young people who have applied to lead mentorship circles. During the program young leaders will facilitate mentorship circles every morning with their fellow delegates, and professional mentors will join for our career skills session ahead of the Innovation Jam. After SevenGen, Student Energy will have two mentorship check-ins in April and July with the goal of helping all delegates to continue on projects they design during the Summit. Overall they expect to mentor 100 Indigenous Albertan youth through the program and for them to reach at least 700 more in their communities.

 

RESTORATION OF KAINAI NATIVE GRASSLAND HABITAT AND TRADITIONAL PLANT POPULATIONS

The Rockies Institute
Kainai community members are concerned about the loss and degradation of native grasslands and subsequent impacts to their environment including wildlife and traditional use plants which has potentially devastating consequences on their culture. Due to agricultural practices, encroachment of invasive species and the current and future threats of climate change on their land, the community has identified the need to preserve and protect these important cultural, environmental and economic resources on their land.

 

MAKING CONNECTIONS IN THE EAST KANANASKIS GHOST

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
The Eastern Slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains are the headwaters for southern Alberta, which supply the vast majority of the water we drink and use for agriculture. Ensuring this thin band of foothills and mountains is managed for ecosystem health is critical to ensuring the long-term ability of these lands to provide clean and abundant water supplies, flood mitigation, critical habitat for wildlife and fish, as well as quality recreation for all Albertans for generations to come. The East-Kananaskis-Ghost area is at the heart of these Eastern Slopes west of Calgary, and consists of a patchwork of land designations with differing management intents. The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative is collaborating with community members and stakeholders, to call for better conservation and recreation management of these lands.

 

 

Community Projects

 

GREEN ENERGY AND CLIMATE LEARNING LAB

Alberta Council for Environmental Education
This project will support teacher Warren Lake and his Natural Science classroom to develop The Green Energy and Climate Learning Lab, bringing hope and student agency into the discussion of climate change by addressing the role of renewable energy as a solution and taking action to reduce greenhouse gases.

 

INCREASING CAPACITY FOR WATERSHED STEWARDSHIP IN FISH CREEK PROVINCIAL PARK

Friends of Fish Creek
Riparian health along Fish Creek has been assessed as “unhealthy” in many areas due to the compaction of soil and loss of vegetation resulting from frequent off-trail use along its banks. Friends of Fish Creek has been addressing this issue since 2014 as part of their ReWilding (riparian restoration) work. Other stewardship opportunities help Friends of Fish Creek to engage the public on a variety of important issues, always with a goal of highlighting how people can positively contribute and give back to this park community. Some of this work supports areas that Alberta Environment and Parks currently lacks the resources to address, such as the protection of trees from beavers through our tree wrapping program, the pulling of invasive weeds and park clean ups.

 

WEASELHEAD SOUTH-WEST CALGARY RING ROAD IMPACT STUDY 2019 TO 2020

Weaselhead-Glenmore Park Preservation Society
By supporting continuous monitoring of key environmental indicators, this study will provide early warnings of ecosystem change in the Weaselhead, and the opportunity to link any observed change to inadequate or ineffective mitigation practices. It will provide evidence upon which to base requests for remedial action to protect Weaselhead Park.

 

SAMSON CREE NATION FLOOD & DROUGHT ASSESSMENT AND ACTION PLAN

Samson Cree First Nation
The mission of this project is to assess Samson Cree Nation’s (SCN) current flood and drought (FAD) resiliency and create a plan that will help them become more resilient in the future. With the help of this grant, SCN will improve their capacity to achieve this by hiring an outside consultant, MAGNA Engineering, to manage the project and help with data collection and creation, FAD assessment (assessment of current FAD resiliency based on background research, data, and engagement), FAD action plan (prioritized list of policy, infrastructure and engagement recommendations to help us become more FAD resilient), and community engagement.

 

WILD CHILD FOREST SCHOOL PILOT PROJECT

The Sierra Club
Wild Child Forest School & Nature Immersion is an innovative outdoor education program designed to encourage child-oriented, play-based activities in nature, creating a daily opportunity for experiencing wonder and learning about the natural environment. The Sierra Club’s education with children also involves their parents and caregivers, who become aware of the outdoors, free play in nature, and physical literacy thereby leading by example in their own communities. Their goal with the project is to establish Wild Child in Edmonton, Alberta.

 

Wondering how you can get involved in environmental work in the province? Connect with us. We would love to share what we do with you, and the amazing environmental work we support across Alberta.

If you’re feeling shy, check out our projects map instead!

You can also be part of this inspiring energy by donating to Alberta Ecotrust to support the people and projects working to achieve healthy ecosystems for all Albertans.

 

Photo Credit: Adam Linnard

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