Meet Our Spring 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 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.
“I was very pleased to take part in the GRC this year. I’m very passionate about collaboration. I believe that different ideas and experiences make for better discussions. The Alberta Ecotrust team used a dynamic twist to an existing matrix evaluation tool. It kept us reviewers more focused and allowed a more in-depth review of the proposals. Although you might have a strong opinion on something, sharing it with others and hearing their feedback makes you see things differently. I loved the diversity of the projects we reviewed, and I am glad I am part of their path to success.” – Gibran Lopez, Teck Resources
This spring we had the honour and privilege to grant $250,000 to 15 environmental projects across the province! Check out our 2018 Spring grant recipients, and be sure to click through their profiles to learn more about the people and organizations behind these projects:
WCS Wildlife Conservation Society Canada – Going to Bat for Bats: Engaging Albertans in Bat Conservation
WCS Canada continues using citizen science in Alberta to prevent White-nose Syndrome (WNS) from spreading in our important bat population. Bats play a vital ecological role in our ecosystems, especially controlling insects, many of which are considered pests to agriculture, forestry and tourism.
Miistakis Institute – Edmonton Ecoroof and Climate Change Resiliency Initiative
When development occurs in an urban setting, the natural landscape is displaced with mostly non-permeable surfaces. The Edmonton Ecoroof and Climate Change Resiliency Initiative will assess the impacts a critical mass (minimum number) of ecoroofs needed for the City of Edmonton to increase resilience to climate change and develop a policy program to educate and incentivize increased implementation of ecoroofs.
Society of High Prairie Regional Environmental Action Committee – Athabasca Basin: Tailings and Impacts on Aquifers
REAC’s project, Athabasca Basin: Tailing Ponds and Impacts on Aquifers intends to connect a team of hydrogeologists, some working in the area for over a decade, with Traditional Knowledge holders, First Nations technical experts, and those closest to the land in order to develop tools toward watershed literacy, citizen science, and water monitoring programs. Together they will develop a prioritized groundwater/surface water quality and interaction database and digital visualization tool to be freely shared with communities, industry groups, and others who may be interested.
Inside Education Society of Alberta – Youth Climate Leadership Summits
Inside Education’s youth climate summits will provide an opportunity for junior high and high school student leaders from across Alberta to investigate, experience and engage in a solutions-focused approach to climate change in Alberta. These programs will educate and inspire young people as they will learn Alberta has many innovative, world-class and “game changing” approaches to a lower carbon future.
DreamRider Productions Society – Planet Protector Academy: Indigenous Zero Heroes
The new Indigenous Zero Heroes will combine narrative video, game design, and engaging offline arts activities into an immersive, interactive experience, through which elementary school kids – especially Indigenous kids – learn about, collaborate creatively, and take action on waste reduction. The new content will be created in deep and ongoing consultation with Elders and culture keepers. Indigenous Zero Heroes will engage the whole child – heart, mind, body, spirit.
The Global Youth Education Network Society – Climate Leadership Program, Year 3
The first two years of the program have seen graduates become significantly more active in bringing the climate lens to their daily work. Many are now seen as leaders and connectors for climate related areas within their organizations. Graduates have also developed new climate centered relationships and active collaborations with new organizations and people, and are actively transferring their skills and knowledge to them.
Ducks Unlimited Canada – Collaborative Cross-Border Candidate Protected Areas Assessment for NE AB & NW SK
In collaboration with CPAWs and two FSC®-Certified Forest Management companies, Ducks Unlimited Canada will work to jointly develop recommendations that would fill potential gaps in protected areas networks in NE Alberta and NW Saskatchewan.
Green Calgary Association – Green Streets
Green Calgary’s Green Street project recognizes the time is now to bring experts and students together in a fun and engaging fair-like atmosphere to share in a transformational educational experience right in their schools. Students will be lead through a number of fun and interactive learning opportunities, and will develop key understandings of – and a connection to – critical environmental issues.
Recycling Council of Alberta – Feeding the 5000
The Feeding the 5000 event will exemplify practices of food waste prevention by having volunteer chefs create delicious free meals for over 5000 people in Calgary using entirely diverted food from landfills. By showcasing the knowledge of our community partners the event will share food waste reduction techniques with 5000 citizens, encouraging them to make food conservation choices in their own lives.
Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative – Rangeland Health Assessment Training and Recovery Strategy Development
Alberta Ecotrust was proud to support the Recovery Strategies Project in 2015 & 2016 which culminated in the publication of the document, Recovery Strategies for Industrial Development in Native Grasslands for the Foothills Fescue, Foothills Parkland and Montane NSR’s of Alberta. Building on this work, Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative (SASCI) will host two workshops in September that will provide participants with increased awareness and skills to improve reclamation practice and stewardship.
Friends of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society – Conservation Projects in Lethbridge River Valley (Coulee Clean-Up, Shoreline Clean-Up, Weed Pull)
This conservation project from the Friends of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre (HSNC) will demonstrate positive action in protecting Lethbridge’s natural landscape through education and by focusing volunteer efforts on improving the local ecosystem. HSNC will organize four different volunteer campaigns in the river valley that will remove garbage from the river valley and shorelines, remove invasive species and raise awareness of the need to clean up after pets in natural areas.
ALUS Canada – Riparian Revegetation for Water Quality and Biodiversity
The County of Vermilion River brought the ALUS program to Alberta in 2010. Since then, ALUS Vermilion River has worked with 41 farmers and ranchers to enhance 3027 acres of marginal agricultural land. The County of Vermilion River is primarily agricultural, and strategically integrates its ALUS program to help address issues of surface water management, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity on the agricultural landscape.
The Rockies Institute – Climate Change Education Workshops in Alberta’s Northern Indigenous Communities
Here in Alberta, increased risk of drought, wildfires, and intense storm events can have serious consequences for First Nations – especially those living in Northern communities who are even more isolated. Developing knowledge and skills toward food, energy, and water security will be crucial in the days to come as will understanding the myriad of options that are being presented to them by governments and other agencies.
The Climate Reality Project Canada – Seeding the Calgary Climate Hub
To date, the Calgary Climate Hub has been a completely volunteer-led organization. It has already accumulated approximately 177 volunteer hours by over 30 volunteers. Alberta Ecotrust’s investment will allow the Hub to hire a full-time coordinator based in Calgary who could catalyze climate action by growing the Hub and empowering individuals and organizations to take meaningful action on climate change.
Arusha Centre Society – The Calgary Electricity Project: Experiential, Educational, and Transformational
Through the Arusha Centre’s Open Streets Events, a climate change education project that is exciting and experiential, the programming opens participants eyes to electricity generation and consumption. Because participants are thrilled to participate, it serves as inspiration for a wholesale shift in societal thinking toward reduced power and energy consumption as Calgarians experience the social, health, economic, and environmental benefits.
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!
And, if you’re just looking for a way to support environmental work, June is a great time for charitable giving. Through the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, a national public contest running from June 1 to June 30, every $1 donation enters Alberta Ecotrust to win $10,000 to engage new and diverse audiences through our new Alberta Climate Connect program – a province-wide network of organizations and citizens dedicated to increasing climate literacy and action in the province.