Calgary, December 16, 2021 —Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, a charitable foundation that provides funding for water protection, land use and climate change projects across Alberta, announced the fall 2021 grant recipients of its Environmental Grant Program. Charitable organizations, associations, and nonprofits will receive nearly $300,000 thousand ($285,211) in grants for 16 varied climate change, landuse and water projects. Alberta Ecotrust Foundation received 14 Letters of Intent for Major Projects and 14 applications for Community Projects in this grants cycle with requests for funding of almost $500,000 ($498,011).
“Alberta Ecotrust’s work supports the people and projects that effectively address Alberta’s most pressing environmental issues. We are happy to support environmental non-governmental organizations, through our Environmental Grant Program, to more effectively deliver climate change, water and land use programs, projects, and results that advance their environmental missions.” – Mike Mellross, program director, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.
The projects selected this year by the Grants Committee and approved by the Foundation include a diverse range of initiatives, including supporting youth-run bike shops, water quality data collection, and Indigenous land-based learning opportunities.
Alberta Tomorrow Foundation: Their project, Land-Based Indigenous Module for Alberta Tomorrow, seeks to improve the understanding for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students of the important and complex relationships that reveal the very real trade-offs that occur as land use changes. With our Indigenous Land Based Learning Module, students will gain an understanding of Indigenous content, increasing empathy for others and stewardship of the land.
Changes will not be immediate and are hard to measure, but it will be a tool that will help all youth in Alberta have a closer connection with our land and Indigenous knowledge. Alberta Tomorrow will collaborate with IndigeSTEAM and the Siksika Board of Education to develop the Land Based Learning Indigenous Module for Alberta that will be a template for other Indigenous communities across the province.
Community Energy Association: Their project, Scaling Up Climate Action in Alberta Municipalities, will result in the the creation of an Alberta Climate Leaders Playbook, an Alberta Municipal Climate Leaders Council, and creation of an Alberta Emissions Planning Tool which will lead to more communities developing plans to reduce community energy and emissions, increasing community access to climate action funds, and an increase in projects/policies that directly reduce emissions.
Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society: Their project, Taking the Lead on Critical Invasive Species Management in Fish Creek Provincial Park, will tackle invasive species management in the park. The program will ensure resources are focused on prioritizing fieldwork in areas of high biodiversity, as well as sensitive areas (i.e. within riparian restoration sites), in addition to prohibited noxious species.
The program will apply the right combination of strategies, based on digital mapping of plant observations, past strategies, and the specific conditions and needs at each site, to ensure excellence of approach while maximizing capacity of volunteers in high-level positions, and leveraging the experience and expertise of partners.
Green Calgary Association: Their project, Power Beyond Climate Action, addresses climate change through one hour workshops with hands-on activities, presentations, and action plans. Working together with existing partners such as Immigrant Services Calgary, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, and planning to expand our reach via connecting with local community associations, Power Beyond Climate Action will cover the following:
Low- cost home energy efficiency education
Effective home water conservation
Major energy-smart upgrades and home energy incentives
Tailored home energy efficiency action plans for single dwelling homeowners, renters, condo and townhouse residents
Understanding utility bills
Leftovers Foundation: Their project, Rescue Food Alberta Expansion, Leftovers Foundation will build off their successful food waste and greenhouse gas emission reductions in Edmonton and Calgary, and expand the program in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, and Fort McMurray. Through a collaborative effort of volunteers, food vendor donors, service agency partners, and staff, Leftovers will reduce the amount of good food sent to landfills (measured through their Rescue Food app) and redirect it to organizations helping Albertans experiencing barriers to food access.
Miistakis Institute for the Rockies Inc: Their project, Numbers for Natural Resistance Part 2, will enhance a comprehensive Private Land Conservation shared database that tracks and quantifies conservation contributions from private land conservation parcels. This database will facilitate collaboration within the private land conservation community and provide access to data allowing for the recognition of the importance of private land conservation in Alberta.
WCS Wildlife Conservation Society Canada: Their project, Identifying Key Biodiversity Areas in Alberta will identify Key Biodiversity Areas in Alberta using an internationally developed, standardized approach using quantitative criteria to identify areas crucial to the persistence of a range of biodiversity values. This information will then be available to focus conservation, land use planning and stewardship.
Federal and provincial governments in Canada, as well as NGOs, have requested KBA information to feed into their processes and decisions, and collaborative identification of these important sites in Alberta, will result in a trusted information layer that can be immediately useful in the province. Both in Alberta and nationally, the success of the KBA initiative will be indicated by the placement of new protected areas by governments and Indigenous peoples in areas that are vulnerable to biodiversity loss, as well as by the appropriate stewardship of KBAs outside of protected areas.
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative Foundation: Their project, Phase Two: Exploring Emerging Economic Opportunities with local stakeholders in Southwestern Alberta, will continue to develop a model of how communities in Alberta might maximize nature-based economic opportunities, serving as a vital lifeline for communities. The first phase of the project brought together diverse community stakeholders to advise the development of a socio-economic assessment of the SW Alberta region. This second phase builds on this work by integrating the views, ideas and experiences of community members into the project.
The findings of the socio-economic assessment will be used as the foundation for an engagement process with a wide group of community members about the economic future of the region, including how nature can be safeguarded. The final report will provide decision-makers with practical tools and recommendations to broaden and strengthen their economies. It will help local communities by providing clear information about the long-term economic benefits that protection and stewardship of public lands could provide, balancing environmental and economic needs.
Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association: Their project, Wizard Lake Water Quality Analysis Phase II 2022, addresses the need to assess nutrient inputs from outlying in-let tributaries to the Wizard Lake waterbody during runoff events by identifying nutrient level changes at ten historical in-flow tributary locations.
Two Wheel View: Their project, Continuing Cycles, will deliver more bikes to people who need them, build organizational and community partnerships, and divert a growing number of bikes and parts from the waste stream. This initiative is the first step towards Two Wheel View’s long term goal of a youth-run community bike shop. This will be a mentored work experience where youth can practice and improve basic employment skills, demonstrate good charitable work, contribute to the community, and actively see the impact of their work.
Sustainable Calgary Society: Their project, Youth en Route in Pineridge, will partner with Lester Pearson High School and will allow the school and its student leaders to build a culture that encourages active transportation and reduces the barriers students face, including lack of secure storage, safe routes, and access to bike repair.
Sierra Club Canada Foundation: Their project, Saunter Program, will bring a group of 15 community leaders involved in sustainability, community building and reconciliation to learn from an Indigenous Knowledge Holder about the cultural and Indigenous ecological value of the Edmonton River Valley during three land-based walks between May and July 2022. The program will increase participants’ understanding and appreciation for Indigenous ecological knowledge, build a relationship between the environmental community and the Indigenous community, and empower participants to give back to their community.
The impact of the program will be monitored and evaluated through word maps and surveys at the beginning and end of the program as well as through informal interviews 3 months after the program. This is a timely and needed program to build bridges towards reconciliation by creating spaces to listen to and learn from the Indigenous community and by meaningfully connecting to the land we live in.
Edmonton and Area Land Trust: Their project, Conservation Land Stewards Expansion Project, will increase stewardship presence on conservation lands which will result in improved ecological health and increased capacity for the organization to secure additional lands. The securement of new lands will allow the Trust to maximize their overall environmental impact and advance conservation in an increasingly fragmented region.
Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley: Their project, The A to Z of Zero Emission Vehicles, will host a five-part webinar series focusing on dispelling myths and educating residents about the benefits of ZEV ownership. Webinars will run from December 2021 to April 2022 and be accompanied by tailored educational resources. The Biosphere will also implement a targeted social media awareness campaign to maximize webinar attendance.
This project will culminate in a ZEV car show in March 2022. The car show will include demonstrations of ZEVs, and presentations from experts covering topics from ZEV safety to the future of hydrogen in transportation.
Alberta Tomorrow Foundation: Their project, From Collection to Protection: Engaging Alberta Students Water Monitoring, will engage youth in a much more hands-on and effective way in this urgent issue, by getting them outdoors and in the field to collect data and observations at their local water bodies.
Through a partnership with Water Rangers they will leverage expertise in water quality monitoring and training, and provide free test kits to Alberta teachers who use Alberta Tomorrow, deepening student understanding of the connection between our land use, water quality and our health, fostering greater environmental stewardship for our land and water in Alberta.
Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society: Their project, Upper Fish Creek Watershed Monitoring and Planning, will fill the water quality data gap by monitoring six locations representing upper, middle and lower reaches at Fish Creek, middle and lower reaches at Priddis Creek, and lower reach at Whiskey creek.
Water quality objectives will be available when sufficient data is collected that can be used to set baseline conditions and targets to assess changes to water quality as part of the watershed management plan process. Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is committed to increasing the capacity of the charitable and nonprofit sectors to advance transformative projects for environmental solutions.
More information about next year’s Environmental grant programs, including application timelines, will be announced in January 2022.
For more information, contact Hailey Gish, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.