Calgary, Nov 1, 2023 - Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is proud to announce the 2023 recipients of its Springboard Grant. The Springboard Grant provides funding to organizations addressing pressing environmental challenges to help build their capacity.
Now in its second year, the Springboard grant empowers organizations, allowing them to develop essential competencies, strategize for the future and enhance their processes and systems to achieve greater environmental impact.
"We believe in the power of these organizations to drive positive change and make a lasting impact on our environment," said Rod Ruff, Acting Executive Director, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation. "The Springboard Grant is an investment in their potential to create tangible, meaningful improvements in our world."
These initiatives were selected based on their potential to build internal capacity, scale and sustain those positive improvements, and deliver environmental outcomes aligned with Alberta Ecotrust’s Focus Areas of Nature-based Solutions and Conservation, Circular Economy, and Climate Resilience & Emissions Reductions.
Alberta Ecotrust would like to thank its supporters, corporate and visionary partners, and volunteers for their continued support and helping turn positive intentions into meaningful actions to preserve our ecosystems.
The recipients of the 2023 Springboard Grant are:
The reality of the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are resulting in rapid changes to our forests and other northern ecosystems that will require improvements to how forests are managed in Alberta. CPAWS Northern Alberta will develop recommendations for improving Alberta’s Forestry Act to reflect new knowledge on environmental threats and ways in which forestry practices can be improved to make healthier and more resilient forests where maintaining ecological integrity is the priority.
CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter will amplify conservation impact through a transformative volunteer program. With the creation and implementation of a Volunteer Management Plan, CPAWS SA will equip volunteers with technical skills through tailored training and unlock pathways to innovative partnerships and diverse volunteer opportunities. Outreach staff will engage in volunteer management training, covering areas such as volunteer recruitment, feedback surveys, and handbooks.
CCCSA is reactivating the dormant Conservation Easement (CE) arm of its non-profit society and needs to build up a supply of office and field equipment for use during training, baseline studies and follow-up visits to successful CE properties. Funding from the Springboard grant will enable them to purchase equipment such as computers, GPS equipment, and a portable water testing kit. It will also enable them to upgrade their website, print brochures, host meetings with local landowners, and continue their existing Citizen Science programs.
Part of the Goodwill@Work team, the "Mend for Good" program is an extension of their mission: to help Albertans with disabilities and other barriers enhance their lives through the power of work, while also focusing on sustainability and a circular economy. With assistance from an expert consultant in fashion upcycling, the Mend for Good program will train Persons with Disabilities to repurpose denim left unsold at the Goodwill retail locations into reusable bags, thereby upcycling items and diverting them from the landfill. Using their expertise, the Consultant will guide the team in patterns, sewing and repurposing denim into functional and stylish bags to be used at retail centres and sold. Goodwill estimates this project will divert 2,000 pounds of textiles from the landfills, saving 8000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
There are 41,505 farmers and ranchers in Alberta managing 49.2 million acres of land and they are also at the forefront of implementing nature-based solutions. Widespread implementation of these solutions requires leaders who can activate others in changing practices and mindsets. Alongside new approaches, managers need data to understand if the ecosystem is truly moving in a direction of regeneration rather than degeneration. This project will provide training for Holistic Management educators and land managers in Alberta in leadership skills that focus on supporting this behavioural change. Additionally, programming will be offered to train Ecological Outcome Verification monitors in Alberta.
Working with a variety of people from across the cultural, political, and geographical landscape of Canada is at the core of NCC's success in conservation. Maintaining relationships while honouring perspectives at the table is skilled work, and NCC wants to provide staff in Alberta with the best tools to negotiate sensitive conversations. This includes; how to prepare; weighing relationships vs best substantive deal; when to walk away; who should be consulted within NCC and who should negotiate from the other side; and what information can/should be shared. There are complexities that can arise from the collaborative nature of conservation work. Negotiation training r will give confidence and empower staff who undertake these conversations and make their work more efficient and effective long-term.
Organic Alberta has received inquiries from Indigenous communities about organic production but needed more capacity to follow up and build meaningful relationships. At the same time, their members (majority non-Indigenous organic farmers) have expressed a strong desire to learn from and connect with Indigenous communities. The "Learning and Listening" initiative will support Organic Alberta to build a foundation of meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities. The Springboard grant will enable Organic Alberta to build organizational capacity for relationship building, learning, reciprocity, and reconciliation. "Learning" will be centred around the KinSHIFT course "Elements of Truth: Before Reconciliation." "Listening" will be centered around visiting with Indigenous communities - informal visits to understand context, build trust, understand needs, barriers and opportunities, and introductions.
Passive House is the world’s leading standard in energy-efficient construction. Their mission is to provide builders, government, and the general public in Alberta with a foundational knowledge of high-performance buildings and their benefits. A lack of awareness hinders Passive House's building and renovation initiatives throughout the province; building energy efficiency literacy is low among Albertans, even though buildings account for about one-third of energy-related emissions. To accelerate climate resilience and emission reduction, Albertans must be aware of the benefits of high-performance building and have access to credible information and educational resources on the topic. This funding will enable Passive House to upgrade its website and enhance the availability of resources and materials related to high performance building in the province.
Project Forest plans to build new relationships while deepening connections with First Nation and Metis communities across Alberta. This grant will empower Project Forest to continue to develop a diverse partnership list across Alberta, which will help to identify degraded and nonproductive agricultural lands better repurposed as forests. Funding will increase capacity to facilitate travel and salary expenses associated with Indigenous community relationship building throughout Alberta. Project Forest will continue to build up an inventory of locations approved for rewilding.
Get on the Bus is a national movement supporting and encouraging communities to invest in youth transit education and free passes. The Springboard program will allow Get on the Bus to build capacity and community for the free youth transit movement in Edmonton. It will also provide them the resources to hire a local consultant to develop the necessary partnerships and gather information to get Edmonton youth on the bus. Learnings and outcomes from this project are anticipated to increase uptake and interest in Calgary and beyond, allowing Get on the Bus to find its Western Canada foothold.
The Sustainable Campus Collaborative (SCC) is a dynamic network of educational institutions across Alberta dedicated to working together to enhance campus and community resilience while curbing emissions. Funding will support the development of robust sustainability policy and planning efforts, such as campus net zero strategies and plans. This will be done while strengthening the ability to monitor and evaluate progress towards goals, locally and provincially, by systematically benchmarking and reporting impacts.
For more information contact
Maureen Ezeodumegwu, Communications Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation