TAKE A STAND FOR GRASSLANDSCategory: 2018, Current, Grant, Land Use, Major Project
Canadian Parks and 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.
Parks are critical for clean air and water, biodiversity, species at risk and adaptation to climate change. The Government of Alberta has committed to meeting the international target of 17% protection of lands by 2020. To effectively conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, protected areas must represent all natural subregions. Grasslands are not represented in current Alberta protected areas.
‘Take a Stand for Grasslands’ will be a fun, hands-on environmental education program developed and delivered by CPAWS Southern Alberta to get youth excited about prairies. They will model it after their award winning education programs having a two-visit classroom model with a field trip to a local grassland. The program will be piloted in the Lethbridge and Calgary regions. It is essential to bring this innovative program to a rural audience to build support and awareness for this endangered habitat.
In the short term, ‘Take a Stand for Grasslands’ participants will increase their knowledge and awareness about grassland species, ecosystem concepts, cultural history, Blackfoot traditional knowledge, land use, land management and conservation issues and efforts. They will develop the skills to protect and recreate sustainably in native grasslands ecosystems and will have the opportunity to participate in conservation initiatives and become ambassadors for these regions.
Thumbnail Photo Credit: Swift Fix Family by Colleen Gara
Header Photo Credit: Out in the Open by Ryan Peruniak