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Stewardship Showcase: Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society


Stewardship Showcase

Mar. 16, 2022
AWES volunteers hard at work and having fun
AWES volunteers hard at work and having fun

The Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES) works closely with Alberta landowners on over 30 projects each year. They offer landowners supportive environmental resources and expert services with a focus on natural restoration and project management. AWES’s on-the-ground projects not only benefit landowners’ sustainability goals, but also elevate ecosystem services and ultimately enhance habitat for wildlife – a win-win situation.

Camp Bar-V-Nok, located at Pigeon Lake, is a year-round retreat centre. They encourage low impact use and recognize the value in having one of the few relatively undisturbed, large natural areas bordering Pigeon Lake with roughly 140 acres of undeveloped boreal/parkland forest acting as an ecological buffer for the lake and watershed.

This past year, Camp Bar-V-Nok Society reached out to AWES in hopes of receiving professional guidance and assistance to enhance sensitive wetland habitat around trails that had been disturbed from off-highway vehicles (OHVs).

AWES embraced this unique opportunity, applied to the Watershed Stewardship Grant program to support this initiative and was successful in receiving funding. But they weren’t working alone and others, including the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association and groups that attend Camp Bar-V-Nok, contributed to the project. Community members also came together to volunteer for these restoration efforts in the Pigeon Lake watershed.

Project activities included lakeshore bank naturalization, tree planting along degraded trails and invasive species removal. Future plans include installing interpretive signage to highlight the importance of this project.

Partnerships are the cornerstone of effective stewardship and they were key to the success of this project. When landowners, community groups and more team up with environmental organizations, this is a great solution to ensuring a sustainable future for all. AWES’s partnerships and the passionate community members involved in this stewardship and restoration project allowed for a greater reach and impact.

Check out AWES’s website to apply for an agroforestry project, delve into their resources or explore factsheets that cover an array of topics such as livestock grazing and pollinator friendly plants.

Photos courtesy AWES.