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Meet a Board Member: Rick Anderson

Posted July 25, 2021 by LSC

Rick Anderson in his element Successful organizations don’t just happen – they are energized, nurtured and guided by people. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is fortunate to have a highly strategic, innovative and forward-thinking Board of Directors. Today, we introduce you to another one of those committed individuals who is part of the team that governs the organization. Meet a long-standing board member, Rick Anderson.

Setting the stage

Rick Anderson began learning range and pasture management in the mid 1970’s working horseback in the native grasslands and foothills of southern Alberta. After several years on ranches and grazing operations, Rick began working in the Provincial Grazing Reserve Program. Given the multiple-use aspect of the program, the experience kindled a realization in Rick that landscapes and their ecosystems face various pressures from industry development, recreationalists and natural resource extraction.

“All these factors need to be considered when overseeing a landscape’s productivity,” explains Rick. “The ecosystem has to bear these cumulative pressures and when these pressures are not strategically managed, the health and condition of the land can become poor very quickly.”

This realization, along with his experience, helped Rick discover there could be a balance between pasture management, land-use and natural ecological processes.

Rick moved to the Rocky Mountain House area in the early 1990’s as a Grazing Reserve Supervisor for the Government of Alberta, and after the grazing program was privatized began working as a grazing and land management contractor for the local grazing association. In this position, he focused not only on pasture management but also working hand-in hand with industry, local communities and the groups that stewarded the land.

“Being able to work closely with stakeholders is so important; it’s essential really,” adds Rick. “And when you bring in education and awareness to projects, people will generally try to do the right thing when given the proper information.”

Getting here from there

How did all this get him involved with Land Stewardship Centre? This part of his journey began when Rick participated in a national watershed stewardship policy discussion as a prairies region representative. This led to his involvement as a founding director in an initiative known as Alberta Stewardship Network (ASN). The ASN connected grassroots stewards and helped provide grant funding for groups to complete on the ground projects that benefitted their local watersheds. He remained with the ASN through the years as his career shifted from working directly on the land to focusing more on working with the people and organizations that impact our landscape.

Having closely aligned goals, and with the desire to find operational efficiencies, ASN eventually merged with LSC. And in late 2010, when ASN became a program of LSC, Rick became a member of the LSC board. Stewardship was now a major part of his career and his position as a director with Land Stewardship Centre was a natural fit. Rick also served as chair of the LSC board from 2012 to 2020.

Stewardship is that understanding and willingness to take responsibility for the environment, both directly and indirectly,” Rick explains.

“What we do on the land has long term implications and we all have the ability to influence other people, provide access to information and empower them to be environmental stewards.”

A chance to reflect

As everyone progresses through these challenging pandemic times, Rick says interviewing him for this article gave him the opportunity to reflect on his career path and how LSC offers a similar way forward for stewards through its staff, partners and network of community-based organizations.

“At the end of the day, your background, career path and connections bring you to where you are, and hopefully it’s somewhere you want to be.” explains Rick. “I’m proud to say I’m on the Board of Directors for Land Stewardship Centre. They seek out untapped value, provide diverse opportunities and are forward thinking. We need organizations like LSC to continue to support and grow the efforts of people who steward the land.”

The Green Acreages Funding at Work

Posted July 25, 2021 by LSC

During June, Green Acreages Program Coordinator Milena McWatt visited two acreage owners who received funding through the program.

Stephanie Ayotte of Brazeau County planted hundreds of native shrubs along the back end of her acreage, which slopes down into a ravine behind her property and was becoming eroded. This project helped her to learn a lot about native species and gain a greater appreciation for her land.

When talking with Milena, Stephanie mentioned that the support and resources from the Green Acreages Program went a long way in motivating her to address the erosion and slope destabilization on her property and that the Green Acreages Guide workbook had been so helpful that she has shared it with another acreage owner. Next on Stephanie’s stewardship journey is finding (or founding!) a local stewardship group to work on the ravine area that lies behind her property.

Milena also visited Travis Thiessen, whose family property is located in Foothills County. Travis learned about the Green Acreages Program through his permaculture group and is interested in developing his land for agrotourism.

With the Green Acreages funding, Travis was able to plant trees and shrubs in the riparian zone of a seasonal creek on his property and is also doing some bioinfiltration work with soil building through polycropping and mob grazing to increase the organic matter of soil and hold water on his property for longer. The Green Acreages Guide helped Travis learn some best practices for managing his property and his future stewardship plans include constructing a rain garden and bioswales to capture and manage water on his property.

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