Skip to content or main menu

Sitemap | Member Login


New Acreage Owner, Big Stewardship Plans

Posted May 11, 2021 by LSC

Acreage owner Hayley Rothenberg On April 8, 2021, Green Acreages Coordinator, Milena McWatt, joined Lorraine Taylor, Horticulturist & Conservation Coordinator for Lac Ste. Anne County, on a site visit to acreage owner Hayley Rothenberg’s three-acre property.

New to acreage living, Hayley moved to her property in September 2020. When asked why she chose to move she explained, “I knew I wanted to live on the land; live more simply.” Hayley is interested in living in harmony with the landscape and being more self-sufficient and, using the principles of permaculture, plans to include orchards, a food forest as well as protein production.

The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature.

“I knew if I was going to do it, the time was now and then I found this beautiful, quiet, hard-working homestead,” Hayley adds.

Despite being a new acreage owner, Hayley has big plans to implement stewardship initiatives on her land to protect and conserve the valuable natural assets such as water, soil, air and wildlife associated with her property, but she knew she would need some guidance.

So, after attending a Green Acreages workshop, Hayley reached out to her local rural municipality and Land Stewardship Centre for some advice on how to improve her property through best management practices and address some issues she is experiencing. Facing seasonal flooding on her acreage, close to her outbuildings, Hayley has decided to apply to the Green Acreages Program project funding opportunity to implement a rain garden that will include elements of permaculture and food production. This project will help mitigate flooding and manage spring runoff from a slope on her acreage while also producing vegetables for her household. Rain gardens are one innovative way to enhance the natural watershed function of an acreage property and reduce the impacts of flooding and drought.

Hayley describes her experience with the Green Acreages Program with excitement.

“Wow, what can I say? It has been a gift to discover the program because I had just moved to my property and hardly knew anything. It was like learning a new language. The workshop helped me get my foot in the door to understand stewardship and it’s been growing since.”

Hayley says she is still on a steep learning curve but is grateful for the fantastic resources in the Green Acreages workbook, and Lorraine’s and Milena’s support, especially during the site visit, where they helped her figure out how to move forward with the funding project.

“I couldn’t even think it through without their support,” adds Hayley. “I didn’t know where to begin or even know what I needed to do to help the water issue that was occurring. I’m slowly chipping away at it and now hope to make the deadline for the application process to begin work on a rain garden that incorporates edibles. I think [it’s] pretty incredible the Green Acreages Program is available to us.”

With funding from Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program, the Green Acreages Program is accepting applications from acreage, hobby farm and recreational property owners across Alberta for cost-shared stewardship projects in 2021. Eligible projects must enhance natural watershed function and mitigate the effects of flooding and drought.

Learn more and apply today.

Stewardship Showcase: Mayatan Lake Management Association

Posted March 22, 2021 by LSC

Mayatan Lake Management Association knows that a plan without action is just a dream. Instead of allowing their watershed management plan to collect dust, they utilized their Watershed Stewardship Grant funding to move words to action. Learn more about this local stewardship group’s recent efforts.

Protecting the watershed

The association, which formed in 2010 in response to development pressures at Mayatan Lake, works to protect the lake for current and future generations. This local, volunteer-led association provides a forum for the community to discuss, advocate and educate the public on actions to preserve and protect the Mayatan Lake watershed.

A clear plan of action

A popular recreational fishing spot, efforts to ensure Mayatan Lake remains sustainable and thriving began years ago and continue. The North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) first developed The Mayatan Lake State of the Watershed Report in 2012, followed by the Mayatan Lake Watershed Management Plan in 2016. The management plan, completed through a partnership between NSWA, MLMA, Alberta Environment and Parks, Parkland County and other key stakeholders, outlined 39 policy, technical, and stewardship recommendations for the watershed.

In 2019, with funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) program, the MLMA began to put some of the recommendations from the plan into action. This project, aimed to improve and maintain the health of the watershed, aligned with the goals of the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy.

“The management plan has no value without commitment to implementation,” explains Walter Neilson, President of the MLMA. “This project ensured the Mayatan Lake Watershed Management Plan continues to be a living document.”

The association’s activities within the last year have been varied. Following recommendations in the plan, the MLMA installed signage on the boat launch advising lake users about invasive species, engaged in Alberta Lake Management Society’s LakeKeepers program testing two additional basins, and planned several educational days, shoreline clean ups and workshops, which were postponed due to COVID-19.

Adapting during the pandemic

Despite the pandemic, keeping the momentum is critical and continuing with the Implementation of the Mayatan Lake Watershed Management Plan is key to ensuring the long-term health of the Lake. Walter and the MLMA have big plans for the future but recognize the importance of ongoing funding to their efforts.

“We are a small association with limited funding and without the funding provided through the Watershed Stewardship Grant program, our association would simply not be able to carry out its work,” says Walter. “In our view, lake watershed management is vitally important work and requires a stable funding framework.”

Learn more about The Mayatan Lake Management Association and other community-based stewardship projects funded through the WSG since 2006 in our WSG Story Map.

Stewardship and Staycations: A boost for your acreage

Posted March 21, 2021 by LSC

Staycations during the pandemic can lead to big stewardship results on your acreage.

Since the pandemic began many of us are spending more time at home, investing our time, energy and money into our homes and properties. Green Acreages Coordinator, Milena McWatt, spoke with a few acreage owners about what this means for them and their acreages, how it impacts stewardship and how the Green Acreages Program can help.

Terry Krause and Elizabeth Simpson, Red Deer County

After living in the city, Terry Krause and his wife, Elizabeth Simpson, decided to move to the country to get into environmentally friendly household food production. Wilderness was a big part of his youth and he still can’t live without nature in his day-to-day life.

Terry, who has a background in ecology, purchased his Red Deer County acreage in 2007 and began working in earnest on the land in 2008. He participated in the Green Acreages Program and used the Green Acreages Guide workbook to support his plans for transforming his property into a healthy, natural oasis. The Green Acreages Guide helped Terry develop and reinforce his vision for the acreage transformation. He was excited when he saw it and believes it is just what people without any experience in owning an acreage or with any special experience in ecology or biology need to become better stewards of their properties.

Originally, the 2.5 acres were covered with quack grass, timothy and Canada thistle. Terry removed this undesirable vegetation and rehabilitated the soil before planting a lawn of slow-growing fescue grass. He now only mows his lawn three times per year.

Terry and Elizabeth are also interested in food production, so they established a huge vegetable garden and planted 1000 trees and shrubs (45 different species). The garden was designed to create a diverse ecosystem that supports wildlife and helps to mitigate the risk of flooding and drought on the property. They also used nature-scaping throughout the acreage to attract wildlife and to provide blooms from spring through fall to support pollinators. Since transforming their acreage, the Krauses have observed 105 different species of birds alone on the property.

When asked how the pandemic had impacted his relationship with his acreage, Terry replies, “Can you imagine living in the city during this pandemic? This is our sanctuary and refuge. It is phenomenal to be surrounded by nature during this time.”

Terry adds he and his wife are content on their acreage and don’t feel like they are missing out by not going anywhere since COVID-19 hit. Life on his acreage has allowed him to thrive spiritually and keep physically active while working on the property. He also credits watching the birds and wildlife on his property with supporting their mental health during these unprecedented times.

Terry offers some good advice for new acreage owners or those who are new to stewardship. Start small, take baby steps and seek a mentor who has done it already. He suggests starting with a few islands of mixed native trees and shrubs, which are low maintenance once they are established.

A recipient of the Blue Skies Award, Terry has a lot to be proud of with regards to his property. For him, being in tune with nature and providing habitat has left him with a phenomenal sense of contentment and a feeling of being grounded. Visitors never want to leave, and he isn’t either.

Vanessa and Jeff Sigurdson, Red Deer County

Joined by Ken Lewis, Conservation Coordinator for Red Deer County, Milena also visited with Vanessa and Jeff Sigurdson. Vanessa and Jeff became Red Deer County acreage owners about four years ago, in a move that brought them closer to Vanessa’s parents and back in touch with the land after living in the United States for several years.

As newer acreage owners, Vanessa and Jeff said that the Green Acreages workshop and the Green Acreages Guide workbook have been very educational and informative. Participating in Land Stewardship Centre’s Green Acreages Program has given them new ideas and concepts, and a strong foundation to start planning stewardship initiatives on their acreage. They also benefited from practical advice and resources available through Red Deer County.

The pandemic has allowed them to save money that would otherwise be spent on things like vacations and which they are now earmarking to do some stewardship projects to improve their property. Looking ahead to a spring, summer and fall of 2021 filled with ‘staycation time’, Vanessa and Jeff are most excited to plant an eco-buffer of trees and shrubs to shelter their property from wind, mitigate flooding and drought, and make the acreage more inviting. They are also exploring the idea of creating a rain garden or bioswale to manage flooding on their acreage and intend to apply for Green Acreages funding to help them on their stewardship journey.

Funding support for acreage owners

With support from the Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program, for the first time ever, LSC can offer funding for acreage owners. This exciting new addition to the Green Acreages Program provides funding (50:50 cost share up to $2500 per project) to acreage owners across Alberta to help them implement initiatives that enhance natural watershed function and reduce the impacts of flooding and drought.

Eligible projects include:

  • Wetland enhancements, such as enhancing riparian and upland vegetation associated with wetlands.
  • Stormwater management, such as erosion controls, planting vegetation, wetland enhancements or construction, hydrologic function enhancement for the watershed (may include planting, contouring, wetland construction), floodplain restoration, low-impact developments (such as rain gardens and bioswales).
  • Riparian zone enhancements using planting and buffers.
  • Shoreline remediation and/or re-naturalization, such as planting native species, reinforcing shoreline through soil bioengineering and other natural methods.
  • Erosion reduction measures (e.g., shoreline or riparian naturalization with native plants, establishing a buffer of native plants between landscaped areas and bodies of water, and re-establishment of shorelines through soil bioengineering and other natural methods).
  • Exclusion fencing, off-site watering systems and stream crossings (e.g., to keep livestock out of water bodies and away from riparian areas)

With any of these projects, LSC encourages use of native species in planting initiatives.

Learn more online about the Green Acreages Program, including program details and how to apply online and kickstart a project on your acreage during your ‘staycation’. You are also encouraged to connect with Milena McWatt, Green Acreages Program Coordinator at

Meet a Board Member: Brenda Gheran

Posted March 20, 2021 by LSC

Get to know the people behind LSC

Successful organizations don’t just happen – they are created, nurtured and guided by people. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is fortunate to have a strategic, innovative and forward-thinking Board of Directors that positions us as a leader in the field of environmental stewardship. Today, we introduce you to another committed individual who is part of the team that governs the organization. Meet one of our newest board members, Brenda Gheran.

Growing up as a northern Alberta farm kid, spending time outdoors both influenced and intrigued Brenda.

“Being outside, going camping – it all helped to instill in me an appreciation of the value and beauty of nature and what we as individuals can do to protect it,” shares Brenda.

With a formal education from MacEwan’s Advertising and Public Relations and the University of Alberta Extension Human Resources programs, Brenda’s passion for nature has remained a constant throughout her career. She has worked in several sectors including forestry, petrochemical and municipal government, including working with the Alberta Water Council, the Clean Air Strategic Alliance and individual airshed groups.

Brenda’s continued work in the public safety/emergency management space has raised her level of awareness of the important role risk-based land use planning plays in mitigating the effects of flooding and wildfires and working with nature to prevent disasters.

In 2018, Brenda fused her communications and stakeholder relations experience with her passion for stewardship and was appointed to the LSC board of directors. She recognized a natural alignment with LSC’s mandate and her own personal philosophies on achieving balance while realizing efficiencies through collaboration.

“It is rewarding to know and work with people who are thinking and doing something about stewarding the land,” she explains. “I see it as contributing to a worthy legacy for our next generation.”

During her time on the board, Brenda has contributed directly to organizational awareness efforts and fostering connections with stakeholders to create strategic partnerships and explore fund development opportunities.

Among the many benefits of volunteering, Brenda says the opportunities to expand her knowledge and network, as well as develop skillsets have made her value her board experience. In addition, contributing to an organization that serves the greater good, simply feels good. And to any young professional considering lending their time to a worthwhile organization, Brenda says go for it.

“I’ve volunteered my whole life and have never regretted a single moment of it,” she adds. “Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, be introduced to new people, new ideas and have fun while giving back.”

Learn more about LSC‘s Board of Directors.

Stewardship Showcase: Louis Bull Tribe's Living Classroom

Posted January 12, 2021 by LSC

To educate and excite people about nature, Indigenous knowledge and culture, the Louis Bull Tribe is hard at work creating a publicly accessible, outdoor educational experience. Read more about this 2020 Watershed Stewardship Grant recipient and their project to connect people to the land.

Situated south west of Wetaskiwin, the Louis Bull Tribe (LBT), a First Nations band government, is one of the four nations of Maskwacis. In 2020, LBT received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant for their Living Classroom project which will facilitate the opening of an educational, outdoor experience.

The outdoor classroom, located within the reserve and accessible to all, will enable people to experience the wandering trails through the transition between prairie uplands, riparian vegetation and wetland water bodies. Throughout the classroom, interactive signage will inform visitors of the importance of these habitats for watershed health, promoting knowledge and stewardship. Additionally, the signage will feature local artisans while incorporating traditional, Indigenous knowledge, providing a heightened level of understanding and connection to the land.

The project has been highly collaborative and LBT has worked closely with Solstice Environmental, the Battle River Watershed Alliance and the First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group who have provided content for the signage and drone photography to mark the trail.

“This project is a really great opportunity for reconciliation in the County of Wetaskiwin,” shares Melanie Daniels, Consultation Coordinator with Louis Bull Tribe. “It’s a good opportunity to open our doors to students from Ponoka, Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis and share how Indigenous knowledge can support western science.”

This experiential classroom inspires a greater appreciation and understanding of the importance of the LBT lands within the Battle River Watershed and engages youth in the field of science. As the first aboriginal woman to receive a biology degree from the University of Alberta, and with numbers still disproportionately low, Melanie is keenly aware of the importance of encouraging Indigenous youth to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM).

Less than 2% of people working in STEM occupations are Indigenous.

“For a very long time, the education system imposed on First Nation’s students has been steered towards social work, Indigenous studies, the arts, etc.,” explains Melanie. “We’ve experienced a transition away from the study of sciences which is intrinsic to our people and culture.”

A core goal of this project is to find new ways to engage First Nation students in science and technology. Through LBT’s work, they hope to inspire and spark interest in STEM careers with Indigenous youth in their community and across Alberta.

But the project and LBT’s efforts reflect something deeper, which is a desire to change the light in which Indigenous communities are viewed.

“Often, First Nations are dealing with pressing social impacts and we sadly, have high mortality rates, domestic violence and other social issues,” says Melanie. “This project is a way to showcase that we are eager to work with others and contribute to the protection of the environment, both within our own reserves and outside of them.”

Even amid COVID-19 setbacks, work on the project has been ongoing and the outdoor classroom is slated to be open by National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) next year, with a grand opening and watershed discovery day to be hosted in the summer of 2021.
Stay tuned for the opening ceremony and learn more about LBT and their conservation work.

In addition to the Living Classroom the LBT is also currently spearheading a Lands for Prosperity Project that will transform 4,500 hectares of off-reserve land to regenerative agriculture, effectively protecting and restoring wetlands, enriching soils, and improving watershed ecological services.

Meet a Board Member: Jim Gendron

Posted January 11, 2021 by LSC

Get to know the people behind LSC

Successful organizations don’t just happen – they are created, nurtured and guided by people. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is fortunate to have a strategic, innovative and forward-thinking Board of Directors that positions us as a leader in the field of environmental stewardship. Today, we introduce you to another one of the committed individuals who is part of the team that governs the organization. Meet long-standing board member Jim Gendron.

Jim Gendron’s interest in park planning and open space management was first ignited during his time at Macdonald College of McGill University, where he majored in renewable resource management. This interest followed Jim into his professional career working as a park planner in Prince Edward Island, then a tenure with Alberta Recreation & Parks, followed by several years working at Alberta Energy and Natural Resources.

“All of these experiences contributed to an applied interest in natural resource management and I developed an aptitude for park management, policy and programming,” shares Jim, who is currently the principal at LTG Consulting.

He decided to share his talents and experience with the non-profit sector and became a director on the board of Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) in 2005.

“I was offered the opportunity to join LSC. I liked what the organization stood for and the programs that were both underway and being proposed,” says Jim. “I definitely thought, and still feel, that it’s a valuable organization to volunteer with.”

Jim has served on the LSC board for 15 years and he is currently chair. Through his steadfast commitment and assistance with board recruitment and community engagement, Jim has enabled LSC to thrive and navigate various challenges throughout the years. He views time spent volunteering as a great experience and sees LSC’s innovative shared-services partnerships with the Beaver Hills Biosphere and EcoServices Network as an opportunity to build on mutual strengths to create success.

“It’s the mix of skills and diversity of thought among board members and the excellent administrative leadership provided by our Executive Director, Brian Ilnicki and the LSC staff which make LSC such a great organization to volunteer with,” Jim offers.

Jim has demonstrated a long-term commitment to LSC but he also serves in other capacities to better his community, including volunteering on the board of Infill Development in Edmonton Association and the Finance Sub-committee of the Board of Governors for Concordia University of Edmonton.

We appreciate all that Jim has done for Land Stewardship Centre and all who give their time and talents in assisting non-profits thrive, especially amid these challenging times.

Learn more about our Board of Directors

Green Acreages: One, Two, Three, Four...

Posted November 10, 2020 by LSC

According to the last census data, rural residential landowners account for 14% of our province’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population in Alberta.

And, as the number of rural residents increases, they will have a greater impact on the state of Alberta’s soil, water, air and wildlife resources through the cumulative effects (changes to environmental, social and economic values caused by the combined effect of past, present and potential future human activities) of their land management practices.

In addition to the resource development, education and outreach you are familiar with from the Green Acreages program, we have also begun to gather data to develop an inventory of acreage development across Alberta (region by region).

In the coming months, Milena McWatt will be reaching out to rural municipalities across Alberta to collect information on the number of acreages (20 acres and less) within their respective jurisdictions.

“We’re not gathering any personal information. We just want to understand the scale and scope of acreages in Alberta,” explains Milena. “If we are better informed, we believe cumulative effects at an acreage level can be better identified, considered and managed more consistently, and we can be more targeted in our collective efforts to ensure acreage owners have all the information/resources they need to assess and understand the impacts that the decisions they make on their property are having.”

Learn more about Green Acreages. For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to Milena.

Green Acreages: Money, Money, Money

Posted November 10, 2020 by LSC

For the first time ever, the Green Acreages program is able to offer funding to acreage owners for implementing stewardship projects on their properties.

Thanks to WRRP, we have the opportunity to directly support acreage, hobby farm and recreational property owners across Alberta by cost-sharing on eligible stewardship projects. Under the Green Acreages funding program, acreage owners may receive up to $2500 for eligible projects that help mitigate flooding and/or drought on their properties.

Eligible projects could include:

  • Projects that enhance natural watershed function
  • Wetland enhancements, such as enhancing riparian and upland vegetation associated with wetlands
  • Stormwater management, such as erosion controls, planting vegetation, wetland enhancements or construction, hydrologic function enhancement for the watershed (may include planting, contouring, wetland construction), floodplain restoration, low-impact developments (such as rain gardens and bioswales)
  • Riparian zone enhancements through planting and buffers
  • Shoreline remediation and/or re-naturalization, such as planting native species, reinforcing shoreline through soil bioengineering and other natural methods
  • Erosion reduction measures (e.g., shoreline or riparian naturalization with native plants, establishing a buffer of native plants between landscaped areas and bodies of water, and re-establishment of shorelines through soil bioengineering and other natural methods)
  • Exclusion fencing, off-site watering systems and stream crossings (e.g., to keep livestock out of water bodies and away from riparian areas)
  • Use of native species in planting initiatives

Green Acreages project funding is available until 2021. Winter is a great time to submit your application and start planning so you can hit the ground running in spring 2021.

The easy to use application form is available online and you can always reach out to Milena, the Green Acreages Program Coordinator, if you have questions or want to discuss a potential project before submitting your application.

Green Acreages: Taking Learning to a New Level

Posted November 10, 2020 by LSC

Central to our efforts this year was the ability to deliver virtual Green Acreages workshops.

Since spring, we delivered eight virtual Green Acreages workshops to more than 120 acreage owners in partnership with workshop hosts Brazeau County, Clearwater County, Mountain View County, Rocky View County, Red Deer County, Parkland County, Lac Ste. Anne County and Sturgeon County.

At these virtual workshops, participants learned how they can better manage and improve their properties by evaluating and mapping property assets and planning meaningful stewardship activities. Attendees also learned about municipal support programs, how to access funding to help with stewardship projects and they received a copy of the comprehensive Green Acreages workbook, compliments of the hosting municipality.

Here’s what some Green Acreages workshop participants had to say:

“[The workshop] helped me figure out how to identify and achieve my goals for my property,” Clearwater County resident.

“The idea that, as acreage owners, we are stewards of the land is now more clear to me,” Rocky View County resident.

“The Green Acreages workbook is a great source of information. It was interesting to hear about other people’s plans for their acreages,” Brazeau County resident.

“The Green Acreages workbook provides a solid foundation for us to steward our property,” Red Deer County resident.

Missed a workshop?

Reach out to Milena McWatt, Green Acreages Program Coordinator, who will be happy to talk with you about your acreage stewardship journey. You can also purchase the Green Acreages workbook through our online store.

Putting Green Acreages Resources to Work

Posted September 17, 2020 by LSC

On Monday, August 31, 2020, Milena McWatt (Green Acreages Program Coordinator at Land Stewardship Centre) and Ken Lewis (Conservation Coordinator at Red Deer County) had the pleasure of visiting 4 Acres Farm, a small hobby farm acreage in Red Deer County.

We were met by Nicole Poburan, who owns the acreage with her husband Stephen. Nicole showed us around and we got to meet her Nigerian dwarf goats, grazing pigs, cats, dogs, rabbits, and honeybees – a whole menagerie!

Photo: Nicole Poburan with one of her goats.

We walked the property and discussed some drainage/flooding concerns that Nicole and Stephen have, as well as other acreage stewardship projects they are interested in undertaking on their hobby farm. Nicole mentioned that she and Stephen had tons of ideas for stewardship initiatives on their acreage after attending the Green Acreages Workshop and perusing the Green Acreages Guide workbook resource for acreage owners.

Situated in Red Deer County, the Poburans’ property is eligible for project funding through LSC‘s provincial Green Acreages Program as well as Red Deer County’s Green Acreages Program.

Photo: Ken Lewis (L) with acreage owner Nicole Poburan at 4 Acres Farm.

We are looking forward to receiving one or more applications from the Poburans for projects to mitigate flooding on their acreage (potential for wet well installation, planting native trees and shrubs, wetland restoration). They will likely also apply to Red Deer County’s project funding for the establishment of a pollinator garden that will bloom from spring through fall.

Project funding for Land Stewardship Centre’s Green Acreages Program is available for two years and projects must address flooding or drought. Check out the Green Acreages pages for more information on funding, resources and workshops.

Meet a Board Member: Jodie Hierlmeier

Posted September 16, 2020 by LSC

Get to know the people behind LSC

Successful organizations don’t just happen – they are created, nurtured and guided by people. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is fortunate to have a strategic, innovative and forward-thinking Board of Directors that positions us as a leader in the field of environmental stewardship. Today, we introduce you to another one of the committed individuals who is part of the team that governs the organization. Meet board member Jodie Hierlmeier.

As LSC inches closer to its 25th anniversary in 2021, we can’t help but think about the people behind the organization who have enabled us to offer stewardship programs and support for a quarter century. Jodie Hierlmeier, a lawyer with the Alberta Government’s Environmental Law Section, joined the LSC board of directors over three years ago.

“I first came to know LSC through previous director, Peter Boxall. I worked for Peter as a sessional instructor with the department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta,” Jodie shares. “LSC had an opening for a director and he suggested I apply.”

At the time, Jodie was looking to get involved with an environmental organization and, upon learning more about LSC, she loved that the organization was focused on education and supporting grassroots efforts of individuals and groups to make a positive environmental difference in their communities.

In addition to her interest in the outdoors and nature, Jodie has a B.Sc. from the University of Alberta with a specialization in zoology and a LL.B. from Dalhousie University with a specialization in environmental law. She has travelled extensively through Europe, Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia and South America, working in England as an intern, with the United Nations in Kenya and providing legal support to a human rights organization in Tanzania.

Jodie’s unique perspective and diverse expertise aligns well with LSC’s mandate of enabling people to become better stewards and she says this mix of knowledge makes for a rewarding volunteer leadership experience. She feels it is critical for the leadership of an organization to apply their insight and expertise in a meaningful way to fulfil the organization’s mandate.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the other directors and staff at LSC. They all have such varied experiences and interests,” she adds. “Being on the board has really helped broaden my knowledge about environmental issues around Alberta and I always learn something new at board meetings!”

Jodie goes on to express how happy she is to be involved in a small way in the work that LSC is doing with the provincial Green Acreages program and the collaborative conservation efforts within the Beaver Hills Biosphere

“I think what we’re doing at LSC is really important work,” she concludes.

Learn more about Jodie and her fellow board members.

Alberta Biosphere Reserve Builds Resilience for Bats

Posted September 16, 2020 by LSC

The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) has been hard at work to assist the endangered little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with their successful Building Resilience for Bats program. Through research and engagement with landowners in southern Alberta, the WBRA are raising awareness to save this struggling species.

Photo: This historic barn, dating back to 1913, is one of the roost locations supporting non-reproductive bats. Photo credit Elizabeth Anderson.

Located in the southwest corner of Alberta, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) is one of two biosphere reserves in Alberta (there are 18 across Canada). The WBR encompasses some of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse landscapes in the Canadian Rockies and prairie grasslands.

The WBRA is a non-profit organization focused on linking biodiversity conservation to sustainable human use of resources within the WBR region.

Over the past eight years, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) has supported several projects led by the WBRA including their Wetland Field Day for students and creation of Creek Explorer Kits. Most recently, the WBRA received funding to support their efforts to assist the little brown bat – a species in trouble across Canada.

Bats are an important part of the ecosystem in the WBR however many bat species are threatened by habitat loss and white-nose syndrome – a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America since first noted in 2006, with some colonies showing mortality rates of 90–100%.

In the face of these drastic challenges, WBR began their Building Resilience for Bats project in 2019 to work with local landowners to support bat populations through habitat stewardship.

The intent of this project was to increase awareness among landowners and residents of the WBR about the threats facing local bat populations and how their stewardship actions could help conserve important habitat for the bats. Through active roost counts and discussions with landowners, the WBRA encouraged stewardship practices which will benefit not only bats, but many other species, particularly insectivorous and riparian/wetland dependent species, as well as enhancing water quality and quantity objectives.

The program has garnered support from organizations such as Patagonia, Tamarack and Parks Canada and was even featured in a CBC article in 2019. But the project’s most notable success has been the active interest and participation of local landowners in assisting bat populations through habitat stewardship.

“A total of 21 WBR landowners contacted us about bats and bat habitat,” shares Elizabeth Anderson, Conservation Technician with the WBRA. “As a result, seven roost counts were completed with landowners and many more great discussions were had about bat biology, threats and habitat needs.”

Elizabeth and the team at WBRA credit strong landowner engagement and funder support for the success of their program.

“The WSG was one of our primary funding sources for this project and provided necessary funds to allow us to access additional grants requiring matching funds,” adds Nora Manners, WBRA Executive Director. “Without WSG support, this work would not have been possible!”

Learn more about the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association’s Building Resiliency for Bats project.

DYK? You too can assist bat populations and create habitat and roosting sites in your own backyard, learn more with information from the Alberta Community Bat Program.

Meet Our Newest Team Member

Posted September 15, 2020 by LSC

She’ll be focusing on climate resiliency planning

Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is excited to introduce Lauren Van Dyke, our new Project Assistant working on climate change and adaptation in the Beaver Hills Biosphere. LSC and the Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve Association (BHBRA) are currently in a shared-services partnership and as an LSC staff member, Lauren will be lending her skills and expertise to support both organizations’ efforts.

Originally from Cochrane, Lauren pursued a degree in environmental sciences at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Sciences as well as a Certificate in Sustainability. Following graduation, Lauren went on to work at Elk Island National Park as a Visitor Service Attendant, educating visitors about the natural history of the Beaver Hills Biosphere.

“My experience working at Elk Island for the past four years has allowed me to explore first-hand the hidden secrets of what makes the Beaver Hills Biosphere so unique,” shares Lauren. “I have truly learned to love the diversity of its landscape and am excited to devote my time to help develop a climate change and adaptation strategy.”

Lauren comes to LSC through the Adaptation Resilience Training (ART) project, a cost-shared initiative supported by Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program and Alberta Environment and Parks. The ART project aims to deepen understanding of climate change adaptation in Alberta and its applicability across sectors and professions. LSC’s project, Climate Change and Adaptation for Beaver Hills Biosphere, will support the development of an adaptive management plan that will help mitigate climate related issues in the biosphere and associated communities.

“When looking for a potential job opportunity through the ART program, this position stood out to me as I already felt drawn to the Beaver Hills Biosphere through my education and work experience,” explains Lauren. “I felt I had a unique background and set of knowledge to contribute meaningfully in developing the Climate Change and Adaptation Strategy.”

In the coming months, working closely with LSC and Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve Association staff, Lauren will be building out the climate resiliency plan within the Beaver Hills Biosphere. Lauren’s work on the project, and the foundation for the development of the plan, includes stakeholder engagement, research on current climate initiatives and an inventory of nature-based solutions being implemented in Alberta.

“I am excited to collaborate with the LSC team and explore opportunities through the ART program as I begin to network with other professionals and specialists working on climate change and adaptation projects around the province,” shares Lauren. “There is so much that I have yet to learn and feel like the team at the LSC will be amazing mentors for me as I start my professional career.”

You can connect with Lauren at

Green Communities Guide Reboot

Posted July 15, 2020 by LSC

Originally published in 2009, the Green Communities Guide (GCG) has resonated deeply with municipalities and the stewardship community across Alberta and beyond over the years. Municipalities continue to utilize fundamentals from the original GCG to guide their sustainability and land-use planning efforts.

To ensure this important resource addresses current needs and demands, we sought and received funding support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation to update the GCG, with a refreshed focus on nature-based solutions and new methods of delivery including a digital narrative and online format. Work will begin on the project this summer and we expect to make it available online in early 2022.

New, Updated, Timely

This new and updated resource will present audiences with nature-based climate solutions that promote and support sustainable development and conservation of valuable natural resources. Available electronically, the new publication will be readily accessible to Realtors, municipalities, land-use planners, community groups and developers across Alberta, to help plan and implement strategies to conserve valuable natural assets as communities develop and expand.

Incorporating Nature-Based Solutions

With a focus on nature-based solutions, the updated GCG will convey knowledge that helps to advance development solutions that offer climate, biodiversity and other mutual benefits for people and nature. Some of the anthropogenic examples and case studies in the current GCG will be replaced with examples that focus on the natural aspects of green communities. Additionally, the updated version will look more deeply into nature-based solutions for urban communities and link these types of infrastructure with societal benefits, climate change adaptation and the municipal role in delivering and supporting ecosystem services.

Supporting Community Resiliency

This revised focus on utilizing nature-based solutions to support community resiliency is a key and emerging need among developers and municipalities given the issues associated with global climate change. And considering the current global pandemic, building community sustainability and resiliency is more critical now than ever.

Share Your Ideas, Experiences

Have ideas, experiences or case study examples you think would be a good fit for the new GCG? Contact us.

Stewardship Showcase: Moose Lake Watershed Society

Posted July 14, 2020 by LSC

Situated west of Bonnyville, Alberta, Moose Lake is a relatively small lake that flows into the Beaver River. Its sandy beaches, campgrounds and opportunities for water-based activities have made it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. While recreation and community growth are important to the region, human activity on and around lakes can have a negative impact on water quality and the surrounding native habitat. Over the years, as activity levels intensified and development pressures increased, people started to notice the health of Moose Lake was being affected.

A Community Responds

Moose Lake receives intense recreational use during summer, particularly on weekends, and has dense blooms of blue-green algae during late summer and fall. In 2002, a group of concerned volunteers formed the Moose Lake Water for Life Committee, which later became the Moose Lake Watershed Society (MLWS) in 2008. Their purpose was to address the health of Moose Lake, increase public knowledge, and improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Since coming together, MLWS has focused much of their effort on raising awareness and educating lake residents and the public about lake heath and water quality, by reducing phosphorous loading and preventing riparian habitat damage. They have also completed numerous water quality studies and monitoring projects to gain a better understanding of the health of the watershed.

Supporting the Effort

Over the years, MLWS has worked closely with stakeholders including Lakeland Agricultural Research Association (LARA) and the Lakeland Industry & Community Association (LICA), the Watershed Planning and Advisory Council (WPAC) for the Beaver River Watershed for their events, activities and initiatives.

The MLWS has also received Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) funding for several projects, including their highly successful ‘Walking with Moose’ program, which has been running successfully for 11 years. The Walking with Moose program offers grade five students a day-long field trip to learn about biodiversity and habitat, water quality, healthy shorelines and forest ecology. Approximately 400 students participate in the program annually.

Staying Focused, Doing More

As part of their ongoing efforts, and with support from the Watershed Stewardship Grant, MLWS and LICA launched their second annual ‘Keep Our Lake Blue’ campaign, encouraging residents to set goals and take action to improve Moose Lake water quality by reducing runoff and decreasing phosphorous loading in the lake. Some of the 52 recommended ‘Keep Our Lake Blue activities include preventing runoff and pollutants from entering the lake by using water wisely, landscaping with native plants and establishing vegetative shoreline buffers. People who commit to taking action to improve the quality of Moose Lake’s water can sign up to receive a lawn sign.

“This year, in addition to the Keep Our Lake Blue campaign, we received funding to do more water quality monitoring, including tributary testing and individual basin sampling,” explains Kellie Nichiporik, chair of the Moose Lake Watershed Society. “We’ll compile water quality monitoring data from this year and previous years with the core sampling that was done last year to develop a nutrient budget for Moose Lake.”

Kellie goes on to explain that a nutrient budget will help target future restoration and education/awareness projects on Moose Lake to have the greatest impact possible with limited resources. Learn more about MLWS and their efforts here or on Facebook.

Stewardship Showcase: Lac La Nonne Education Centre

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Keep reading to learn about this group of dedicated stewards from west of Edmonton who received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant to enhance their local lake and surrounding community.

The Lac La Nonne Enhancement and Protection Association received a 2019 Watershed Stewardship Grant to support their long-term goal of constructing an education center on an underutilized piece of lakefront property.

The project consisted of transforming a parcel of unused land in Klondike Park, and bolstering community engagement and awareness of environmental and lake health concerns.

“Lac La Nonne is a high activity lake,” shares Maureen Teha, Secretary of LEPA. “From locals to visitors from surrounding urban areas, there was a need to educate people using the lake about responsible lake recreation and management and protecting lake health.”

With the education center infrastructure and construction complete, LEPA is working on installing signage at various points in the park which promote sustainable activities on the lake. They are also using native plants for landscaping and installing bird houses and bat nesting boxes.

This effort led by LEPA, in collaboration with Highway 2 Conservation, County of Barrhead and many volunteers, will continue educating and engaging visitors about the riparian area, native plant species, and the importance of bats and birds around water for years to come.

“We’re really grateful for the support we received from the Watershed Stewardship Grant program,” shares Maureen. “Sometimes just a little bit of funding can go a long way, especially when you have passionate volunteers with a vested interest in bettering their community.”

Learn more about LEPA and how you can join their efforts, working together for the health of the lake and surrounding area.

The Green Acreages Program is Growing

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Our long-standing Green Acreages program has received provincial funding and, with strong municipal collaboration, will soon be supporting stewardship, drought and flood resiliency efforts among acreage owners across Alberta.

The 2016 census states that rural residents represent 16.1% of Alberta’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population. As the number of rural residents increases, they will have a greater cumulative impact on Alberta’s soil, water, air and wildlife resources. Acreage owners generally want to ‘do the right thing’ for their properties, but, historically, resources specific to managing small landholdings have been limited.

Launched in 2012, Green Acreages is a core program of Land Stewardship Centre (LSC). Distributed to and used by over 40 municipalities and organizations across Alberta, the Green Acreages Primer and Workbook resources have resonated deeply with municipalities, the stewardship community and acreage owners. In recent years, both Parkland County and Red Deer County even developed and implemented full-fledged municipal Green Acreages Programs utilizing these resources.

“We’ve run our own Green Acreages program in Red Deer County since 2013, providing information and funding to acreage owners to implement environmentally beneficial projects,” shares Ken Lewis, Conservation Coordinator at Red Deer County.

Other municipalities, including Mountain View County and Clearwater County, have taken different approaches including distributing the Green Acreages resources and hosting workshops for their residents.

“Mountain View County has been a supporter of the Green Acreages resources for many years,” says Lorelee Grattidge, Sustainable Agricultural Specialist with the county. “We have distributed Green Acreage Primers to our residents since 2016.”

Based on this longstanding and positive response to, and continued uptake and extensive use of the Green Acreages resources by municipalities, LSC long believed there was an opportunity to do more to deliver information and resources to acreage owners across the province.

Subsequent discussions with municipal stakeholders offered important perspectives along with valuable information which became the foundation for a funding proposal to Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP) to support a broader, more cohesive approach to delivering coordinated Green Acreages programming.

With WRRP funding confirmed earlier this year, LSC, in partnership with Red Deer County, Parkland County, Clearwater County, Brazeau County, Mountain View County and Rocky View County, has just launched a two-year Green Acreages pilot project. Through virtual (and when feasible, face-to-face) workshops, educational resources and physical restoration projects, this initiative embraces a collaborative approach to connecting and working directly with acreage owners, promoting sustainability through stewardship, supporting drought and flood mitigation efforts, and enhancing the ecosystem services associated with private land in Alberta.

Program partners and LSC are excited to see this long-awaited idea come to life.

“The number of acreage owners in Mountain View County is on a steady increase with many of these new residents moving from urban settings,” adds Lorelee. “We are fully supportive and very glad to see this new approach to Green Acreages evolve to assist acreage owners to protect and enhance the ecosystem services associated with their land.”

Ken Lewis from Red Deer wholeheartedly agrees. “It’s fantastic to see this opportunity for acreage owners across Alberta, and we look forward to working with LSC as the program continues to grow.”

Meet the new Green Acreages Program Coordinator.

2020 WSG Recipients Announced

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Each year, the sophistication and innovation of project proposals submitted by stewardship groups to the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) amplifies. Applicants continue to inspire with their dedication to on the ground activities that enhance, protect and restore Alberta’s precious water resources.

It is rewarding to see the reach and diversification of stewardship activities supported by this grant program from year to year. Learn about the recipients who have received support from the WSG in 2020. LSC gratefully acknowledges Alberta Environment and Parks as the core funder of the WSG.

Blood Tribe Land Management Blood Tribe First Nation, the largest First Nation in Canada, will work to revive bison populations on native grasslands in Southern Alberta. Having a healthy water system is imperative to the success of this and future projects. The WSG will support the establishment of protection protocols within the Blood Tribe, and build their capacity to monitor wetlands, groundwater and riparian areas. The data will be provided to decision makers to ensure future community planning will incorporate science-based and culture-based factors.

Chinook Applied Research Association This project will improve the sustainability of the Sounding Creek Watershed area through enhanced awareness, a riparian health evaluation and subsequent restoration at specific points along the Creek and its tributaries (including bioengineering techniques such as planting willows and/or poplars; exclusion fencing, adjusting grazing systems, etc.). The Association will utilize WSG funds to engage school classes and local 4-H clubs in the planting of trees and restoration activities.

Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society This unique project seeks to build the Friends’ organizational capacity by creatively harnessing the strengths of technology to streamline monitoring processes. With the development of an app, the Society will revamp how they collect, analyze and prioritize data meaningfully across all watershed stewardship initiatives. The project will harness significant volunteer time through the successful Park Watch program and, with technology, will enable long-term organizational capacity and efficiency and the standardization of data collection for stewardship groups.

Ghost Watershed Alliance Society The Society will implement recommendations from the 2018 Ghost River State of the Watershed (SOW) Report and will undertake aquatic biomonitoring (as part of the Canada-wide STREAM Project). The Society will also conduct outreach and collaboration by engaging with members, partners, ENGOs, industry and government staff to action recommendations in the Ghost River SOW Report.

Highway 2 Conservation (H2C) H2C will continue their successful work in riparian restoration, protection and education by implementing three key activities: working with landowners to implement the Riparian Improvement Program, using bio-control agents to remove invasive weeds at two protected sites and hosting four field trip events (Pond Days) for over 300 Grade 5 children. H2C has collaborated with and engaged several organizations in their project including Cows and Fish, Athabasca Watershed Council, Lac La Nonne Enhancement and Protection Association and more.

Inside Education Society of Alberta Their comprehensive project has multiple program areas designed to work together and broaden both the reach and content of watershed education, while providing multiple opportunities to engage with both students and teachers province wide. WSG funds will specifically support Inside Education’s Water & Agriculture Teacher Professional Development Program, WestSlope Cutthroat Trout Posters & Teacher Guide and Water Science Classroom Programs (Grade 7–12). The project will provide students and teachers throughout Alberta with multiple learning experiences about their own watershed.

Louis Bull Tribe (LBT) LBT will be creating a publicly accessible, educational outdoor experience to entice LBT members, school groups, surrounding communities and visitors to explore and discover a local prairie wetland. The WSG will support a marked trail head which will provide users with the experience of wandering trails through the transition between prairie uplands, riparian vegetation and wetland waterbodies. Interactive educational signage will engage visitors in the importance of wetlands and watershed health, promoting knowledge, understanding and stewardship.

Moose Lake Watershed Society With support from the WSG, the Society will engage with partners and enhance their Keep our Lake Blue campaign. By installing three additional signs and hosting three events during summer 2020, the Society aims to increase the campaign’s exposure and spur watershed stewardship action.

Nature Alberta For over 50 years, Nature Alberta (NA) has worked to be a strong voice for the greater appreciation and conservation of Alberta’s natural environment. With WSG support, Nature Alberta will implement a shoreline naturalization project at Willowbend Resort in Lac La Nonne. More than 600 trees will be planted to restore the shoreline to help prevent erosion, reduce water run-off, and add a natural buffer. In addition, their Nature Kids program will host a community event onsite featuring nest box installations and educational presenters to engage families on the importance of keeping shorelines natural for healthy biodiversity and water quality.

Peace Country Beef & Forage Association (PCBFA) Support from the WSG will enable PCBFA to purchase a Beaver Pond Leveler with the intent to host a demonstration day for municipalities, environmental consultants, and agricultural producers. Through this project, PCBFA will demonstrate ways that agricultural producers can work with beaver populations rather than against them, assisting beaver populations and ensuring these animals can remain in the watershed and continue their important role in filtering run-off water and controlling flow across the landscape.

Pincher Creek Watershed Group Having spearheaded this local event sixteen years ago, this watershed stewardship group is receiving support from the WSG to host their Annual Blueweed Blitz in summer 2020. The event will harness the volunteer power of over 100 people and will work to eradicate the relentless noxious weed, mitigating against the destruction of the watershed from Blueweed (Echium vulgare).

Ridge Reservoir Working Group This year, in partnership with County of Warner and Raymond Elementary School, the Group will hold a clean-up day around the reservoir and plant trees and shrubs with youth volunteers along the shoreline. This will help improve and protect water quality, increase biodiversity and provide wildlife habitat. Signage will also be installed at the restoration sites for educational purposes.

Society of Grasslands Naturalists The Medicine Hat Interpretive Program, which is managed by the Society, will be leading this project titled Hidden Neighbours in collaboration with South East Alberta Watershed Alliance, local colleges and volunteers. Public events, including hands-on stewardship activities, will provide opportunities for people to explore the creeks, wetlands and riverbanks to build understanding of local riparian areas along Saskatchewan River, Seven Persons Creek and Ross Creek, as well as wetlands within the city. Outcomes from the project will be showcased at an exhibit in the Police Point Park Nature Centre from February to June 2021.

Stettler & District Adult Learning Council Building on momentum from a project funded by the WSG in 2018, this year the Council will expand their Rural Routes to Climate Solutions initiative. By running a series of workshops and field days in rural Alberta for agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers will learn how they can adopt on-farm climate solutions that benefit local watersheds. Rural Routes also launched a spin-off podcast, which will continue to be developed and produced by the Council in 2020.

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) The project, which takes place at sites in the Waiparous Creek watershed, involves the restoration of 100+ meters of damaged riparian habitat where areas have been degraded by OHV use, grazing and road building. On two separate workdays, TUC will engage volunteers to harvest and plant at least 1,000 live willow stakes. Staff and volunteers will also prepare and install signs to educate the public about this project, native trout recovery and encourage responsible OHV use.

Wabamun Watershed Management Council (WWMC) The WWMC will host three open houses to build community consensus for the Wabamun Lake watershed management plan. At these events, and through educational presentations and incorporating community feedback, the WWMC will develop a community implementation plan that will be printed and distributed and posted on the WWMC and North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance websites.

Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association (WBRA) The WBRA, one of only two UNESCO designated biosphere reserves in Alberta, will implement year two of their Building Resiliency for Bats project. WBRA will also enrich their wetland youth education events by incorporating information about bats and their use of riparian/wetland areas, and partnering with Alberta Community Bat Program to bring their educational resources to the Wetland Field Day and Day on the Creek events in 2020.

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society The Society will complete the final year of a five-year study which is monitoring and investigating the biological and ecological implications of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road Construction project on the Weaselhead/Glenmore Park and surrounding area. The long-term goal of the study is to generate comparable data from the pre-disturbance, construction, and operational phases of the road, to inform and guide future studies, similar projects and conservation efforts.

Wizard Lake Watershed and Lake Stewardship Association (WLWLSA) The goal of this project is to collate all existing water quality data performed at Wizard Lake in the past 15 years and summarize the results of the analysis in a plain language document. This document and recommendations will be promoted through active community outreach to enhance lake and watershed health.

Stewardship Showcase: Rural Routes to Climate Solutions

Posted March 18, 2020 by LSC

The Stettler & District Community Adult Learning Council received a Watershed Stewardship Grant in 2018 to support their Rural Routes to Climate Solutions initiative. Since receiving the original funding two years ago, the initiative has really taken off. Here’s how the Council is creating a new space for farmers and ranchers in Alberta to tackle climate change issues within the agriculture sector.

Empowering rural communities

In 2018, the Stettler Learning Centre received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) for their unique Rural Routes to Climate Solutions project. The project recognizes that farmers and ranchers can play a pivotal role in building the low-carbon economy of the future and seeks to empower members of the rural community by providing tools and learning opportunities to reap the benefits of climate solutions for themselves and their communities.

Through a series of workshops and farm field days (including their popular Farming with Biodiversity field day), landowners learned about on-farm climate solutions and climate-positive agricultural land-use practices (including green buildings and energy-use). The workshops provided practical examples of things farmers can do to improve their land, water resources and have a positive impact on climate change.

“Our Rural Routes project was a brand-new idea for us,” shares Derek Leahy, Project Director with the Stettler Learning Centre. “We knew we were on to something special with the project and receiving the WSG funds gave us a boost of confidence.”

Aiming to inspire action by providing information on climate solutions that work best on farms and ranches, Rural Routes has been a real success. Since the project was launched, the Council has hosted more than a dozen workshops, engaging agricultural producers from Athabasca all the way to Picture Butte on climate solutions and positive land use practices.

“Our greatest success lies in the fact that we found a way to have a non-divisive conversation about climate change, creating a space where one didn’t exist before,” explains Derek.

The project also generated a spin-off podcast, which aims to further engage farmers and ranchers in climate solutions. To date, they have produced 29 episodes with over 6,000 downloads and counting.

Continuing the climate conservation

Since receiving the initial WSG funding, the Stettler Learning Centre has continued to increase awareness within the agriculture sector and has garnered additional support from the community and sponsors. They’ve also become a partner in the recently launched Farmers for Climate Solutions, a national alliance of farmer organizations and supporters who believe that agriculture must be part of the solution to climate change. Currently, Rural Routes to Climate Solutions is the only representative from the Prairies involved with this national initiative.

Two years in, Rural Routes continues to build momentum and the project is now expanding its geographic reach beyond central Alberta to other rural communities in the province. In 2020, the Council once again received WSG funding, which will enable them to continue the podcast and expand their efforts.

“Rural Routes to Climate Solutions has grown beyond our wildest expectation thanks to funding from sources like the WSG,” Derek adds.

Check out the Rural Routes podcast and stay up to date with their workshops by following them on Twitter (@ClimateFarmsAB).

When Science Embraces Art

Posted November 12, 2019 by LSC

This local stewardship group is aiming to inspire conservation through the arts.

Have you heard about the recently debuted video series, Wild Constructs, developed by Watershed Stewardship Grant recipient, Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society? This group has harnessed the powerful world of visual arts and fused it with scientific findings, to ensure their message resonates.

Conveying scientific principles to the public in an engaging way can be a challenge. In today’s digital era, people’s attention spans are short, and many do not immediately relate to scientific terms and jargon. To ensure their environmental messaging resonated with the public, The Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society (WGPPS) decided to fuse science with art, and so developed Wild Constructs, a series of six short but meaningful videos.

Fusing arts and science

In 2018 and 2019, the Society received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) towards a scientific study, which researched the environmental impacts of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road construction on the surrounding park and natural area. Then, with funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and other supporters they were able to bring their creative idea – Wild Constructs – to life. At its core, Wild Constructs is a compelling conversation between science, art, wilderness and community.

“This video series was a unique way to convey the scientific and ecological findings of the impact study,” shares Lisa Dahlseide, biologist with the WGPPS.

Filmed on Treaty 7 land in the Weaselhead Natural Environment Area, the videos feature nine talented local artists who share their creative responses to the biological and social impacts of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road. The videos include spoken word poetry, dance, storytelling, drum and song. Each video is set to original song compositions that weave in wild sounds from field recordings taken in the park over the past three years.

The videos help communicate the impacts that noise pollution and construction may have on biodiversity. In addition to creating awareness of the impacts on the overall watershed, the Society hopes these videos inspire a broader audience to become motivated to support conservation efforts.

“Through these videos, we wanted to inspire people to travel the path of connecting arts with science,” adds Lisa. “Expressing scientific principles through art has so much potential to reach and impact a wider audience.”

Lights, camera, action

The Society’s debut of the Wild Constructs videos in Calgary at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington on September 22 attracted more than 150 people. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Following the debut, the Society received calls from several local schools, asking if the films could be shown to their students, and has also received interest from University of Alberta professors.

While not yet broadly available, Lisa says the Society is hoping to present the videos at various film festivals throughout the province. They have already booked a screening at a festival in Edmonton in spring 2020.

Coming soon

If you’re itching to see the new video series, the Society will be working with Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) to bring Wild Constructs to Edmonton in April 2020. Stay tuned for details to be announced on LSC social media channels and in future Grassroots News editions.

For a sneak peek, view the Wild Constructs trailer here. You can also keep up to date on the Society’s Facebook Page.

Welcome New Board Member

Posted November 12, 2019 by LSC

We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) Board of Directors, Suzanne Young, Director of Open Space Planning and Design with the City of Edmonton. Keep reading to learn more about Suzanne and why we’re excited to have her on the LSC board.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Environmental Conservation Science from the University of Alberta and Masters of Science (Planning) from the University of Guelph. She is a Registered Professional Planner and has worked in both Alberta and Ontario.

Suzanne currently works at the City of Edmonton as the Director of Open Space Planning and Design. Her team leads the planning and design of open space in Edmonton including neighbourhood, district, downtown, and river valley parks. In her previous role with the City, she focused her efforts on increasing natural area retention, improving ecological connectivity and integrating ecological designs, including the design and construction of wildlife passages, through various planning processes.

“I was motivated to join the LSC board as I have a strong interest in natural area protection and conservation,” shares Suzanne, “I am hopeful that I can bring some of my expertise and knowledge to support the Land Stewardship Center’s vision and mission.”

Prior to joining the City of Edmonton she worked for the City of Guelph and the Grand River Conservation Authority on diverse projects including: natural heritage policy planning, source water protection policy, watershed management, wetland policy, brownfield redevelopment, community plans, development review, a tree by-law, and the regulation of floodplains, steep slopes and significant wetlands (to name a few!)

“Over the course of my career I have been fortunate to work with committed and passionate members of the conservation community and I hope to continue this work as a member of the LSC Board,” expresses Suzanne.

Suzanne brings a wide array of experience and LSC looks forward to the significant contributions she’s sure to make at our organization.

“I hope to support the excellent work the LSC has initiated and look forward to contributing to positive outcomes through my expertise and knowledge of the land use planning, natural areas conservation and the associated legislative framework,” Suzanne concludes.

Common Goal, Diverse Approach

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

Within Alberta there are currently eleven Watershed Stewardship Advisory Councils (WPACs) representing the major river basins. WPACs were established to directly support the Water for Life Strategy and they are important stewards of Alberta’s major watersheds.

Through their efforts, these organizations engage communities, organize information and implement projects in their watersheds – all while continuously collaborating with and supporting local, community-based watershed groups.

Understanding what they do

WPACs may have a common goal – caring for and managing Alberta’s water resources – but when you really take the time to look at it, there are many different approaches currently being taken by WPAC’s across Alberta. This summer, Kelsie Norton, Land Stewardship Centre’s Program Assistant, attended both the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) AGM and the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) AGM. Both events showcased the work they are doing and unique opportunities to interconnect with WPACs, and highlighted the significant impacts these organizations create in their respective areas.

“While attending these two WPAC annual general meetings, I was able to get a much better understanding of both NSWA’s and BRWA’s amazing teams, and how they are able to accomplish such a diverse array of projects and initiatives that involve many stakeholders and improve watershed health,” shares Kelsie. “From technical and science-based work to education and outreach projects, the amount of work these organizations do is incredible.”

A diversity of projects

For example, over the last year, NSWA completed twelve technical watershed projects, had over 180 people attend education forums focused on riparian health and groundwater, launched an informative new website and received grants for their Riparian Health Action Plan. In addition, they are in the second year of a four-year water quality monitoring program funded by EPCOR. Looking ahead, they are also establishing eight new water quality monitoring stations and updating 10 existing stations to advance the North Saskatchewan river testing areas.

BRWA is also very active. Their current efforts focus on watershed education and citizen science, offering youth programs such as X-Stream Science, Discover your Wetland and Waste in our Watersheds. Recently, BRWA also hosted a World Water Day at which local residents were invited to talk about what biodiversity and stewardship in their watershed means to them. Another triumph for BRWA was the documentary project Finding Common Ground that tells the story of a 2017 bike tour that explored energy opportunities and resilience in the Battle River watershed of Alberta. In October 2019, BRWA will be following this up by offering Finding Common Ground 2.0, a tour and professional development/training opportunity that enables participants to gain first-hand experience in energy production, distribution and efficient use.

Partnerships and sharing are key

In order to strengthen watershed stewardship outcomes, combining efforts and sharing resources is essential for both WPACs. NSWA and BRWA are working hard to bring people together and protect Alberta’s previous water resources. Land Stewardship Centre is a proud supporter of all the great work all WPACs have accomplished over the years.

Learn more about Alberta’s WPACs. Learn how you can get involved and keep up to date with events and current initiatives offered by BRWA and NSWA.

Coming Soon: WSG StoryMap

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

This fall, Land Stewardship Centre will be launching a brand new story-map that highlights all recipients of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) since 2006.

The map will showcase the impact of this important grant program, funded by Alberta Environment and Parks, and the impactful projects these grassroots groups have implemented across the province that have directly contributed to protecting, conserving and enhancing Alberta’s watersheds.

The projects are interesting and diverse, and the new digital narrative will include videos and pictures of projects that will inspire others and highlight how watershed stewardship groups are working hard to protect our precious water resources.

Stay tuned for the map and if you are a WSG recipient, sign up to our Stewardship Directory to have your profile linked to the map.

Stewardship Showcase: Pincher Creek Watershed Group

Posted September 16, 2019 by LSC

This past July, the Pincher Creek Watershed Group hosted their 16th Annual Blueweed Blitz. This long-time, local event, spearheaded by this committed watershed stewardship group, had 82 volunteers come out to remove over 85 large bags of the noxious weed, which resulted in billions of potential seeds being removed from the environment.

Leading the way

Sixteen years ago, this type of local event was the first of its kind in the area. Noxious weeds can be relentless, and volunteers and the Pincher Creek Watershed Group alike agree that over the years the Blueweed Blitz has made an obvious improvement in local watershed health. As a result, this type of activity is now an initiative several other stewardship groups have adopted in their own watersheds.

“An event like this is extremely important. It gets the community directly and actively involved in caring for their creek and the watershed,” shares Brad Bustard, organizer and long-time volunteer with the Pincher Creek Watershed Group. “Without the involvement of a dedicated group of supporters, volunteers and landowners, our event would simply not be possible and the weeds would still be a major problem.”

Support is key

Sponsors of the event include Shell Waterton, MD of Pincher Creek, Town of Pincher Creek and Alberta Conservation Association. The event, which received Watershed Stewardship Grant support in 2017, also receives support from the Waterton Park weed crew.

“Our event continues to be a success thanks to consistent support from a great group of citizens and sponsors who are working together to improve the health of the Pincher Creek,” adds Brad. Brad goes on to add that engagement and volunteer participation from local landowners could always be improved. He suggests that getting the involvement of and help from more owners of small acreages in the area would help make the event even better in the future.

In addition to the annual weed pulls, Brad says continued education and awareness efforts are still needed to ensure citizens and caretakers are aware that, although they may have ‘pretty flowers’, noxious weeds are detrimental to the watershed. So, the Pincher Creek Watershed Group continues to advocate for beautiful scenery and landscapes that exclude noxious weeds and embraces native flora.

Get involved

Check out their Facebook page and learn more about the Pincher Creek Watershed Group’s Blueweed Blitz and other activities. Consider getting involved in a local watershed stewardship group or volunteering for a weed pull in your area.

Photos courtesy Pincher Creek Watershed Group.

Partner Spotlight: TD Friends of the Environment

Posted July 11, 2019 by LSC

“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.” Miriam Beard

Those who work in the charitable and non-profit world are all too aware of the ongoing need for funding to accomplish our goals and ultimately, help make the world a better place. In this Partner Spotlight, Land Stewardship Centre would like to specifically thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) for supporting the enhancements to our Conservation Land Registry, but more importantly, recognize them for continuing to support our past and current stewardship work, as well as the worthwhile efforts of so many environmental charities across Canada.

Founded by TD Bank Group in 1990, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) is a national charity that funds environmental projects across Canada. They are leaders and innovators in the field of philanthropy and environmental conservation and education. Through TD FEF, TD as part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, is helping to elevate the quality of the environment for a more sustainable tomorrow. We are grateful to TD FEF for supporting numerous LSC projects over the years including the Green Acreages Guide and, most recently, the enhancements to our Conservation Land Registry (CLR).

The CLR, which has been in operation for nearly 17 years, is a single source database of information on registered conservation agreements and conservation projects in Alberta. The CLR consolidates conservation easements, fisheries and habitat conservation projects, wildlife program lands, special case lands, historical resources and more from a variety of sources including non-profit organizations and agencies, governments and private landowners. Used by industry, various levels of government and conservation organizations, the CLR enables users to search for conservation projects, agreements or other notations/specific conservation or historical interests to inform their development and land-use planning decisions.

Funding received from TD FEF for the CLR enhancement project is going directly to improving the user interface; refining the automated on-line search capability; including more datasets that will lend valuable insight to and information regarding wildlife, watersheds, eco-regions; adding more functionality to the map feature and improving search reports. These enhancements will not only help us serve our current CLR clients better, but also encourage an even broader array of users, building greater awareness for conservation and stewardship across the province.

The success of several of our major projects and initiatives has been in part due to the funding support we have received from TD FEF over the years. Thank you again TD FEF for supporting Land Stewardship Centre and all you do to foster conservation and stewardship efforts in Alberta and across Canada.

“TD FEF is proud to have supported several Land Stewardship Centre projects since 2007. The CLR is a unique project that provides an important source of data for a multitude of conservation organizations throughout Alberta. There is so much good conservation work being done throughout the province and LSC takes on the vital role of providing these groups with the tools they need to make better decisions and to work more efficiently,” shares Masheed Salehomoum, TD FEF Coordinator for Pacific and Prairie.

A New Tool for Watershed Protection

Posted July 11, 2019 by LSC

The Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS), a 2018 Watershed Stewardship Grant recipient, has created a tool that enables users to designate high priority areas for watershed conservation and management within the Bow River Basin. Learn more about this project that will assist and advance watershed stewardship efforts in Southern Alberta.

In 2018, SALTS received support from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) that supported their efforts to identify and spatially define parts of the landscape within the Bow River watershed that are most important for watershed health.

“More specifically, the project investigated and maps which parts of the landscape, if we keep them from being disturbed and developed, will provide the most value in terms of water storage, filtration, flood and drought mitigation,” explains Justin Thompson, Executive Director of SALTS.

The maps, developed by SALTS in partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC), will provide landowners and a number of organizations including conservation groups, watershed groups, land managers and municipalities, with a tool by which to identify and prioritize parts of the watershed. Organizations can then use these maps to determine which areas should receive higher consideration for protection or best management practices in order to preserve watershed health and water resources.

“Believe it or not, those of us working in watershed protection haven’t had anything like this to date,” says Justin.

While the benefits of immediate riparian areas are well understood, there haven’t been any efforts to map the hydrological value of the non-riparian areas which remain an important factor to overall watershed health. The collaborative, science-based and applied approach to mapping the priority areas in the watershed has been very successful, and a number of tools were produced by SALTS including a map book showing priority areas in every sub watershed of the Bow basin as well as a map of priority areas across the whole watershed. SALTS continues to work with NCC and BRBC on the development of a website that will host the maps.

The funding SALTS received from the WSG was used to develop the GIS data layer and support overall map development by a consultant. WSG funds also supported project coordination and made the project truly collaborative by bringing together several land trusts and the Bow River Basin Council.

“There are very few other sources of funding which support this type of work,” Justin states. “By its nature, watershed conservation is complex and has to be collaborative in order to include the numerous key players that influence watershed health.” Justin goes on to share that successful watershed protection can only happen with the buy-in from the community and by empowering those on the ground who live and work in the watershed.

Empowering community stewards in their critical work is a goal that the WSG has been accomplishing since inception in 2006. Learn more about the WSG (funded by Alberta Environment and Parks), browse past recipients and consider applying for future rounds (next grant round is January, 2020).

Making Headway With Wetland Education

Posted May 16, 2019 by LSC

This past March, Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) attended the Wetland Education Network (WEN) Workshop at the lovely Nisku Recreation Centre in Leduc County. Hosted by Alberta NAWMP Partnership, this second annual WEN workshop brought together individuals and organizations representing four key sectors: agriculture, municipalities, education/public and industry to discuss and share ideas for how to advance wetland education, knowledge and action in Alberta.

Motivated and Action Oriented

The workshop was attended by approximately 60 individuals from across the province and representing the various sector stakeholder groups. During this full day workshop, participants contributed fresh ideas and came away with new knowledge and motivation to support wetland education in Alberta.

The WEN sector action groups, which have been working together for the past year to discuss and develop various tools, resources and approaches to supporting sector-specific wetland education in Alberta, provide workshop participants with an update of each action group accomplished. For example:

The Agriculture Action Group created five media stories that were published in community newspapers and which highlighted producers who have integrated wetland conservation in their operations. The Education Action Group created a guide for engaging communities in local wetland conservation.

The Municipal Action Group developed and informative resource titled Your Guide to Making Wetlands Work in Your Municipality to guide and inform municipalities in the many facets of wetland conservation. They will be releasing an updated version in the coming months. The engaged participants in and tangible outputs of the WEN speaks to the value of a collaborative of partners coming together with passion, knowledge and a shared goal.

More Wetland Work on the Horizon

This year, with support from Alberta Innovates and the Alberta NAWMP Science Fund, LSC will be implementing a wetland conservation and stewardship pilot project to create a case study for wetland markets in the Beaver Hills Biosphere (BHB). LSC looks forward to working closely with Alberta NAWMP, the BHB and other important partners to advance wetland protection in the designated UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere.

Learn more about the Alberta NAWMP Partnership and their efforts to conserve and protect Alberta’s wetlands. And stay tuned for more information about the innovative wetland conservation project in the Beaver Hills Biosphere.

Sasquatch Enlisted to Support Stewardship Efforts

Posted May 16, 2019 by LSC

Clear Water Landcare has been around for a while; since the late 1990’s in fact. Over the years, their vision of people living in and enjoying a healthy watershed, and their commitment to raising awareness with people about sustainable land and water use has never wavered. While they’ve been steadfast in vision and commitment, they’ve embraced creativity when it comes to their approach. Learn how Clear Water Landcare enlisted the support of a ‘unique partner’ to help them with their watershed stewardship efforts.

A Fresh Approach

A dedicated stewardship group, Clear Water Landcare has delivered numerous information sessions and assisted many landowners with various projects such as restoring habitats, off-site watering demonstrations and enhancing riparian habitat. They’ve accomplished much on private land in collaboration with landowners through their Caring for My Land and other successful programs. However, to encourage even greater respect for and stewardship of public land, Clear Water Landcare used a fresh approach, enlisting the help of Sasquatch to help spread the word.

Naturally, the real Sasquatch was too busy to make personal appearances, so the initiative is supported by a lively and imaginative caricature appearing prominently on signage and other communications throughout Sasquatch’s “backyard”. On these signs and communiques, Sasquatch “welcomes visitors to his backyard” and reminds them to enjoy nature and its bounty with respect.

“Sasquatch and the Welcome to Our Backyard initiative is a positive and fun way to remind people – both visitors and locals alike – that it is a privilege to live, work and play in one of the most amazing places in Canada,” explains Gary Lewis, the Clear Water Landcare Supervisor. “And with any privilege comes great responsibility.”

Stewardship That Goes Beyond Borders

Sasquatch’s “backyard” has grown beyond Clearwater County to include the eastern slopes municipalities of Yellowhead, Brazeau, Greenview and Mountain View. The area is rich with natural history, biodiversity and landscapes that include waterfalls, rare plants and diverse wildlife.

Sasquatch’s messages to visitors to “his backyard” include being sensitive to and respectful of the important landscapes, wildlife and ecosystems while enjoying nature and recreating in the area. Sasquatch is also quick to point out that how we use our land affects water supply and quality throughout the watershed and encourages everyone to treat all natural areas with care and respect.

Support for Multiple Initiatives

Sasquatch also appears in support of the Clearwater Trails Initiative (CTI), a collaborative effort between Clearwater County, industry partners, landowners, and provincial government, focuses on sustainable trail development, encouraging trail users to steer clear of sensitive upland and riparian areas.

CTI sounds like many other stewardship initiatives, right? Not so, because CTI enlisted the help of Sasquatch to capture people’s attention and help deliver these important messages by welcoming visitors to the area and encourages all to enjoy nature and its bounty with respect.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a nature photographer or a hiker, a horseback rider or quad rider, a picnicker or overnight camper, a hunter or angler,” adds Gary. “We all have an important part to play in caring for the wonderful, wild place that Sasquatch calls home.”

Learn more about the Clearwater Trails Initiative and other Clearwater County efforts, including Clear Water Landcare programs and watch for Sasquatch the next time you find yourself in his backyard.

Septic Sense: Keeping Up the Momentum

Posted January 15, 2019 by LSC

Septic systems may not be a great dinner party conversation, however, knowing how to manage and maintain your private sewage system is an important aspect of sustainable rural living. Educating yourself about how to properly care for your septic system preserves your property values and ultimately, ensures harmful substances don’t infiltrate Alberta’s groundwater or waterbodies.

A significant impact

The last Alberta census shows that rural residential landowners represent 14% of Alberta’s population, and many of those rural residents have private septic systems. According to Alberta Municipal Affairs, the average person puts 340 litres of sewage through a private sewage system (septic system) every day. For a family of four living in a two-bedroom house, that amounts to 1,360 litres per day and just under half a million litres per year!

Owners of private sewage systems are responsible for ensuring their systems operate properly and safely. The decisions of those property owners about how to manage and maintain their septic systems have the potential to have a significant cumulative effect on the Alberta landscape. Historically, there have been limited resources and support directed specifically to educating property owners on how to manage these important systems.

A successful start

In response to this need, since 2015, Land Stewardship Centre, in cooperation with the Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association, has been delivering the Septic Sense program. The Septic Sense workshop is a comprehensive information session, supported with take-home resources, that enhances local accountability for water resource management through education and engagement with landowners who have private wastewater systems on their property.

“Public education is an important component of a successful wastewater industry, and we are pleased to be a part of the process,” says Lesley Desjardins, Executive Director at AOWMA.

The highly successful workshop series has been offered in over 40 different municipalities across Alberta, reaching almost 2,000 people and has helped to raise awareness of responsible stewardship practices to realtors and landowners, alike.

Jeff Porter, Agricultural Fieldman with MD of Foothills has said there has been a lot of interest in the workshops from residents, because septic systems remain a mystery to many people who live on farms and acreages.

With funding and support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, in 2018, LSC and AWOMA hosted 30 free workshops for landowners and Realtors in Alberta to better understand how to manage their rural property and mitigate negative impacts on the landscape from improperly managed septic systems. This support from AREF was crucial to delivering the workshops this year. LSC and AOWMA are very grateful to AREF for their support, and for seeing value in this educational initiative which has provided important information and resources to rural landowners, Realtors and municipalities across Alberta.

Looking forward

Now, with a couple of years of successful workshops complete, and a positive reputation in the community, Septic Sense has evolved and will now be offered on a cost-recovery (fee-for service) basis that will allow AOWMA to sustain the program in the future.

Going forward, AOWMA will continue raising awareness of best management practices to many more Realtors and Albertans, to create sustainable communities and foster a healthy environment. Please contact AOWMA directly if your organization or municipality is interested in hosting a Septic Sense workshop.

For more details about hosting and to schedule a workshop in your area please contact Sherri Hallett at the AWOMA office at or 780–489–7471.

The Green Acreages Guide in Action

Posted November 12, 2018 by LSC

The last Alberta census indicated that rural residential landowners represent 14% of Alberta’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population. Acreage living can offer much that urban living does not, including having nature right at your doorstep. But, it can also be overwhelming, especially for those accustomed to urban life, to manage the many aspects of an acreage or recreational land property.

Discover how one southern Alberta acreage owner has used the Green Acreages Guide resources to help transform his acreage, reduce his carbon footprint and, ultimately, become a better steward of his property.

Guiding a Transformation

Several years ago, when Terry Krause bought his Red Deer County acreage, a good portion of the property consisted of bare ground and an unhealthy groundcover mix consisting of timothy, quack grass and Canada thistle. With a mind to improving the ecosystem services, natural functions and biodiversity associated with his property, Terry turned to his copy of the Green Acreages Guide Workbook to help him remedy the issues he was facing and improve the health of his acreage landscape.

“The Green Acreages Guide helped validate our ideas and inform our path to transforming our acreage,” explains Terry. With the help of the Guide, Terry has implemented numerous best management practices on his property. He’s also quick to point out that the information in the Guide enabled him to adopt practices that best suited his needs and goals for his property. For example, rather than just use a huge open plot that would be barren over the winter and have no habitat value, the garden was instead designed as four plots with crisscross pathways lined with fruit trees (e.g. sour cherries, choke cherries and honey berries) and perennial flowers to provide year round cover for birds and insects. By keeping the garden plots smaller and surrounded with cover, the garden functions better ecologically year round.

A Plan With a Purpose

In addition to establishing a large, diverse garden and naturescaping (e.g. combining early and late flowers species to cover the season for pollinators), Terry planted 1,000 trees and shrubs on his 2.5 acres, using shelterbelt hybrids and a genetic diversity of tree/shrub species to mimic nature as closely as possible.

He also seeded the remaining acreage to a fescue-grass mix that enabled him to limit mowing to three or four times a year, fostering a deep rooted system. As a result, impermeable surfaces have been minimized as much as possible and the deep rooted vegetation and grass does a good job of sponging up precipitation. Grass clippings are also swept up and used in the garden as mulch/compost and the house itself even has a number of efficiency features incorporated.

An Informative Resource

All of Terry’s efforts have resulted in a beautiful and a more sustainable acreage; one with a landscape that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also yields fruits and vegetables, and benefits the natural world.

In addition to reinvigorating the property, Terry says implementing best management practices and being very purposeful about what he planted on the acreage has improved habitat for an abundance of important wildlife, such as birds, bumble bees and other pollinators.

“The Green Acreages Guide covers a range of topics and is hugely informative,” offers Terry. “I would recommend it to anyone thinking of moving to an acreage or who has just moved to an acreage. It will give you the basics but also helps you understand the more detailed aspects of how to better manage or transform your acreage property.”

Learn more about the Green Acreages Guide resources and what they can do for you.

Together We Can Do More

Posted November 11, 2018 by LSC

If you work or volunteer in the non-profit sector in Alberta, or even if you’ve attended a conference or networking event recently, you’ve heard how important collaboration is in a time when more and more groups are competing to secure limited funding, stay relevant and have a real impact. Keep reading to learn how several non-profit organizations are using the power of collaboration, and thinking outside the box, to further their collective missions. You’ll be inspired to do the same!

Learning Through Experience

The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area consists of 4,800 acres of rolling foothills land that was donated by Ann and Sandy Cross for the protection of wildlife habitat and conservation education. Inside Education was founded in 1985 with the mission of helping teachers and students to better understand the science, technology and issues related to our environment and natural resources. These two organizations have come together to combine their expertise and strengths in a complimentary, creative and collective way.

Inside Education is bringing their programming expertise and ASCC is providing the beautiful natural backdrop for a unique learning experience intended to teach students how to be engaged and responsible environmental stewards.

“By combining our expertise, and utilizing a landscape level approach, we can address many environmental topics that are a part of Alberta’s education curriculum in a unique and experiential way,” explains Kathryn Wagner, Program Director with Inside Education.
Inside Education plans to lead ongoing education classes within the ASCCA area to teach students about and give them a hands-on appreciation for sustainable agriculture practices.

“Inside Education is a well-known and respected education organization, and the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area has a rich history of conservation practices and education,” offers shares Grey Shyba, CEO at ASCCA. “Bringing our two organizations together provides a great opportunity to enhance educational programming and encourage people to treat the landscape as a community and not just a commodity.”

Growing a Network

Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is also no stranger to thinking outside the box when it comes to collaboration. In 2015, recognizing a natural alignment between their respective visions and missions, a natural cross over among their respective audiences, and a desire to utilize resources more efficiently, LSC and Nature Alberta entered into a shared-services agreement. Working together in effective and creative ways has shown to be a very productive approach to delivering consistent and stable support to the volunteer natural history organizations and stewardship groups that these organizations serve.

The success that LSC and Nature Alberta have had working together has resulted in more organizations seeking to collaborate, share resources and expand their impact. Through similar arrangements, LSC is now providing executive oversight to the Beaver Hills Biosphere (a recently designated UNESCO site), and serves as the secretariat for the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (a multidisciplinary group of experts working to build the knowledge required to assist with the implementation of an ecosystem services approach in Alberta).

Investing in Each Other

Think of collaborations as an investment in proactive relationships that help reduce overhead costs, strengthen grant applications, provide more integrated services and deliver more effective programs, which ultimately increases the efficiency and impact of the organizations involved.

That said, the challenge with starting a collaboration can often lay in finding the time to explore potential opportunities, identifying shared goals and “the right fit”, and then moving from the idea stage to on-the-ground action.

“The best thing anyone can do is pick up the phone, start sharing ideas and look for places to add value,” suggests Kathryn.

Meet Kelsie Norton Our New Program Assistant

Posted November 10, 2018 by LSC

I have a deep passion for the environment which started at a young age. I thoroughly enjoy camping in the Rocky Mountains, watching wildlife and exploring water bodies. This gave me the foundation to have an overall respect for nature. It made me pursue a career in the environmental sector so I obtained a Diploma in Renewable Resources from NAIT’s Biological Science Program.

I have a very broad back ground of experience, from working with Whirling Disease, the Sturgeon River monitoring and educating about environmental awareness. Giving me industry knowledge of aquatic biology, fisheries management and how to convey these issues to all ages of a community or business.

My partner and I are recent owners of an acreage in Lac Ste. Anne County, giving me room for my passions such as exploring, gardening and spending time outdoors with family and friends. I also have a 1 year old son, who is the light in my life, and a puppy that adores the acreage just as much as we do.

I’m very delighted to bring my skills to the LSC team. The program assistant position holds many opportunities to learn and contribute on a variety of levels. Having previously been employed by Nature Alberta as a Shoreline Advisor, it provides me with a comfortable familiarity in this new position.

I look forward to engaging stewardship partners and assisting local efforts towards implementing their goals.

After the Flood

Posted July 3, 2018 by LSC

In 2017, Foothills Land Trust received a Watershed Stewardship Grant to support their Highwood River Floodway Resiliency and Restoration Project. Read on to learn how they have used the grant to protect land in perpetuity, mitigate the effects of flooding, create community champions and enhance one of Alberta’s watersheds.

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant has provided over $1.9 million in funds to local, grassroots groups who are working hard to protect and enhance Alberta’s watersheds and water resources. In 2017, Foothills Land Trust was one of those recipients. Their project aligned harmoniously with the Government’s Water for Life Strategy. With the support of WSG funding and other funding partners, their project, to restore and maintain watershed function along the Highwood River, has had a significant impact within the greater Bow River Basin watershed.

The Power of Water
During the devastating Southern Alberta floods of 2013, the Highwood River, which is located in the Bow River Basin watershed, overflowed its banks and subsequently flooded several rural residential properties, mainly on the south side of the river. As many homes and other structures in the floodway were seriously damaged, the Government of Alberta obtained several properties through the Disaster Recovery Program and, through Foothills Land Trust, placed conservation easements (CE) on 131 acres of riparian habitat upstream of the Town of High River. These CEs are being managed by the Foothills Land Trust to protect and restore riparian habitat for flood mitigation, drought resiliency, water quality protection, and fish and wildlife habitat protection.

Protecting for the Future
Knowing how important ongoing stewardship is, and following the placement of these CEs, Foothills Land Trust formed the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society. The Society, which is comprised of local volunteers living near the CE properties, and which operates under the direction of the Foothills Land Trust, has been instrumental in restoring, protecting and monitoring these properties. They also raise awareness and educate the community about the importance of riparian areas, as well as responsible stewardship of the CE properties.

The Society’s efforts are directed by the Riparian Habitat Management Plan that was created by the Foothills Land Trust and the M.D. of Foothills. The document is intended to help guide the Foothills Land Trust and the Society with stewardship, restoration and monitoring of the CE land parcels in collaboration with the MD of Foothills and other project partners.

Sharing With Others
All the resources prepared by the Foothills Land Trust and the Spitzee Riparian Stewardship Society are intended for use by other watershed stewardship groups. Their CE Agreement can be used as a template for others interested in doing similar work, saving time and legal fees. Their Management Plan and Baseline Study can also be used by others as a guide for how to identify different areas for different management strategies. You can connect directly with both organizations at and

Did You Know?
A Conservation Easement (CE) is a land management tool, which protects land for the purpose of preserving environmental and/or scenic and/or agriculture values, usually in perpetuity, to safeguard them for generations to come. Learn more about CEs in Alberta.

A land trust is a non-profit organization that has as one of its core objectives, the acquisition of interests in land (e.g., conservation easements) or the acquisition of land for the purpose of conservation. Most land trusts focus on conserving the biological values of land, but across the continent land trusts have been established to protect scenic, historical, agricultural and recreational lands as well. Learn more about land trusts.

Imrie House Yard Gets Facelift

Posted July 3, 2018 by LSC

Through June and July, individuals from the Edmonton Native Plant Society (ENPS) are putting their time and expertise to work at Imrie House to breathe new life into the property’s landscape.

With a focus on preserving and promoting natural habitats and plant communities, and through their work at projects like the one taking place at Imrie House, ENPS seeks to enrich the natural flora of various parks and natural areas.

ENPS members raise native plants at the City of Edmonton’s Oldman Creek Nursery and maintain a demonstration native bed at the John Janzen Nature Centre, and the Muttart Conservatory. Volunteers also care for certain parts of City of Edmonton parks as Partners in Parks.

In the photo you see ENPS volunteers in front of the native vegetation plot they are establishing at Imrie House.

As the tenant and caretaker of Imrie House, Land Stewardship Centre is extremely grateful to have ENPS and their volunteers working with us to enhance the natural beauty of this special property. We’ll post more photos as the project continues.

About Imrie House
Located along the North Saskatchewan River, Imrie House has been the home of Land Stewardship Centre’s office for several years now. Non-profits and community groups are invited to use the recently renovated meeting space. Learn more about Imrie House and renting the meeting space.

Volunteer Spotlight - Meet Mike Murray

Posted May 9, 2018 by LSC

We are pleased to introduce you to Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee. Mike has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning.

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG), made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, has provided much-needed funding to the province’s stewardship community to support their grassroots efforts. Nearly 140 stewardship groups have received more than $1,900,000 to develop and implement over 300 projects in communities across Alberta. Over the years, all of this has been made possible in part by the contributions of the Grant review committee consisting of volunteers from across Alberta.

Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee, has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning. Mike, who is also Program Manager with the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC), has long recognized the value and importance of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG).

“The BRBC is a designated WPAC in the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy and has always been a strong supporter of stewardship groups,” Mike says. “We recognized right from the beginning that the need for local on the ground organizations is critical and cannot be easily replaced or recreated, and the funding these groups receive through the WSG is critical.”

Mike explains that without the grant many community-based projects would simply not get done and this would leave a large gap in watershed management in Alberta. While stewardship groups are able to pull together local residents and stakeholders to implement on the ground, area-specific projects that benefit us all, funding to support these projects is sparse and intermittent. Stable funding sources, like the WSG, support projects in local communities, remove barriers and allow groups to concentrate on the work for which they exist.

Mike’s reasons for committing his volunteer time to the WSG program are varied. “The people on the committee are great to work with,” Mike shares. “We have a common goal of supporting stewardship activities that we know are important in protecting our precious water resources.”

Having participated on the WSG Review Committee for over 12 years, Mike is a valued and much appreciated volunteer. “These small, community groups bring invaluable knowledge, expertise and passion to their projects and all they need to grow and succeed is a little funding,” Mike says. “I’m proud to be a part of something like the WSG that enables them to be successful.”

Meet a Municipal Leader in Environmental Stewardship

Posted March 15, 2018 by LSC

Citizens often look to the provincial and federal government for leadership in environmental management and regulation. While these entities are central to Canada’s environmental policy and decision making process, Alberta’s municipal governments also play a key role in setting standards, developing policy, delivering programs and being innovators in environmental stewardship within their jurisdictions. Today, we shine a light on a local municipality, Parkland County, and learn how they are setting themselves apart as a leader and champion of stewardship in Alberta.

Diverse landscape, diverse population

Parkland County is a unique and diverse municipality. It faces rural pressures – from hamlets, agriculture and country residential, and lakeshore communities, as well as urban pressures from larger neighbouring municipalities such as the Cities of Spruce Grove and Edmonton. These, coupled with a diverse landscape (wetlands, lakes, streams, prime agricultural lands, natural resources) and wide-ranging land use (agriculture, resource development and extraction, recreation, industrial), makes managing the Parkland County landscape a complex task. However, this has not stopped them from finding solutions to and implementing sound stewardship programs.

“Our County approaches environmental stewardship and management in a balanced, holistic manner,” shares Megan McFall, Sustainability Coordinator with Parkland County.

To meet the needs of its diverse population and varied landscape, Parkland County offers several stewardship programs, each geared towards a specific audience. The programs include Green Acreages, ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) and Guide to Waterfront Living. Many of Parkland’s programs are voluntary and they incorporate incentives for landowners to implement best management practices.

“We provide incentives for those who choose to provide a public service on private land by conserving our ecosystems. “Megan explains. “We provide information and funding to remove barriers and ensure residents are able to establish innovative stewardship projects that benefit the greater community.”

A concerted effort

While these County programs have been doing well, and hundreds of acres have been put into the production of ecosystem services, success has not come overnight or without obstacles. Megan explains that running environmental programs can be difficult if there are no policies and procedures in place within the organization to aid in a program’s success. So, all of these efforts are supported by the County’s Environmental Conservation Master Plan, Council’s Long-Term Strategic Plan, Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and Municipal Development Plan. Success also requires the support of County staff, and the Community Sustainability Department, responsible for implementing these programs, has grown from a single summer student in 2011 to eight full time and part time staff.

When asked what one piece of advice Parkland County would offer to other municipalities wanting to develop and implement environmental programs, the response is a resounding “listen to your residents.”

“Many programs are not as successful as they could be because not enough time was spent incorporating residents’ needs or feedback into the development of a program,” Megan adds. To ensure success of their own programs, Parkland County confirmed there was a targeted need in the community and developed their program accordingly to address those needs.

An important role

Municipalities play an important role as stewards of the environment; from establishing appropriate policies and by-laws to developing and delivering effective stewardship and extension programs. It is also up to them how innovative and proactive they choose to be in this arena. Parkland County has purposefully decided to be an innovator in environmental management, and it is only a matter of time before more municipalities see the benefit in following their lead.

“The County has taken a long-term, strategic approach to how it can promote balanced growth, ensure healthy ecosystems, build sustainable communities and diversify the economy,” Megan concludes. “The uptake and success of our stewardship programs is a strong indicator that this approach is working.”

Learn more about Parkland County’s environmental programs.

Meet our New Team Member

Posted March 14, 2018 by LSC

Help us welcome Elisa Valade to the Land Stewardship team.

Elisa holds a degree in Environmental Policy and Practice from the University of Toronto. She has been exploring her interest in environmental conservation through the ecosystem services program with Alberta Innovates over the past five years.

More recently, she has been developing her skills and expertise in stakeholder engagement, outreach and communication as the Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator for the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (ESBN).

A long-time partner in the ESBN, Land Stewardship Centre has recently taken on the role of providing administrative and operational support to the Network. This includes making Elisa part of the LSC family.

Elisa is excited to apply her skills and further develop these capacities as a member of the Land Stewardship Centre team in her new role as Project Coordinator for ESBN.

Connect with Elisa

Learn more about ESBN

Build Trust, Provide Support, Protect a Watershed

Posted March 13, 2018 by LSC

The Vermillion River Watershed Alliance’s (VRWA) vision is simple – a healthy and sustainable watershed. With a concerted effort, a lot of relationship building, and some financial incentives to support on-the-ground activities, this small, collaborative watershed group is bringing their vision to life through projects to restore drained wetlands.

A focused effort

In an effort to ensure a healthy and sustainable watershed, and to safeguard Alberta’s vulnerable water resources, VRWA is advancing the objectives outlined in the Vermilion River Watershed Management Plan through their Vermilion River Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Project (VRWREP). The main goal of the VRWREP project is to restore or enhance wetlands and riparian areas within the Vermilion River Watershed.

“This watershed has been a priority consideration for both flood and drought mitigation,” explains Mara Erickson, Extension & Stewardship Coordinator for the VRWA. “Healthy wetlands and riparian areas are an important piece of this puzzle which is why they are the focus of this project.”

Reduce barriers

More often than not, these wetland and riparian areas are on private land. While many landowners are interested in and would like to do restoration activities on their land, the financial requirements for projects of this nature can a barrier. The VRWREP project helps address this issue by partnering with private landowners who are interested in doing restoration work on their land, and providing them with financial incentives to support their efforts.

“This is a win-win situation,” says Mara. “We help ease the financial burden and the landowners are responsible for the actual restoration and enhancement activities.”

In the words of one participating landowner who fenced off livestock access to the Vermilion River, “The cost to do this type of work can be prohibitive for a landowner. But with [financial] support, projects that improve water quality along the river, and have long term environmental benefits for people, wildlife, vegetation, can become a reality.”

Collaborate to succeed

To date, VRWA has worked with 26 landowners to implement 33 projects, resulting in 4500 tree seedlings planted in degraded wetland areas, and over 125 hectares of wetlands and riparian areas enhanced or restored. Through the project, VRWA engaged more than 10 partner groups and municipalities and, through a partnership with the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, utilized three separate sources of funding: the Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency & Restoration Program, Environment & Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) National Wetland Conservation Fund, and ECCC’s EcoAction Community Funding Program.

“Working with partners really helped us achieve success and everyone played an important role,” Mara adds. “Local municipalities were instrumental in spreading the word to landowners about the funding opportunity.”

Trust supports success

Mara says that the key to establishing successful partnerships is to first build trust. Community involvement, listening to potential participants’ stories, and understanding their concerns and values is critical to designing a project that will work on the ground. Mara adds that restoration activities have to make both ecological as well as economic sense for the one making the operation change.

Learn more about VRWA and their VRWREP project.

10 Tips for Writing the Best Grant Application

Posted January 22, 2018 by LSC

Land Stewardship Centre is pleased to once again be accepting applications for the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG). If you have a project in mind to enhance, protect or restore Alberta’s precious water resources, consider applying. Stewardship and synergy groups, naturalist organizations, recreational and community associations, and other non-profits can apply. We invite and encourage creative, innovative and collaborative projects.

As you think about preparing your grant application, our new Stewardship Program Coordinator, Alexandra Frederickson, has put together 10 tips and suggestions that will help make your grant application the best it can be:

  1. Contact the Program Coordinator to get feedback on your project. The Program Coordinator can provide insight and feedback on whether your group is eligible, if your project is aligned with WSG priorities as well as suggestions for ways to improve your application.
  2. Read the Application Process document and other program resources on the WSG webpage. After consulting with the Program Coordinator, it’s suggested you read through all these documents to gain insight into what the WSG is, what the grant has funded in the past and what the criteria and restrictions are. With this understanding of the WSG, you can begin to shape your proposal accordingly.
  3. Ensure your project is aligned with at least one of the key priorities identified by Alberta Environment and Parks. The WSG was created to support the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy so it is important to ensure that your project aligns with one or more of the 6 listed priorities, found in Application Process document. In your application, clearly show the link between your project and the priority you are addressing.
  4. Be concise and to the point. Groups often struggle to hit the right balance between providing sufficient detail while still remaining concise. Strive to adequately describe all aspects of your project – act like the person reading the application has never heard of your project or group – while keeping answers clear, concise and free from repetition or jargon.
  5. Make sure the budget balances (meaning expenses and revenues are equal) and that all costs indicated are associated directly with your project. You want to ensure that your written proposal and budget are telling the same story. Please also ensure that WSG limits (i.e. 75% max of budget for wages/salaries, etc.) for the budget are respected (these restrictions can be found in the Application Form).
  6. Have realistic goals and measureable outcomes. Make sure that your project outcomes make sense give the time-frame and budget, and ensure that there are ways of evaluating these outcomes (i.e. if you’re planning on holding an event, you might say you hope to reach 100 people and that event attendance will be tracked via EventBrite with participants being sent a follow-up survey).
  7. Think out-side-the-box. While your organization may have applied to the WSG in the past for similar projects, think about how this year’s project can be more creative or innovative to highlight that you are continually evolving to meet current needs. In addition, is there something you can add to your project, like an educational initiative or other, to meet more than one of the WSG key priorities? Projects that meet more than one priority are more likely to be funded.
  8. Are there ways you can partner with others? We encourage you to visit LSC’s Stewardship Directory, and Synergy Alberta’s and Nature Alberta’s Club Directories for a list of stewardship, synergy and naturalist organizations in Alberta. You can also think of industry, municipalities, WPACs or larger non-profits – all of those entities are eligible to partner with for the WSG. Partnering with other groups who are performing similar work reduces redundancies and increases your projects impact. Partnering with others also provides cash and in-kind contributions to your project which only strengthens your application.
  9. Utilize additional supporting documents and information. Include letters of support, maps or any other document you think will highlight how your group can be successful and impactful in your efforts, is suggested for a strong application. Be creative with the additional documents- was your groups good work featured in a newspaper article? Do you have letters of support from multiple sources? Do you have before and after photos from a previous restoration project to highlight past efforts and successes?
  10. Completely answer all questions. While this may seem simple, it is important since incomplete applications are not accepted. Double checking your application and making sure everything has been addressed and included is recommended.

Have questions?

For more information, contact the Stewardship Program Coordinator by email or phone 1–877–727–5276 extension 225.

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 15, 2017 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Check out the November 2017 issue of Grassroots News: Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards.

Don’t miss an issue. Subscribe to Grassroots News today.

Stewardship Showcase: Floating Islands?

Posted November 14, 2017 by LSC

Floating islands? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. But you might be surprised to know you can actually find them in Alberta. Meet the group that is taking lake and watershed stewardship to the next level through their innovative approach to tackling environmental issues on a popular Alberta recreational lake.

More than 10 years ago, residents of Wizard Lake and the surrounding area came together with a shared concern for and commitment to preserving the lake’s water quality and to promote a safe environment for recreational use. In 2006, they formed the Wizard Lake Watershed & Lake Stewardship Association (WLWLSA) that is still going strong today.

“We offer educational programming and information to residents to promote how to be a good steward of the lake,” shares Blake Bartlett, Chair of the Association. “In everything we do, we work hard to build a special community around Wizard Lake for residents and users alike.”

That mindset led members of WLWLSA to attend a seminar in Leduc County in 2016 at which a presenter discussed the benefits of floating islands and spoke about how these islands can remove excess nutrients and contaminants from ponds and lakes without the use of chemicals. The floating islands, although small in size, can have a big impact on the lake by tackling several environmental issues.

“We walked away from that seminar asking if these islands could perhaps assist Wizard Lake as well as showcase a new and innovative stewardship tool on our lake,” explains Blake.

In 2017–2018, the WLWLSA received funding support through Land Stewardship Centre’s Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) program to install a biohaven system – a system of floating islands – on Wizard Lake. Each island will have specific objectives, from enhancing fish habitat and loon nesting, to managing shoreline erosion and water clarity. With their system, and a floating island now successfully installed, WLWLSA hopes to see them well-utilized as a safe haven for loons, providing shade and food to fish in the lake below, increasing water quality through the removal of excess nutrients and dispersing wave action from boats to protect the shoreline.

While a few other municipalities and organizations across Alberta have installed floating islands in dam/reservoir situations, Blake and the Association believe their project is unique since it is applied to a recreational lake setting.

“It’s important to preserve recreational lakes for Albertans to enjoy, yet our greater challenge is to ensure Albertans understand why it’s important,” adds Blake. “So, through this project, we also work hard to inform residents and users of the lake about our stewardship efforts and explain why what we do is so vital.”

Blake is also quick to point out that the Association and its committed volunteers couldn’t do what they do without the support of funding programs like the WSG. He adds that the WSG funding is essential to assisting small, volunteer-driven stewardship organizations to deliver top-notch projects that protect Alberta’s watersheds.

Get to know more about the WLWLSA.

Learn more about the WSG program

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Program, made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, has provided grants to the province’s stewardship community to support their efforts. In that time, Land Stewardship Centre has administered more than $1,700,000 to 127 grassroots watershed stewardship groups to develop and implement nearly 300 projects in communities across Alberta.

Visit the Watershed Stewardship Grant pages to learn more about the WSG and how to apply.

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted September 19, 2017 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Check out the September 2017 issue of Grassroots News: Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards.

Don’t miss an issue. Subscribe to Grassroots News today.

Partner Shout Out

Posted July 17, 2017 by LSC

As a non-profit organization we’re always looking for ways and means to support our various project and programs. The Alberta Real Estate Foundation has been an important contributor to and champion of Land Stewardship Centre over the years; especially our Green Acreages Guide program. So we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to them for their support.

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) was founded in 1991 to enhance the real estate industry and benefit the people of Alberta. Created under the Real Estate Act, after years of discussion between industry leaders and officials in the provincial government, the Foundation started making an impact right away by funding initiatives to help educate and train real estate professionals.

The Foundation’s revenue is generated by real estate transactions across the province. When a home buyer deposits money in trust through a real estate broker, the interest that’s earned on the deposit is accumulated and forwarded to the Foundation for reinvestment in Alberta’s communities.

For more than 25 years, AREF has supported hundreds of projects that have enhanced the real estate industry and benefited the people of Alberta. Over the years, AREF has broadened their scope to fund diverse projects in the areas of: Community Innovation, Education and Research, Housing, Industry Leadership, and Land Stewardship and Environment.

AREF has been a supporter of Land Stewardship Centre for many years now. We received our first grant from the Foundation in 2007 for the Green Communities Guide as well as support for the 2009 National Stewardship Conference. The Foundation also saw value in supporting our Green Acreages Guide program from the start – they were among the first to fund our Green Acreages Guide Primer and Workbook in 2012. In 2015, with inventory of our Primer in short supply and demand high, AREF helped fund the refresh and re-print of the Primer as well as the development of a new chapter on resource development and extraction for the Workbook.

From our perspective, working with AREF has been a pleasure; they have contributed not only funding but also provided advice and contributed ideas that helped make our projects better. With their involvement we have been able to enhance and grow our Green Acreages Guide program; a program that continues to assist Realtors, acreage owners, municipalities and community groups to be better stewards of our land and natural resources.

We thank AREF for their long-standing support and look forward to the opportunity to work together in the future.

Learn more about AREF.

Stewardship Showcase

Posted July 15, 2017 by LSC

Have you heard about what this group is doing? We’re pleased to introduce you to the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council and their unique and innovative wetland restoration and ATV trail enhancement project.

Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council

Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area, which runs along approximately 30 km of the North Saskatchewan River, contains many kilometers of unmanaged off-highway vehicle (ATV) trails. These trails traverse several wetland and watercourse features in the river’s riparian ecosystem. The current layout and extensive use of these trails has resulted in severe vegetation loss, erosion, compaction and sedimentation of wetlands in this area.

For a small, non-profit organization, the magnitude of the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council’s recent wetland restoration/trail enhancement project in the area is impressive, to say the least. Now in its second year of a three year project, and with a project budget of three quarters of a million dollars, the Council has completed a significant wetland restoration and extensive trail enhancements. Twenty-three small wetlands (21 hectares in total), scattered along 21 km of a trail system previously disturbed by seismic lines, pipelines, and well pads, and subsequently off-highway vehicles, have been restored. In addition, three flowing watercourses now have bridges. An additional 20 km of ATV trails have been closed and ATV traffic re-routed.

Executive Director of the Council, Peter Lee and his group credit Land Stewardship Centre’s Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Program for helping to get the project rolling.

“The WSG funding we received help get this project off the ground because we could use these funds specifically to support our project planning,” offers Peter. “This is something a lot of grants do not allow, but it was critical to our ability to leverage other funds and that set the stage for the success of this initiative.”

The magnitude of the project is not the only thing that makes it stands out. What also makes this project unique is that the Council was tackling wetland restoration and trail enhancements within a provincially protected area regulated under the Provincial Parks Act.

“Because we are working in a regulated area, there are certain restrictions and expectations in place that presented unique challenges we had to overcome,” explains Peter. “Challenges included flowing watercourses whose banks and riparian habitats were being over-run with ATVs, and trail braiding and rutting.”

When beginning their project, the Council felt it was not appropriate to simply prohibit further access to the area by recreators who have accessed these public lands for the past thirty years. So not only did they enhance and restore disturbed wetlands, they created a safer ATV trail system that will allow continued use of the area by families recreating outdoors with all-terrain vehicles. The Council hopes this project can be a template for not only how other groups can tackle wetland restoration within provincially protected areas that allow ATVs, but also becomes a model of best practices for similar management issues on all public lands that allow ATVs.

Peter is also quick to share the Council’s gratitude to all the individuals and organizations (more than 12 partners overall) who contributed to the success of this project. Partners included Alberta Parks, University of Alberta, Arc Resources, Gen7 Environmental Solutions Ltd., DV Rentals Inc., Drayton Sand and Gravel (2003) Ltd., Built for U, Redneck Fencing and Cattle Co., Nelson Bros, 5 Star Locating Ltd., and Karach Welding and Construction, as well as Land Stewardship Centre.

“We received tremendous support from the community to undertake this restoration work,” adds Peter. “They provided not only cash, but also in-kind and moral support. We couldn’t have done this without them. It is an exciting project for the Eagle Point – Blue Rapids Parks Council and for the residents of the Brazeau County and Town of Drayton Valley.”

More Info

The Eagle Point Provincial Park and Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area conserves an important wildlife corridor between the Foothills Natural Region, the Boreal Natural Region and the Aspen Parkland. The Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council manages and protects this area.

Are you a community stewardship group with a watershed project that needs support? Learn more about the Watershed Stewardship Grant program.

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 11, 2016 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in the November 10, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

Stewardship Showcase – Reaching Out to Realtors
Alexandra Frederickson, Land Stewardship Centre’s Outreach Coordinator, speaks with Ross Chudleigh from Clearwater County about their recent extension efforts with Realtors, and how this contributed to tangible changes in rural real estate training in Alberta.

The Power of Sharing
Through the use of sub-watershed alliances, the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance is bringing people together to tackle environmental issues affecting the region’s water supply.

Diving Deep for a Solution
One Alberta organization is harnessing the power of and passion behind scuba diving to help protect Alberta’s lakes.

And much more…

Check out the whole issue >>

Don’t miss another issue. Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 20, 2016 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in the July 20, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

Stewardship Showcase – Incentives: The Key to Conservation?
The ALUS program is bringing landowners and municipalities together to enhance and conserve ecosystem services.

Out and About
Land Stewardship Centre’s Outreach Coordinator, Alexandra Frederickson, shares what she learned from her time at the inaugural Western Canada Fundraising Conference.

Good News for Septic Sense
The initiative has received some much-needed funding and will start offering workshops this fall.

And much more…

Check out the whole issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted March 10, 2016 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the March 10, 2016 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewardship Showcase: Lakes of Parkland County
  • Perspective: A new Grassroots News feature that should make you think
  • Putting Beavers to Work
  • And much more

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted September 21, 2015 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the September 21, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Fall 2015 Watershed Stewardship Grant Announced
  • Working Well: the People Behind the Program
  • What Stewardship Groups Really Do
  • Out and About

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 8, 2015 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the July 8, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewardship Showcase: Western Sky Land Trust
  • What We’re Reading
  • Living by Water
  • Out and About

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted May 7, 2015 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the May 7, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • 6 Must-Have Stewardship Tools
  • Water for a Lifetime
  • Stewardship Showcase – The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society
  • Getting Water Wise

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get your Grassroots News

Posted March 17, 2015 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the March 17, 2015 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Watershed Stewardship Grants are Back
  • LSC Launches Online Store
  • Septic Smart: Solutions for Rural Living
  • Stewards in Motion Wraps Up
  • The Stewardship Toolbox

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get your Grassroots News

Posted December 4, 2014 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the December 4, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewards in Motion 2014
  • Keeping Your Septic System Healthy
  • Stewardship Showcase – Love the Lake
  • Be a Great Place to Volunteer

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get your Grassroots News

Posted September 24, 2014 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the September 25, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Stewards in Motion Returns
  • Meet Land Stewardship Centre’s New Outreach Coordinator
  • What’s in Your Water?
  • Ecosystems Services Assessment Project

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get your Grassroots News

Posted April 30, 2014 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in the April 30, 2014 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Help Design the Future of Alberta
  • ReFresh – A Conference on Water Reuse
  • Stewards in Motion Returns
  • Stewardship Showcase

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted July 18, 2013 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s what you’ll find in the July 18, 2013 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Municipality Invests in Local Landowners
  • 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant Projects
  • To Give Away – Tabletop Displays
  • Medicine Hat Hosts Stewards in Motion
  • Stewardship Showcase

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted May 21, 2013 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s what you’ll find in the May 21, 2013 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • 2013 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients
  • ASN Program Coordinator Changes
  • Central Alberta Hosts Stewards in Motion
  • Stewardship Showcase – Ghost Watershed Alliance Society

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted November 5, 2012 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s what you’ll find in the November 5, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Join us for Stewards in Motion 2012–2013
  • 2012 Watershed Stewardship Grant Recipients
  • South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Phase Two Consultations
  • Video: Overview of Land Use in Alberta
  • Stewardship Showcase – Red Deer River Watershed Alliance Outreach Program

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted May 14, 2012 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s what you’ll find in the May 11, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Penn West to Fund Local Watershed Stewardship Projects
  • Get Connected With New Online Stewardship Directory
  • Study Builds Understanding of Wetland Ecosystem Services
  • Stewardship Showcase – Rocky View County Cultivates Stewardship
  • Funding for Tree Planting Available

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>

Get Your Grassroots News

Posted March 7, 2012 by LSC

Stay connected to what’s happening in Alberta’s stewardship community, learn more about the people and organizations behind grassroots stewardship efforts, and better understand the positive and important impact their projects and initiatives are having on conserving and protecting Alberta’s natural resources.

Here’s what you’ll find in the March 7, 2012 issue of Grassroots News – Inspiring Alberta’s Stewards:

  • Introducing the Green Acreages Guide
  • New Online Stewardship Directory to Launch in March
  • Water Well Management for Well Owners: March Workshops
  • Stewardship Showcase – Take it Off
  • Conservation Easement Registry Now Online
  • Edmonton and Area Land Trust is Hiring

Check out this issue >>

Subscribe to Grassroots News today >>