2013 Finalists


Not-For-Profit Association

Nominee: EcoLiving Events
EcoLiving Events

EcoLiving Events is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit corporation that has educated more than 55,000 people on sustainable products, services and initiatives. The organization has provided a bridge between innovators and the public by presenting hands-on workshops, teaching positive environmental and community changes and promoting organizations making Alberta more environmentally and economically sustainable. As the organization enters its second decade, their target is to move beyond education towards hands-on action. This approach to environmental change started with the Winterization Challenge in 2010. EcoLiving teaches volunteers winterization techniques and then the new skilled people help low income seniors by winterizing their homes. EcoLiving is also working with grades 7 – 12 students by offering workshops demonstrating environmentally friendly home options. Students will learn about basic building considerations that reduce their environmental impact, giving them a head start to their positive decision making in the future.

Nominee: Edmonton and Area Land Trust
Project: Preserving our lands; Preserving our Legacy
Website: www.ealt.ca

The Edmonton and Area Land Trust EALT is Alberta’s newest conservancy, conserving and stewarding land in the Edmonton region. Land conservation focuses inside a hundred kilometer radius of the city. In city regions, land is expensive, yet in less than five years, they have secured five properties totaling 1,000 acres of healthy ecosystems. This speaks to their capacity, as well as to the generous contributions of the citizens they serve. EALT must steward lands for generations to come, therefore their mission is as much to grow residents’ love for local habitats, as to lovingly conserve the actual land. They are doing both, through partnerships and outreach. As a small charity conserving land for the public and municipal good, they are able to act nimbly and will always serve to protect our land while learning and gaining a special sense of place.

Nominee: Alberta Conservation Association and Suncor Energy
Project: Boreal Habitat Conservation Initiative celebrates 10-year partnership
Website: www.ab-conservation.com

In 2003, Suncor Energy and Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) formed the Boreal Habitat Conservation Initiative (BHCI) to conserve ecologically significant areas of Alberta’s boreal forest. Since then, with almost $4 million invested, more than 6,570 acres (29 parcels) of natural boreal forest have been protected as a natural space for fish, wildlife, vegetation and Albertans to enjoy. The BHCI began with a pilot project at Winagami Lake in Grande Prairie with a $200,000 grant to conserve 470 acres of habitat around the lake. The protected area complemented the adjacent provincial park ensuring connectivity and the natural ecological function of the land. The pilot project and partnership successfully proved how a conservation organization, a landowner and an energy company can team up to protect significant boreal forest habitat. Recognizing conservation is a long-term commitment, this partnership was initiated as a front-runner to the concept of voluntary offsets. The BHCI continues to acquire and manage habitat in the boreal forest, while looking for opportunities to include additional partners and make greater impact in protecting the boreal forest. The BHCI is a leader in collaboration supporting boreal conservation and is a model for how ACA has developed partnerships with other industries in this area.

Nominee: Calgary Folk Music Festival
Project: Eco-initiatives Program
Website: www.calgaryfolkfest.com

For 34 years the Calgary Folk Music Festival (CFMF) has been a cultural beacon bringing together music lovers and makers from all over the world. In 1997, the CFMF began to introduce environmental initiatives aimed at reducing waste, increasing recycling and promoting human-powered travel back and forth from their verdant urban site on Prince's Island Park. For the last 16 years, these seeds have grown into a governing philosophy for the organization. The CFMF's commitment to the environment has become a part of everyday operations with the building and completion of Festival Hall, the CFMF's new permanent home and performance venue. From complimentary bike parking and beer-cup composting to wind-powered stages and passive heating and cooling systems, the CFMF has set lofty goals that have been achieved through baby steps, important partnerships and by engaging all members of the folk fest community.

Community Group

Nominee: Road Watch in the Pass, led by Rob & Loretta Schaufele
Road Watch in the Pass

Road Watch in the Pass (RW) is a successful “cutting edge” citizen science project located in the Crowsnest Pass (CNP) of southern Alberta that has diligently endeavored to protect the diverse wildlife species in this area of the Rocky Mountains. Highway 3 (HWY 3) has a negative impact on wildlife by restricting their movements, reducing wildlife connectivity and increasing wildlife mortality from wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC’s). Additionally, RW strives to increase safety for people because WVC’s pose a major safety issue. RW tenaciously works towards mitigating WVC’s and restoring wildlife connectivity by: providing public education regarding road ecology; facilitating community and public advocacy to implement effective wildlife crossing methods on HWY 3; using local knowledge, gathering and studying data and educating the public and decision makers about HWY 3 wildlife crossing issues and mitigation strategies; and providing an educational forum for connecting road ecologists, local citizen scientists, residents, academics, conservationists and the general public.

Large Business

Nominee: DMI, Peace River Pulp Division
The Nutriboost Program

The Peace River Pulp Division of Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd(DMI) runs a soil amendment program known as NutriBoost. This program involves the land application of biosolids from its treatment process to farm fields supplying farmers with slow-release nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients to boost agricultural productivity and eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers. This program has effectively taken what was once considered a waste and turned it into a beneficial product. On an annual basis, the NutriBoost program recycles 5,000 BDT of biosolids, which makes it the largest recycling program in northwestern Alberta.

Nominee: London Drugs Limited
What’s the Green Deal Program

London Drugs is a 100 per cent Canadian-owned retailer with 75 stores. ‘What’s the Green Deal?’ is a program that brings together the organization’s 4 pillars of sustainability; Upstream Buying; Energy & Operations; Customer/Employee Communication and Recycling/Reuse. Through this initiative, they are well on their way to meeting their goal of diverting 95 per cent of their waste from landfills by 2015. London Drugs offers customers in-store recycling that goes beyond what is mandated by regulations. They work with their buyers and suppliers to improve their product sustainability and they communicate with their customer’s in-store and online with a dedicated website, blogs, videos and social media. London Drugs realizes the journey to sustainability is one that never ends and that’s why ‘What’s the Green Deal?’ is a question they will continue to ask themselves, even as they endeavor to answer it.

Small Business

Nominee: C2C Smoky Lake Forest Nursery
Growing native plants for oil sands reclamation

Smoky Lake Forest Nursery is dedicating time and energy to effectively and efficiently producing seedlings of a variety of native tree and shrub species, increasing the biodiversity available to their customers and thereby increasing the biodiversity in reclaimed ecosystems. The oil sands is an important economic driver of the Alberta economy and oil sands companies set a high priority on ecological reclamation – to create functioning ecosystems comprised of a diversity of native plant species (trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants). Until Smoky Lake Forest Nursery began their production, there was neither a reliable source of native plant material nor the expertise to propagate and mass produce seedlings from wild harvested seeds. They work closely with the oil sands industry to develop seed extraction methodologies, test the resulting seeds for viability and to determine economically feasible protocols to produce hardy and robust seedlings for re-establishing diverse plant communities.

Nominee: The Carbon Farmer
Afforestation Project

The Carbon Farmer Inc. is a grass roots agricultural business that addresses climate change, creates habitat and helps sustain the family farm through its “Carbon Farming Project” that began in 2007. The business concept is to plant native trees, shrubs and grasses and create forests that sequester carbon and help offset emissions while at the same time creating long term habitat for wildlife and providing a sustainable business model for the family farm. To date they have planted more than 300,000 trees in Alberta (180,000 trees on their family’s farm and more than 120,000 on conserved land owned by municipalities and land trusts across the province). In 2013, they plan to plant another 330,000 trees bringing their total trees planted to over 630,000 by the end of 2013. This equates to the reduction of about 126,000 tonnes of carbon (equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of about 25,000 Albertans) and approximately 750 acres of new or restored forest habitat for wildlife.

Nominee: Bullfrog Power
Bullfrog Power

Bullfrog Power, Canada’s 100 per cent green energy provider offers homes and business clean, renewable energy solutions. By choosing Bullfrog Power’s green energy, you can reduce your environmental impact, support the development of new renewable energy projects in Canada and help to create a cleaner world for today and tomorrow. Together with their customers, they are helping to reshape the energy landscape and bring new renewable energy projects online in Canada. To date, bullfrogpowered homes and businesses have provided the demand and support for several new renewable energy projects across the country. Thousands of Canadian homes and organizations are doing their part to address climate change and air pollution by switching to green energy with Bullfrog Power. Many ENGOs (environmental non-governmental organizations) and non-profits, such as WWF-Canada, David Suzuki Foundation, and the Pembina Institute, have also bullfrogpowered their premises to show their support for advancing renewable energy. Today, Bullfrog's customers include some of Canada's most influential homeowners and businesses. Residential homeowners who have pledged their support for green power include Michael Adams, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Gord Downie, Anne Murray, Measha Brueggergosman, Tara MacLean, Nino Ricci, Adria Vasil, Mark Cullen, Olympians Sara Renner and Kristina Groves and thousands more. Businesses across Canada supporting green electricity include Unilever Canada, Walmart Canada, BMO Financial Group, RBC Financial Group, TD Bank Financial Group, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Shaw Communications and Home Depot—just to name a few.

Education: School or Classroom, Presented by

Nominee: Emma Gilberston, Deb Greiner, Antonella Bell
Green School and Kids in the Garden

Let children get dirty? Run through a meadow? Hold leaches? Snowshoe at -20 degrees? Follow moose tracks through the forest? Yes to all and much more. The 100,000 children who have participated in Devonian Botanic Garden’s Green School and Kids in the Garden programs immerse themselves into the outdoors with either daily or week-long nature experiences called “slow education”. These formative nature experiences, once commonplace for rural kids, are now missing from city upbringings. Outdoor education professionals Deb Greiner (lead Green School teacher, BA Education), Emma Gilbertson (Program Director, MA Education) and Antonella Bell (Program creativity, Education PhD student) lead learning in the garden’s woodlands and wetlands. These innovative outdoor educators directly tackle Nature Deficit Disorder as well as teach public school teachers how to bring experiential education to classes. Since 1981 grades K-12 students have been outside getting dirty and loving it!

Nominee: Brookwood School
Walking the Green Walk

Brookwood School, located in Spruce Grove, lives Earth Day every day! Over the last five years they have begun and sustained a multitude of initiatives to reduce their daily contributions to the local landfill. Their activities have become so entrenched in the culture of their school that their “3R” programs are now a matter of course. Five years ago, their school disposed of 15 very large garbage bags each and every day. Now, through their many programs: recycling of juice boxes, paper and cardboard and garbage-less lunches, they have reduced their daily garbage collection to a maximum of three bags per day! The entire school community of staff, students and parents, which numbers more than 600 people, works daily to ensure they continue their commitment to decrease their ecological footprint now and in the future. Brookwood School truly does its best to tread lightly on the earth.

Nominee: Aaron Dublenko
Student Led Initiatives for Sustainable Education (SLISE)

The Student Led Initiatives for Sustainable Education (SLISE) program inspires students to engage as responsible citizens in creating a sustainable environment. Based on the United Nations concept of E.S.D. (education for sustainable development), SLISE is a student-led program that fosters a culture in which young citizens become agents of change, creating innovative, sustainable environment projects in a real-world context with visible, measurable, empowering results. The teacher-leader, Aaron Dublenko, uses his passion for a sustainable environment to ignite that same intellectual fire in his students, spurring them to think in inventive ways about on-going local and global issues. Whether it is addressing the need for sustainable energy sources like biodiesel, tapping into and implementing solar energy sources, or improving access to clean drinking water in the third-world, Aaron and his students are tireless champions for positive change and offer convincing evidence that such change is not only possible but world-altering.

Nominee: TD Learning Naturally Program
TD Learning Naturally Program

The TD Learning Naturally Program is a corporately-sponsored environmental education program for economically disadvantaged students. In 2012, the program brought 4,887 students from 34 schools across Calgary to Fish Creek Provincial Park to participate in curriculum-related fieldtrips. The TD Learning Naturally Program sparks curiosity about science and nature in their participants, supporting youth who do not normally have the opportunity to visit a natural park to have an unforgettable nature-based education experience in an inspiring setting. In teaching the students to appreciate parks and encouraging them to utilize these spaces for recreation, they create stewards who can appreciate and take care of parks for years to come.

Public Education and Outreach

Nominee: Belgravia Green Team
  Net Zero Energy Project

The Belgravia Green Net Zero Project was initiated in 2008 by Belgravia residents Jeanette Boman and Kevin Taft who love their community. They engaged Effect Home Builders to transform two derelict houses on adjacent lots into three innovative world-class ultra-efficient homes. This improved their neighbourhood, engaged their community and inspired local green initiatives. In a collaborative effort, the team designed and built the homes so they approach or achieve a net-zero-energy goal. Net-zero-energy houses produce as much energy per year as they consume. They captured the attention of the public through extensive media coverage, many tours and winning multiple local, provincial and national awards. Hands-on educational sessions continue to be given to elementary, high school and post-secondary students, teachers, utility companies, government departments, home builders and other groups. The team’s goal is to share what they’ve learned while generating awareness on how energy- and resource-efficient housing can serve society.

Nominee: Inside Education
Teacher Professional Development Programs

Inside Education’s Teacher Professional Development Programs provide career-changing experiential learning opportunities for school teachers, community educators and career counselors. Since the first program in 1991, nearly 3,000 Alberta teachers have been immersed in the science, technology, issues and futures surrounding Alberta’s precious water, forest and energy resources. Visiting places like Fort McKay in the north and Pincher Creek in the south, Inside Education provides full-scholarship learning opportunities for educators across the province. The teachers learn from experts in Alberta industry, government, academia, the environmental community and Alberta’s Aboriginal peoples. Once the teachers see and experience the province, they take a bias-balanced, multiple perspective approach back to their classrooms and challenge the hundreds of students they impact annually to be critical thinkers and tomorrow’s environmental stewards.

Nominee: David Dodge and Duncan Kinney
Green Energy Futures

Amidst the persistent bad news stories associated with climate change and fossil fuel use, a quiet revolution is taking place. People, places and businesses are embracing the transition to cleaner, greener forms of energy. Green Energy Futures is an online multimedia channel dedicated to covering that quiet revolution. They tell positive stories of those who are embracing the transformation of some of society’s largest and most entrenched systems. They tell these stories with written, audio and video content for traditional media partners, new online-only media partners and through their website. The project is presented by the Pembina Institute and sponsored by Suncor, TD and Shell Canada.

Emerald Challenge Award: WATER, Presented byEncana

Nominee: Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)
Youth Wavemakers Program

Youth Wavemakers engages Alberta youth to take action on local and global water issues. Since 2008, this program has reached 20,000 youth and educators, who in turn have raised awareness with another 60,000 people in their communities on water issues. This increased awareness has catalyzed independent action in these communities through youth action projects. From reducing domestic water use to building rainwater storage tanks and retrofitting schools with water saving devices, youth are building the knowledge and leadership skills to address local and global water issues as they become adults.

Nominee: Shirley Pickering
Oldman Watershed Council

Shirley Pickering’s leadership on progressive water management and stewardship has no peers in the private, volunteer, or public sectors. She has built community and agency capacity and then crafted strategies that address intractable watershed issues with solutions that last because they meet provincial needs and are based on community consensus and technical competency. Shirley’s accomplishments stand in marked contrast to her deliberate, modest and self-effacing manner. She gives freely of her time, skills, experience and considerable professional expertise in providing leadership to basin councils, non-government stewardship organizations, government committees and community groups.

Government Institution

Nominee: Office of Sustainability, University of Alberta
Office of Sustainability, University of Alberta

Higher education plays a key role demonstrating and advancing sustainability in society. To advance the University of Alberta’s performance, the Board of Governors endorsed the campus sustainability initiative in 2008 and creation of the Office of Sustainability. Launched in 2009, the office delivers programs in three focus areas: outreach & engagement, academic teaching & research and facilities & operations. This nomination concentrates on the outreach & engagement focus area which: delivers projects that build sustainability skills and knowledge; connects people to information, experts, tools and funding; profiles and promotes campus initiatives; crafts meaningful partnerships and builds action-oriented programs.  Since its launch, the program has achieved: silver rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS™); 2011 Case Study Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE); 2012 Community Partner of the Year Award from Goodwill; Canada’s Greenest Employer designation 2009-2012; and three Green Keys for the Lister Conference Centre and Guest Suites.

Nominee: City of Edmonton Corporate Properties Branch
Legacy Pointe in La Perle Secondary Suites Project

The Legacy Pointe Built Green/Secondary Suite Pilot project demonstrates an innovative and sustainable reuse of a surplus school sites. The project provides valuable neighbourhood infill and density with construction of energy-efficient, BuiltGreen homes containing secondary rental suites. Legacy Pointe is an attainable housing project with new owners eligible for Cornerstone Grants of up to $20,000 providing they agree to rent to persons of median income for five years.

Nominee: Alberta Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Alberta's Wet Areas Mapping Initiative

Alberta’s Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development actively pursues innovative solutions that balance economic, environmental and social concerns. Stewardship requires particular emphasis be placed on conservation of aquatic habitats and sensitive lands. The problem is traditional mapping of water in Alberta relies upon photo interpretation. But unseen, wet areas, soils that are sensitive to disturbance and small channels remain unknown to resource planners. The Department commenced on what has become a nine-year journey with researchers at the University of New Brunswick to develop functional datasets in a geographic information system that reveals both hydrological and soil features with amazing accuracy. Wet areas mapping has become a model of recognizing an innovation opportunity and moving good science through to a simple, robust, cost-effective tools with a growing array of applications. The initiative was never about making new regulations, it is about empowering Albertans by providing them with data to best achieve environmental excellence.

Individual Commitment

Nominee: Lonny Balbi, Q.C.
Bike to Work Day
Website: www.bikecalgary.ca

Lonny Balbi, Q.C., is an avid cyclist, noted humanitarian and environmental sustainability advocate. It was these three passions that led him to create Calgary’s most recognizable cycling-themed environmental support event – Bike to Work Day. As the founder and inspirational leader of this annual event, Lonny Balbi devotes countless hours of his own time, as well as the resources of Balbi & Company Legal Centre, the law practice he founded in 1988. Lonny’s vision is to motivate and encourage Calgarians to abandon their cars (at least temporarily) for their commutes to and from their places of employment in favour of cycling, in order to reduce Calgary’s carbon footprint and improve the air. In 2012, Bike to Work Day will celebrate its sixth anniversary. It is partnered with and supported by The City of Calgary and the non-profit Parks Foundation Calgary.

Nominee:  Michael J. Mappin
University of Calgary, Biogeoscience Institute Experiential Education Programs

Since 1988, Mike has worked at the University of Calgary’s Kananaskis Field Station (now called Biogeoscience Institute BGS) where he has pioneered the development, implementation and evaluation of field-based education programs to enhance ecological understanding for students, teachers and educators, policy makers and the general public. Mike has worked tirelessly to create programs for students and teachers ranging from day trips to week long residential field trips. He has taken a leadership role in identifying and addressing emerging issues in experiential and ecology education and building programs around these topics. What makes his programs different is he takes current scientific research and communicates this directly to participants while covering the specific science curricula. Students in BGS programs experience real research science, as opposed to text book lessons.

Nominee: Dory Rossiter
Dory's Enviro Work

For more than 20 years, Dory has created and organized events and campaigns to help bring awareness and positive change to many environmental issues. In response to manufacturers using excessive amounts of packaging when marketing products, she organized a national letter-writing campaign generating more than 145,000 letters. She wanted to clean up areas that were polluted with garbage, so she organized and participated in more than 30 area clean-ups. Dory wanted students to appreciate the environment, so she talks to about 20 classes each year. She wanted to make sure old clothing was not ending up in landfills, and as of 2011, more than 21,000 pieces of clothing have been repaired and given to the homeless and those in need. She has given up vacation time and countless weekends to work on what she believes is important and her efforts have helped make our world a better place for future generations.

Nominee: Nikki Heck
Avian Protection Plan

Nikki Heck is an example of how one person can make a big difference within a large corporation. For nearly a decade, Nikki has shown environmental leadership and personal dedication by working to protect avian species on AltaLink’s electric system. Prior to Nikki’s work, the impacts resulting from avian–power line interactions were virtually unknown, despite birds causing an estimated 20 per cent of all power outages. Through the implementation of Canada’s first Avian Protection Plan, AltaLink is now considered a leader in avian-power line protection. This program is a powerful example of how an environmental initiative can be directly linked to increased company performance. Select successes of the program include a 95 per cent reduction in avian caused power outages in substations, identification and mitigation of high risk bird-collision locations, retrofits of power poles with potential to cause electrocution, stewardship and education of peers, youth, policy makers and electric utilities across Canada.

Youth, Presented by ConocoPhillips

Nominee: Cochrane High School Sustainable Development Committee
Phase VII Evance R9000 Wind Turbine

The Cochrane High School Sustainable Development Committee has been involved in the planning, design and installation of a 5 kW Evance R9000 wind turbine on their school property. This committee’s motto is to be the change they wish to see in this world and their mandate is to transform their school’s operations and activities into those that are sustainable and, thus, achieving greater efficiency. Installation of the 5 kW wind turbine will raise the school’s electrical production from renewable energy sources to 11 kW. This project couples innovation with good, smart policy on environment, conservation, diversification and long-term development. Because the demand for energy continues to increase, this project confirms both opportunity and responsibility for Cochrane High and Rockyview Schools.

Nominee: Kelcie Miller-Anderson
Mycoremediation of the Oil Sands

Since the age of 15, Kelcie has been pursuing her own research in an effort to create a method of remediation to combat the tailing ponds created by one of Alberta’s leading industries - the Alberta Oil Sands. Developing a novel method of remediation that utilizes oyster mushrooms, her research showed a substantial reduction of petroleum hydrocarbons, naphthenic acids and pH levels and an enhanced sodium absorption ratio of both the tailings and the tailings pond water — all major challenges to successful remediation. Her work has earned recognition and awards from various organizations across Canada, most notably a Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award. She was also recently chosen as the 2012 Featured Student at the AsTech awards. In relating her findings to peers, industry and academic professionals she has also been able to share her passion in changing the negative perceptions surrounding the Alberta Oil sands.

Nominee: Derek Wong
Environmental Education

Derek is a true environmental leader and active member of the SLISE program (Student Led Initiatives for Sustainable Education). While maintaining honours grades, he tirelessly devotes his time to making the world a healthier place. Despite his busy academic life, he has spear-headed humanitarian and environmental initiatives of fundraising to purchase water filtration devices to help with the cholera outbreak in Haiti. No matter what challenges come before him, Derek champion’s solutions to real world problems whether it be local food, energy production, climate change, or reducing carbon footprints. He spends countless hours collaborating with students, industry and educators to share youth perspectives on climate change mitigation. Derek regularly gives talks on projects and has recently presented to a youth delegate in Doha, Qatar at the United Nations conference on Climate Change. He is an agent of change who will truly make a difference in this world.

Nominee: Jalen Hulit
Stewardship of Alberta's Native Rangelands

Jalen Hulit is an inspiring youth growing up on his Family’s ranch along the north slopes of the Sweet Grass Hills.  For the past three years, Jalen has participated in the Southern Alberta Youth Range Days (YRD) program - a summer camp that provides an opportunity for aspiring young adults interested in Native Rangelands, Ranching, Watersheds and Wildlife related topics to learn about management and receive mentoring from professionals working in the field. Each year an award is presented to the ‘top hand’ that shows leadership, understanding and the highest performance in workbook activities throughout the event. In 2012, Jalen was the recipient of the ‘top hand’ award. Prior to which Jalen was a winner in the Caring for our Watersheds Contest for his project to wrap cottonwood seedings along the milk river to protect against beaver and other wildlife damage. In early 2013, through his experience with CFW and YRD, Jalen was invited to represent Alberta at the Society for Range Management High School Youth Forum in Oklahoma City, OK.  Jalen’s presentation reflected on his experiences with his families ranching operation in protecting sensitive native rangelands and riparian areas, as well as his mentoring from YRD and other programs to where he hopes to continue his families legacy of stewardship. In competing with 28 state champions, Jalen received 3rd place overall, the highest ever placing from a Canadian Youth.

Shared Footprints Award, Established by  Government of Alberta
Presented by Encana

Nominee: Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance
Landscape Ecological Assessment and Planning (LEAP) and the Algar Restoration Pilot Project

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. The COSIA companies share a common commitment to environmental stewardship and have invested significant resources into innovative approaches to restore footprint and improve woodland caribou habitat. The Landscape Ecological Assessment and Planning (LEAP) process was employed to first establish current baseline footprint estimates for more than 32,000 km2 of boreal forest (the Southern Athabasca Oil Sands Area), then to guide restoration activities on the 56,915 ha Algar area southwest of Fort McMurray. LEAP includes four parts: establishing ecological objectives for the landscape, projecting ecosystem change, implementing on-the-ground restoration activities and monitoring the effectiveness of these activities. With a proven model and measurable results, LEAP will help direct future management decisions concerning both landscape and site level habitat restoration efforts.

Nominee: Montane Elk Project
Montane Elk Project

The Montane Elk Program is committed to research ensuring the environmentally sound development of Alberta’s energy resources. With a particular focus on mitigating the effects of energy development on elk in southwest Alberta, the project has become the world’s largest radiotelemetry study on elk. Mitigating the ecological effects of energy development is achieved by sharing roads with the ranching and timber-harvesting industries and by gating and reclaiming roads to natural gas wells in the Forest Reserve north of Waterton Lakes National Park. The Montane Elk Program has documented the efficacy of access management for the enhancement of habitats for elk and other high-profile species, including grizzly bears, wolves and cougars. Research is underway by scientists at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and Oregon State University. Substantial investments by Shell, NSERC, the provincial government, Alberta Conservation Association and several additional stakeholders have made this project possible.