We’re Alberta’s environmental good-news storytellers
We tell Alberta’s environmental good news stories to uplift, educate, and inspire our province toward meeting environmental and climate action goals
Research suggests that when we learn about what real environmental and climate change solutions look like and how they’re being implemented in our communities, it increases our ability and desire to take action in our own lives. By providing real-life examples of these solutions through our various storytelling programs, we help Albertans take the next step toward environmental protection and climate action.
To showcase, inspire, and empower Alberta’s environmental achievements.
Through our actions, we contribute to a more sustainable future for all.
- Promoting environmental leadership.
- Communicating and collaborating with others.
- Ensuring the integrity and credibility of the Foundation.
- Engaging the next generation.
Since 1992, the Emerald Awards have showcased almost 400 recipients and 900 finalists who are raising the bar in addressing environmental and climate change issues. These environmental awards celebrate excellence across all sectors, making them unique not only in Alberta but also in Canada.
Our Sharing Stories program tells the stories of the organizations, projects, and individuals across Alberta who are working to protect our environment and take action against climate change. By telling these stories, we hope to educate and inspire people within and outside of Alberta to take action in their own lives and help create a more sustainable planet!
Our Emerald Youth Grant Program empowers youth in Alberta to make their dream environmental projects a reality!
meet the team
Marisa Orfei, Executive Director
Marisa is a creative and innovative leader with a passion for telling stories and building relationships. Throughout her career, she has created and told important stories that impact positive change in our community.
Marisa has extensive leadership, stakeholder relationship, and communications experience within government, philanthropic and not-for-profit organizations. Her career began at Alberta Environment and led to her role as Director of Communications for the Premier.
Marisa then spent 10 years with the Palix Foundation developing and implementing creative communications strategies for complex research. She produced award-winning resources that told the story of ‘How Brains Are Built’.
Marisa then took on a position as Interim Executive Director for APPLE Schools, focused on giving schools and children a healthier future.
Her other passions include spending time with her family and friends, traveling, gardening, and cooking from scratch!
Sabrina Huot, Communications & Engagement Specialist
Sabrina (Bri) is our dynamic Communications and Engagement Specialist! With a Bachelor of Commerce degree from MacEwan University, Sabrina specializes in digital marketing, content creation, and public outreach. Since joining the Foundation in 2021, Bri’s role has evolved significantly. In addition to spearheading social media, website management, and digital marketing, she now manages AEF’s 4 primary programs.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Bri is a versatile musician, contributing her talents to both Rock and Traditional Folk bands. Her musical repertoire includes the guitar, mandolin, alternative percussion, lead vocals, and harmonies.
Looking ahead, Bri is enthusiastic about continuing to share Alberta’s environmental success stories, inspiring fellow Albertans to champion environmental excellence in their communities.
Board of Directors
The Alberta Emerald Foundation operates under the guidance and expertise of its Board of Directors. Thanks to their generous contributions of time and talent, the AEF is successful in its mission to showcase and inspire environmental achievements in our province.
Lee Funke, Board Chair
President, Torque Communications
mark brostrom, Past Board Chair
Trina innes, Governance Committee Chair
Executive Director, Sustainability Services, Alberta Municipalities
John parkins, resource development Committee Chair
Professor, Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta
jen silverthorn, communications and outreach committee Chair
Environmental Management Leader, City of Calgary
Alexander Sabharwal, Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
Digital Analytics Associate Manager, Accenture
anna Kauffman, director
Forest Nature and Conservation Manager, Drax Group Canada
Cam Lane, director
Executive Director Intergovernmental Relations and Engagement Strategy and Governance Division, Albert Environment and Protected Areas
Che-Wei Chung, director
Director of Operations, Alberta Recycling Management Authority
patrick jones, director
Regional Director, Sustainability, Fairmont Canadian Western Mountain Region
christine hornung, director
MSc & BFA (in progress), SomeArtyGirl Studios
debbie rheinstein, director
Teacher for Calgary Board of Education
Reports and Manuals
We acknowledge and honour that we operate on Treaty 6, Treaty 7, and Treaty 8 territories, of which we have been beneficiaries since their signing. We extend our hands in peace and friendship to all Indigenous peoples who have made these places their homes since time immemorial.
We are grateful for the journey we are on as treaty people, with the responsibility and opportunity to carry forward and renew the spirit and intent of those agreements. To learn, to grow, to celebrate this journey of discovery, and to share our stories as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.
We call forward the spirit of tatawaw which in nehiyawewin means “Welcome, there is room” to guide us as we do our part to make Alberta a more welcoming and sustainable place to live for all.
We acknowledge and honour the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We believe in embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and welcome those from all walks of life, regardless of race, colour, gender identity, sex, ancestry, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or expression, age, marital status, or disability.
We encourage conversation on our social platforms and in all our programs. In our effort to create and maintain a safe space for all to participate, we will remove any posts or comments that are discriminatory and act against the above statement.