About the Alberta Emerald Foundation

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.


We accelerate environmental excellence by identifying and celebrating Alberta’s visionary leaders and sharing best practices through the power of compelling educational narratives.


A future where all Albertans advance environmental excellence where they live, work, and play.


  • Influence: Promoting environmental leadership and engaging the next generation of environmental leaders
  • Integrity: Remaining a trusted and respected platform for environmental excellence
  • Community: Sustaining success together by amplifying collaborative impact
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Embracing inclusivity, respecting diverse perspectives

Our programs


Emerald Awards

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.

Learn more


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!

Discover the stories of Alberta’s environmental leaders


Our Emerald Youth Grant Program empowers youth in Alberta to make their dream environmental projects a reality!

View the eligibility requirements and how to apply

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

Steve mcisaac, director

Executive Director, Inside Education

christine hornung, director

MSc & BFA (in progress), SomeArtyGirl Studios

debbie rheinstein, director

Teacher for Calgary Board of Education

Patrick arnell, director

General Supervisor, Environmental Management & Utilities Supply
Environment & Climate Resilience, Urban Planning & Economy, City of Edmonton

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.