Friday, 25 November 2011 13:55

Emerald Foundation seeks nominations for environmental stewardship

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By Susan Quinlan
In an effort to recognize and reward efforts that work toward balancing development with environmental stewardship, the Emerald Foundation is again accepting nominations for its annual award ceremony.

“The Emerald Awards celebrate outstanding achievements by Albertans committed to protecting, preserving, enhancing and sustaining our environment,” said Emmy Stuebing, executive director, Emerald Foundation.

Acknowledging the efforts made by youth, educators, corporations, individuals, not-for-profit associations, community groups and government, nominations opened Nov. 21. There are 10 categories in which to nominate, recognizing everything from business to community groups to youth, said Stuebing.

Nominations close Feb. 24 and finalists will be announced in April, with the 21st Annual Emerald Awards held June 6 in Calgary.

Past winners from rural southern Alberta have included Peter Sherrington, for his work with the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation; Harley Bastien, for Peigan Friends Along the River’s annual fish rescue project; and Colin Weir, director of the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre for its work as a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility.

Sherrington began collecting data on raptor migration in 1992 and has since logged in excess of 26,000 hours in the field, collecting information to enhance understanding of golden eagle migration while broadening scientists’ knowledge about migration as an indicator of ecological conditions.

The Peigan Friends Along the River was founded by Harley Bastien in 1990, when Bastien organized a group to rescue fish stranded in an aqueduct on his property on the Piikani Nation. Twenty years later, the group has continued to come together annually to remove fish left stranded in the irrigation canal when water from the Oldman River dam is turned off at the end of irrigation season. Under this project, Bastien has estimated more than 200,000 fish have been rescued and returned to the Oldman River.

The goals of the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre include wildlife rescue and release, environmental learning and species conservation. The centre sits on 70 acres which, over a number of years, have been transformed into prairie wetland dotted with facilities that support the centre’s goals.

Founded in 1991, the Emerald Foundation represents a partnership between individuals, corporate sponsors, non-governmental organizations and Alberta Environment, that has now accumulated more than 1,500 environmental success stories, said Stuebing. The foundation believes sharing these stories will affect the manner in which Albertans interact with the environment, so all benefit from a healthier, environmentally secure future.

With increasing pressure on Alberta landscapes, the foundation aims to raise expectations and performance regarding environmental stewardship, added Stuebing.

“One message I would love to articulate is to encourage people to not be shy and please nominate individuals and programs for their good environmental work.”

For more information, contact Stuebing at 780-413-9629 or 780-616-1556; email emmy@emerald

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