Battle River Watershed Alliance recognizes outstanding stewardship work of Alana and Justin Schamber (ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc), and Marie and Don Ruzicka (ALUS Flagstaff)
Congratulations to ALUS participants Alana and Justin Schamber (ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc) and Marie and Don Ruzicka (ALUS Flagstaff) for earning 2018 OTIS Awards in recognition of their outstanding environmental stewardship.
The OTIS Awards are presented annually by the Battle River Watershed Alliance to businesses, organizations, individuals and youth in Alberta’s Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds for taking action though on-the-ground efforts, education, and the responsible overseeing and protection of the watershed’s environment as “something worth preserving.”
This year’s Farm Award went to Tin Forest Farm, where ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc participants Alana and Justin Schamber are excellent wetland caretakers who also work to raise awareness about local food and connect people to the land through farm tours and kids camps.
According to the Battle River Watershed Alliance, “the Schamber family see themselves as caretakers of the planet, ensuring that what happens on their farm is good for the environment, the animals, and the people.”
They have worked with ALUS to establish fences around the wetlands to exclude their livestock, thus preserving the ecological integrity of the surface water and creek that run through this area—indeed, wetlands cover approximately a third of their farm.
“Participating in the ALUS program is just one example of Alana and Justin’s many stewardship activities,” says Kim Barkwell, ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc’s Program Coordinator. “When it comes to community, the Schamber family heeds the call fearlessly.”
Click for more information on the ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc program.
This year’s Individual Award was presented to ALUS Flagstaff participants Marie and Don Ruzicka for “Leading By Example” on Sunrise Farm, northwest of Killam, Alberta.
The Ruzickas farmed their 800 acres conventionally until 1995, when a course in holistic management changed how they viewed the land: They now manage their land organically and holistically to produce healthy plant communities.
As ALUS participants, they have restored native grasslands, enhanced wetlands, and planted buffer areas around them for wildlife habitat, which has triggered a resurgence of biodiversity on their farm.
They also helped form the Iron Creek Watershed Improvement Society and have worked on many educational initiatives to connect youth to the land and to farming. For all these reasons, the Battle River Watershed Alliance concluded that “the Ruzickas have made a tangible difference on the land they care for, and in the many people they inspire.”
Click for more information on the ALUS Flagstaff program.
“We want to thank the Battle River Watershed Alliance for recognizing some of our ALUS participants as the outstanding stewards of the land that they are,” said Christine Campbell, ALUS Canada’s Western Hub Manager.
The Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) is the designated Watershed Planning and Advisory Council for the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watersheds in Alberta. Founded in 2006, it is a non-governmental organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the land and water in these basins by taking a balanced approach for healthy natural areas, resilient communities, and a stable economy.
For more information on the OTIS awards: http://www.battleriverwatershed.ca/stewardship/otis-awards/