Congratulations to ALUS Mountain View, ALUS Lacombe and ALUS Red Deer County on their Blue Skies Award for environmental stewardship.
On Clean Air Day, June 6, 2018, three ALUS programs in Alberta won the Blue Skies Award for taking exemplary steps to improve air quality in central Alberta.
The Blue Skies Award is presented annually by the Parkland Airshed Management Zone (PAMZ), a non-profit group which addresses air quality concerns in a geographical area that is subject to similar air quality conditions, defined as an “airshed.”
ALUS Canada’s Western Hub Manager, Christine Campbell, was delighted to see three ALUS communities recognized for their communal efforts. “Air quality is seldom a localized issue,” she said. “It takes strong collaborations and partnerships to make an impact and fortunately, that is something the ALUS programs in Alberta do very well. I’m proud that their collective effort is being recognized by the Parkland Airshed Management Zone.”
The airshed in question is 42,000 sq.km. in size, extending from the majestic eastern slopes of the Rockies to the rolling prairie just east of Highway 2 near Drumheller, and from Airdrie in the south to Ponoka in the north, including Mountain View County, Red Deer County, and Lacombe County.
Individual Blue Skies Awards were presented to the ALUS Coordinators in these three communities by PAMZ executive director Kevin Warren, who pointed out that ALUS is having a beneficial effect on air quality in the airshed management zone.
“We are honored to receive the PAMZ award,” said Lorelee Grattidge, ALUS Mountain View Program Coordinator. “PAMZ recognizes the cleaner air quality that is being produced on ALUS projects, but ALUS also produces biodiversity, water quality, and other ecosystem services in our communities.”
According to Grattidge, ALUS is an opportunity to reward producers for their efforts to enhance the environment on marginal areas of their farms. “We got our first projects on the ground in 2015,” she said. “There has been really good uptake over the past three years. We now have 20+ participants who have signed on, and we are getting close to a milestone of 1,000 acres enrolled in the ALUS program.”
ALUS Red Deer County program coordinator Ken Lewis agrees. “How we look at it is: the ecosystem services our participants deliver have economic value to the rest of us. With ALUS, we’re finally transferring value back to farmers for the work they’re doing for society,” he said. “Our participants have ALUS projects including everything from riparian fencing with alternative watering systems to grazing management and crop-related projects.”
During the luncheon event, ALUS Lacombe’s Partnership Advisory Committee Chair, Marilyn Sharp, spoke about the ALUS program in Lacombe County, while ALUS Red Deer County showed a video from their “Stewards of the Land” series, featuring ALUS participant Aron Lutz, and ALUS Mountain View unveiled a new video presentation about their ALUS program, featuring ALUS participants Jerremie Clyde of Little Loaves Farm, and Brian, Teresa and Owen Rodger from B&D Simmentals.