A tribute to a true steward of the land, ALUS Parkland’s original participant Gerry Taillieu (1957-2020)
The ALUS community lost one of its greats on August 23, 2020: Gerard (Gerry) Taillieu, at the young age of 62.
A 40-year veteran of cattle ranches in Washington State, British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta, Gerry first began the art and science of range management in 1991, as Cowboss at Stump Lake Ranch outside Kamloops, B.C.
He started as Manager of Western Ranchlands Tomahawk Ranch, a 14,000-acre cattle ranch on ecologically sensitive land in Parkland County, west of Edmonton, Alberta, in 2001.
It was in this capacity that Gerry became ALUS Parkland’s first-ever ALUS participant, signing up at the program’s inception in 2012.
Gerry enrolled hundreds of acres of land into the ALUS program over the years, and managed them carefully for the production of cleaner water, cleaner air and more biodiversity, to benefit not only his community but also people living downstream in the provincial capital.
“There’s a saying, ‘we don’t own the land, but are just holding it in trust for the next generation.’ That’s a real social responsibility, and I take that quite seriously.”—Gerry Taillieu (ALUS Parkland, Alberta)
“I admired Gerry very much,” said ALUS Canada CEO Bryan Gilvesy. “He was an inspirational leader at the regional, provincial, national and even international levels. He was quiet, but effective. And he was truly a man of the land.”
Gerry devoted a significant amount of time to ALUS and to his community, and demonstrated an outstanding commitment to growing the program. He was a longstanding member of ALUS Parkland’s Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC), through which he shared his innovative ideas for environmental stewardship on the working landscape and became a valuable resource for other participants in the ALUS Parkland program.
“Gerry Taillieu was an inspiring land steward and community leader who had words of wisdom on many topics,” said Christine Campbell, ALUS Canada’s Western Hub Manager. “The PAC often looked to him for guidance, as he truly embodied ALUS.”
Gerry also helped promote the ALUS program in many ways over the years, such as by hosting tours of his ALUS projects on Western Ranchlands Tomahawk Ranch, speaking to the media about ALUS, and appearing at events and in promotional videos.
In this video, for example, Gerry describes the intrinsic value of clean water for livestock, and how his ALUS projects help produce more of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYTaz6IalwU
Gerry was well respected in agricultural and environmental circles, as a member of the West-Central Forage Association, and as a recipient of the Alberta Beef Producers Association Environmental Stewardship Award in 2013 and the Award of Excellence for Rangeland management from the California Pacific Society for Range Management.
Upon receiving the inaugural ALUS Canada Producer Innovation Award in 2016, Gerry told us the following: “There’s a saying, ‘we don’t own the land, but are just holding it in trust for the next generation.’ That’s a real social responsibility, and I take that quite seriously.”
In his memory, the Taillieu family would like to encourage everyone to support Canadian Blood Services and to donate blood “whenever possible.”
Thank you, Gerry, and farewell.