The Next Generation of Conservation in the West - ALUS Canada
Calgary business leaders celebrate strong support for ALUS Canada in Alberta, where ranchers produce cleaner air, cleaner water and wildlife habitat for all.
On November 28, a group of 20 Albertan business leaders joined ALUS Canada supporters and senior staff to celebrate ALUS’ strong presence in Alberta.
The event, at Calgary’s storied Ranchmen’s Club, was co-hosted by ALUS Canada’s Board Director, Larry Kaumeyer (CEO, Buffalo Inspection Services), and long-term ALUS supporter David Bissett.
In his opening remarks, Kaumeyer introduced ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, as a national charitable organization whose program supports farmers and ranchers who produce cleaner air, cleaner water, more biodiversity and other ecosystem services in their communities.
He thanked his co-host, David Bissett, who recently renewed his longstanding support for ALUS by creating the Bissett Action Fund in 2017.
“The Bissett Action Fund has already helped 45 farmers and ranchers redeploy nearly 1,000 acres of marginal land,” said Kaumeyer. “This land is now producing valuable ecosystem services that benefit all Albertans.”
ALUS Canada’s CEO, Bryan Gilvesy, described ALUS Canada’s scope across the nation, mentioning that the program has grown to 22 ALUS communities in six provinces, with nearly 600 participants. ALUS has enjoyed particular success in Alberta, home to 9,000 acres of ALUS projects, which represents roughly half of the program’s national total.
“So far, we’ve disbursed more than $1.6 million in funding to Alberta’s 10 ALUS communities, including nearly $675,000 last year alone,” he said, “and our investment is multiplied on the ground by strong municipal partners, participating farmers and ranchers, and local community sponsors.”
As ALUS’ western team can attest, there has been strong growth in demand from municipalities; the expansion of the ALUS program in Alberta is a testament of the success of its science-based, voluntary approach.
“The results in Alberta show that we can achieve landscape-scale improvements by engaging with the farm communities,” said Gilvesy. “There is very strong community support for ALUS here and that the potential for expansion is huge.”
With sufficient financial support, ALUS Canada could add at least seven new communities in the province over the next three years, while also expanding Alberta’s existing ALUS communities to meet all the available demand. “There are ALUS projects waiting in the wings for funding,” Gilvesy said. “These include wetland restorations, buffer zones around watercourses, wildlife and pollinator habitats and projects that help build more resilient communities.”
The ALUS program is supported through a blend of philanthropic funding and government grants, with a new foray into corporate sponsorships. Katherine Balpataky, who recently joined ALUS as the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Business Development, works with business leaders to cultivate high-impact partnerships through this program, New Acre™ Project.
“I see ALUS, and the New Acre™ Project, as leading the development of a new ecosystem services market in Canada,” said Balpataky. “It’s the first of its kind in Canada, a ground-breaking program that empowers caring Canadian corporations to make a difference on the ground as part of their CSR commitments.”
Balpataky, along with all of ALUS Canada’s team, senior leadership and long-time supporters, are eager to develop new partnerships and help the ALUS program grow in Alberta, so that more farmers and ranchers can produce cleaner air, cleaner water and more wildlife habitat in their communities.
For more information on New Acre™ Project, please contact kbalpataky [@] alus.ca or visit ALUS.ca.