Alberta Ecotrust Filling the Environmental Funding Gap



    CALGARY, June 11 /CNW/ - What do bears, bicycles, and energy-efficient
buildings have in common? What about the boreal forest and water stewardship?
Sour gas research, parks planning, and behavior change? All of them are the
focus of projects championed by Alberta environmental organizations that were
recently awarded grants from Alberta Ecotrust totaling approximately $150,000.
    Selected from among 22 proposals by a committee comprising partners from
the corporate and environmental NGO sectors, the eight projects that received
grants all address pressing environmental concerns. For the first time in 12
years, for example, the Province is considering changes to the way it
allocates water - who gets it, how much of it, and when. Taking advantage of
the opportunity, Water Matters, a provincial water stewardship group,
developed a program to increase the water awareness of Albertans and encourage
their participation in upcoming public consultations. The project received a
grant of $28,500, which, says executive director Danielle Droitsch, "will
allow us to advance common sense proposals to conserve healthy water flows and
meet basic human water needs."

    
    Among other proposals receiving awards:
    -   $8,000 to the Greater Edmonton Alliance
        (www.greateredmontonalliance.com) to build common interest among
        faith groups, unions, businesses, community groups, government and
        utilities to help citizens retrofit and promote greener buildings in
        the Greater Edmonton region.
    -   $7,500 to The Crowsnest Pass Conservation Society's
        (www.crowsnestpassconservation.ca) "Living with Bears" program, which
        encourages citizens and businesses to be "Bear Smart" and either
        eliminate or manage wildlife attractants.
    -   $30,000 to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Northern Alberta
        (www.cpawsnab.org) to promote the inclusion of its visionary plan for
        maintaining the health of the province's boreal forest in Alberta's
        new Land Use Framework.
    -   $7,500 in staffing support to the Good Life Community Bicycle Shop
        (www.goodlifebikes.ca), which promotes cycling as a healthy, low-
        carbon transportation alternative by providing affordable recycled
        bikes, free workshops, and a bicycling resource centre to Calgarians.
    

    Since the start of the economic downturn, funding for grassroots
environmental work has become scarce, and Alberta Ecotrust's contribution is
helping fill the gap. Pat Letizia, Alberta Ecotrust executive director,
reports that, "our partners are holding course through the current storm, and
we feel very fortunate to be able to continue our support for important
projects from Crowsnest Pass to Fort McMurray." Alberta Ecotrust grants are
made possible by the collaboration and financial support of concerned
corporations, individuals and the environmental NGO sector. Since 1992, over
$6 million has been granted to community organizations working to preserve
Alberta's air, water and land.

    Background 1: Alberta Ecotrust Foundation Grant Distribution, Spring 2009

    
    Proposals reviewed: 22
    Grants awarded: 8
    Funds awarded: $149,853
    

    Mobilizing Learners to Become Stewards of the Environment - $30,000

    Alberta Council for Environmental Education (www.abcee.org)
    Designing and delivering programs that generate responsible, action-based
behaviors which result in a healthier environment is an ongoing challenge for
environmental educators. The Alberta Council for Environmental Education's
"Mobilizing Learners " program will provide a province-wide series of training
clinics, workshops, and keynotes that will help teachers and education groups
create programs with action-oriented outcomes.

    Securing Water for People and Rivers - $28,853

    Water Matters Society of Alberta (www.water-matters.org)
    For the first time in 12 years, the Alberta government is considering
changes to the way it allocates water - arguably the province's most precious
natural resource. The allocation system determines who gets water, when, and
how much is available to government, to business, and to ordinary Alberta
citizens. "Securing Water for People and Rivers" is an education, awareness,
and outreach program that will improve the "water literacy" of Albertans,
encourage their participation in upcoming public consultations, and advance
common sense proposals to conserve healthy water flows and meet basic human
water needs.

    Alberta's "Plan for Parks" Citizens' Initiative - $30,000

    Sierra Club of Canada (www.sierraclub.ca)
    The province's new "Plan for Parks" offers citizen groups the opportunity
to nominate new parks and propose expansions for existing ones. The Sierra
Club of Canada, working in conjunction with the Castle Special Place Citizens'
Initiative, will use the Alberta Ecotrust grant to educate, engage and
mobilize citizens to create an effective parks plan for the Castle Special
Place.

    Summer Funds Coordinator - $7,500

    Good Life Community Bicycle Shop (www.goodlifebikes.ca)
    Since incorporating in 2008, the Good Life Community Bicycle Shop has
supported 1,000 Calgarians in choosing cycling as a healthy, low-carbon
transportation alternative. The shop provides affordable recycled bikes, free
workshops, and a resource centre equipped with tools, literature and
educators.

    Sustainable Works Greater Edmonton - $8,000

    Greater Edmonton Alliance (www.greateredmontonalliance.com)
    Building clean, green new buildings and retrofitting older ones with new
energy efficiency technologies and materials can reduce society's carbon
emissions dramatically. With its "Sustainable Works Greater Edmonton" program,
the Greater Edmonton Alliance will use its community organizing skills to
build common interest among faith groups, unions, businesses, community
groups, government and utilities to help citizens retrofit and promote
greener, cleaner buildings in the Greater Edmonton region.

    Protecting Wilderness and Biodiversity in the Athabasca Heartland -
$30,000

    Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Northern Alberta
(www.cpawsnab.org)
    Canadian Parks and Wilderness Northern Alberta has devoted four years to
developing a visionary land use plan to maintain the health of the province's
northeast boreal forest by establishing an interconnected system of protected
reserves and industrial areas. The vision has the general support of industry
and aboriginal and community groups.
    With Alberta Ecotrust's support, CPAWS NAB will work to ensure its vision
is incorporated in Alberta's new Land Use Framework.

    Living with Bears - $7,500

    Crowsnest Pass Conservation Society (www.crowsnestconservation.ca)
    The rapid increase in rural residential and vacation homes in Crowsnest
Pass has resulted in a rise in human-bear interactions and the destruction of
an increasing number of problem bears. The Crowsnest Pass Conservation
Society's "Living with Bears" program encourages citizens and businesses to be
Bear Smart and either eliminate or manage wildlife attractants. As the
community gains awareness, residents and businesses will learn to better
coexist with wildlife, and especially bears.

    Solutions-Oriented Sessions on Sour Gas and its Development - $8,000

    Pembina Agricultural Protection Association (URL N/A)
    Increasing expansion of sour gas development in populated areas and a
history of releases in the Pembina area have resulted in threats to human,
animal and environmental health and safety as well as a lack of public trust
in the processes meant to regulate sour gas development. One consequence has
been a call for grassroots education regarding energy development, provincial
policies and regulations, emergency planning, fair compensation, and
strategies for collaboration among citizens and groups concerned about sour
gas impacts. The "Solutions-Oriented Sessions on Sour Gas and its Development"
project responds to the call through the creation of a slate of educational
materials and their delivery to concerned citizens via a series of public
meetings.

    Background 2: Alberta Ecotrust Partners

    Alberta Ecotrust grants are made possible by the collaboration and
financial support of concerned corporations, individuals and the environmental
NGO sector. Since 1992, over $6 million has been granted to community
organizations working to preserve Alberta's air, water and land.

    
    Alberta Council for Environmental Education      Imperial Oil Foundation
    Alliance Pipeline Ltd.                           Miistakis Institute
    ATCO Group                                       Newalta Corporation
    BP Canada Energy Company                         Nexen Inc.
    Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society              North Saskatchewan
     - Southern Alberta                               Watershed Alliance
    CIBC                                             Peace Parkland
                                                      Naturalists
    Clean Calgary Association                        Pembina Institute
    ConocoPhillips Canada                            Petro-Canada
    Defenders of Wildlife Canada                     RBC Foundation
    Devon Canada Corporation                         Red Deer River
                                                      Naturalists
    EnCana Corporation                               Southern Alberta Group
                                                      for the Environment
    Environmental Law Centre                         Suncor Energy Foundation
    Federation of Alberta Naturalists                Total E&P Canada
    FT Services                                      TransAlta
    Grasslands Naturalists                           Water Matters
    





For further information:

For further information: about Alberta Ecotrust grants, partners, and
projects contact: Kim Kiel, Program Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation,
(403) 209-2245, 1-800-465-2147, or k.kiel@albertaecotrust.com,
www.albertaecotrust.com

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