Central Alberta landowners are being recognized for conserving wildlife habitat on their own property and on their own initiative.
The Red Deer River Naturalists are relaunching their Habitat Stewardship Program. It means landowners who conserve at least five acres for wildlife habitat will receive a ‘Habitat Steward” sign to post, informing passers-by that ecological efforts are being made. Their habitat details will also be entered into a database.
Being a land steward doesn’t necessarily mean removing lands from agricultural production or restricting hunting or grazing. The only request is that, should the land be altered to the point that it is no longer providing habitat, the sign be returned.
Besides helping preserve a natural balance for plants and animals, another benefit of the Habitat Stewardship program is the educational awareness it promotes, potentially encouraging others to think about conservation.
For instance, a Donalda-area family was recently recognized for using sustainable grazing practices on the large tracts of native grasslands they own in Alberta’s badlands region.
The Red Deer River Naturalists, the oldest naturalist organization in Alberta, first launched a habitat stewardship program in 1986, following a similar initiative by the Alberta Fish and Game Association. Before the original program faded out in about 2000, some 130 signs were given out. Now the program is being re-activated with funding support from a bequest and the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.
Landowners who are interested in joining the program can visit naturecentral.org to apply.
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