News

Here you'll find the latest news and media releases from CPAWS Southern Alberta.

Nov 17 17

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Playing the Long Game: Achieving Conservation Goals through Environmental Education
Canada is fortunate to still have large areas of wilderness, but we are not immune to the global biodiversity crisis. All ecosystem types in Canada are declining in health and the number of species at risk of extinction continues to grow each year. The main threat to biodiversity in Canada, like in the rest of the world, is the destruction and fragmentation of habitat. Rapid climate change is posing a further threat. Parks and protected areas play a key role in addressing these environmental problems. Canada committed to protect at least 17% of land and inland waters by 2020 and to more effectively conserve nature by improving the quality of their protected area systems. With only 10.6% of our landscape currently protected, Canada lags behind the global average of 15%.

Nov 17 17

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Albertan’s Love Their Parks
Alberta’s parks are a core part of our culture - a recent study indicates that 76% of Albertans recreate outdoors and 88% want more wilderness protected. From large national parks, like Banff, to urban parks in our backyards, like Nose Hill or Fish Creek, these areas provide inspirational natural beauty and connection to nature. But parks are not just important for their scenic landscapes and places to enjoy the outdoors, they are also critical for clean air and water, biodiversity, species at risk, contribution to local economies and adaption to climate change.

Nov 17 17

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Honouring Conservation Giants
At the Banff Mountain Film Festival, I saw a film about a young man who chased giants, the biggest old growth forest trees on Vancouver Island in an effort to protect them. It struck me that the people who get involved in such causes are not only inspired by the landscape they are trying to protect, but also by the people who have the conviction to do so. The giants are not only the wise trees but also the passionate individuals who are guided by their wisdom and who inspire others. This fall, we lost two members of the Southern Alberta community who each in their own way, were giants for conservation.

Oct 17 17

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A Beautiful Forest
On September 22, CPAWS Southern Alberta celebrated our 50th anniversary, and half a century of conservation success in this region. Like a beautiful tree, we have come from strong roots and grown into a majestic forest. The seeds of the organization were rooted in national park management; fighting to protect our most protected areas from massive commercial development and access that would have changed these areas as we know them. As the first regional chapter, we helped establish the structure of the nation-wide organization; a model of local, grassroots volunteers and concerned citizens, speaking up for places they loved, with the ability to scale attention nationally when needed.

Oct 17 17

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An Ecosystem-Based Approach to Forest Management
As winter approaches, we may start to see more big trucks hauling logs from our southern Alberta forests to sawmills, where they will be turned into lumber, fence posts, and mulch. Whenever I pass these trucks I wonder where they are coming from, how the timber was harvested, and what impacts it might have had on the native cutthroat trout or safe movement of grizzly bears.

Oct 17 17

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Enchanted Forests
Our experiential interpretive hikes take place in the beautiful forests of our region. Forests are filled with natural teaching moments. Aspen trees are the Facebook of the forest, where animals (particularly grizzly bears) leave messages for other individuals. Many forests are made up of our provincial tree, the lodgepole pine. Lodgepole pines share important historical lessons, as they have always been an important resource this region.

Oct 17 17

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Hike Report - Grass Pass
Earlier in the summer, Neil Williams from the Diamond Willow Hikers led a small group of CPAWS Southern Alberta staff and board members on a beautiful hike up Grass Pass in the Upper Highwood.

Sep 25 17

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A Tribute to Max Winkler
With sadness we have learned of the passing of Max Winkler, a dedicated conservationist who served Parks Canada as a Park Warden for 28 years. Max was a friend of the CPAWS family. As a tribute, we wanted to share an article he wrote for our 2014/15 Parks Issue of the Green Notes Newsletter.

Aug 15 17

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Embracing multiple landscape values will support local forests, economies, and communities.
A new forestry report indicates the need for change in forest planning and forestry practices on the Southern Eastern Slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. “Envisioning a better way forward for Alberta” by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Southern Alberta Chapter, calls for the shift to an ecosystem-based management model, prioritizing values such as water, biodiversity, connectivity. Individuals and groups from Calgary, the Ghost, Bragg Creek, Black Diamond, Crowsnest Pass, Livingstone, Lethbridge, Pincher Creek, and Beaver Mines have spoken out strongly against industrial forestry practices that degrade forest health, water security, and detract from wilderness recreation experiences.

Jul 27 17

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The Interesting and Diverse World of the Understory.
The understory and forest floor of any forest eco-system is the most interesting and diverse of any part of a habitat! Well, at least to me it is. It is here that the shrubs, wildflowers, fungi, moss, and lichens are the dominant features. It is here in the understory that, in addition to the rich soil types, are the edible and medicinal plants of nature!

Jul 27 17

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New Immigrants Discover and Steward Parks with CPAWS SAB
Summer is a time where Canadians make the most of the weather and take full advantage of the wonderful parks we have in and around our cities. For New Canadians, there may be barriers to follow suit. Perhaps one might not know where the parks are, how to get them, what you can do there, if parks are safe places, or if there are any rules to follow. This is why CPAWS Southern Alberta provides workshops for adult new immigrants about parks, bear awareness and stewardship.

Jul 27 17

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Encouraging Government to Step Up Protection Efforts
New protected areas finally have traction with governments across Canada, but we’re still far behind most countries around the world when it comes to the percentage of land that we’ve protected. This week CPAWS release our annual report on the state of protected areas in Canada which finds that Canada ranks dead last among G7 countries in the percentage of land and freshwater protected for nature. The new report “From Laggard to Leader,” encourages federal, provincial, and territorial governments to step up their protection efforts in order to conserve Canada’s natural heritage, and deliver on our international commitment.

Jul 27 17

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More People Means the Need for More Parks, Planning, and More Stewardship
With celebrating Canada’s 150th and free entry to our national parks, Banff is bursting at the seams. On any given day this summer, you will find wall-to-wall cars heading on the highway to the mountains, and our national and provincial protected areas inundated with people experiencing Alberta’s amazing wilderness. From our recent Alberta-wide poll, we know that 76% of all Albertans are getting out and recreating on the landscape.

Jul 25 17

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Canada last among G7 countries in land protection, but improved performance possible
In its latest annual report on the state of protected areas in Canada, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling Canada out for ranking dead last among G7 countries in the percentage of land and freshwater protected for nature. CPAWS’ 2017 report “From Laggard to Leader,” encourages federal, provincial, and territorial governments to step up their protection efforts in order to conserve Canada’s natural heritage, and deliver on our international commitment.

Jul 18 17

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Calgary Coworking Space Donating July Proceeds to CPAWS Southern Alberta
HustleCo wants to celebrate their opening, and Canada's 150th anniversary, by giving back to this beautiful country. As HustleCo holds events, such as hikes and retreats, in Canadian parks and wilderness, they wanted to support a charity that is committed to Canada's wilderness protection. It is part of their belief that “Canada must always remain a leader in wilderness preservation, it is crucial for Canada’s identity for years to come.”

Jun 21 17

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Building An Urban Conservation Ethic
While much of CPAWS Southern Alberta’s work focuses on protection of our world-class wilderness and parks, there is an important link between wild and urban areas that is often overlooked. Calgary, and most urban centres in Southern Alberta, are in key locations, allowing easy access to wilderness. However, this close proximity also means that our actions, whether outside or within our cities, affects the larger landscape we live in.

Jun 21 17

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Celebrating Education and Stewardship Action
At CPAWS Southern Alberta we are celebrating our successes this year, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of our education programs. We had another extremely successful school year in 2016-2017, surpassing our targets, developing new programs to add to our repertoire, engaging more students than ever in environmental action, and continuing to receive positive feedback from participants. We delivered 426 programs to over 8000 youth, teachers, and adult new immigrants!

Jun 21 17

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Making Connections Between Urban and Wild Lands
While we often think of conservation in the context of remote wilderness areas, it is vital to look at the big picture and recognize that cities play an important part in biodiversity and water conservation. With more than 80% of Albertans living in urban areas, it is important to consider the role our cities and towns play in conserving biodiversity and water resources in the larger landscape.

Jun 21 17

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Nose Hill: A Lifetime of Nature Connection
One of the flowing favorite places of my life has been Nose Hill Park. My mother and father were important in the fight to save it as a park in Calgary during the 1970s. Growing up, as kids, living in a nearby community, we played and explored there often. We also were regaled with stories of the “Spy Hill Jail” and dangerous men wandering about, maybe escaped convicts. It was this big beautiful hill of exploration and adventure and it also was an ominous place of danger. But mostly, it represented wonder, wildness and nature to kids growing up in an urban environment.

Jun 07 17

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CPAWS Capture the Canadian Wild Canada 150 Photo Contest winners announced
A dramatic photograph of a climber scaling a wall of ice in Waterton Lakes National Park has captured the grand prize in the CPAWS Capture the Canadian Wild Canada 150 national photo contest.

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