OTIS: OutsTanding In Stewardship
Have You Seen OTIS?
Are You OTIS?
We need help finding citizens in our watershed who are OutsTanding In Stewardship!
The OTIS Award is a way to recognize businesses, individuals and youth in the Battle River and Sounding Creek Watersheds who are OutsTanding In Stewardship. Stewardship can be defined as “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving”. To us, a steward is taking action in making our watershed a better place to live for all life, and the life of future generations.
2016 OTIS Award Winners:
Susan Ellis has worked tirelessly for many years as President (and now Executive Director) of the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association and member of the Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan Steering Committee. As a part-time lake resident herself, Susan’s love for the lake, its watershed, and its people is evident in her care and dedication in spreading the message of lake stewardship in the Pigeon Lake watershed. Susan believes that everyone has a part to play. Her efforts have been instrumental in connecting with lake residents and stakeholders, asking for their input, and giving them the tools they need to take action in their own backyards. She has played a key role in ensuring that lake stewardship actions are based on the best science and social science available, and that this information is shared with lake residents and stakeholders so that everyone is on the same page. Through Susan’s work, collective stewardship action in the Pigeon Lake watershed is encouraged on an ongoing basis.
CARA a non -profit society established in 1979, is a producer-directed society dedicated to expanding agricultural research activities in the Special Areas. CARA provides research, application, and extension programs that foster healthy and sustainable livestock and crop management. Theses programs include riparian health, shelterbelt workshops, off-site watering systems inventory, soil health, manure management, and biological control of weed species, and Environmental Farm Plans. CARA helps to provide landowners and producers manage their land and operations to ensure a productive business and ensure healthy land.
The students at the Lougheed Colony School have taken great pride and responsibility in planting and caring for their new trees. Through a small science grant the students were able to purchase the trees, which were planted in their playground area. The school wanted to plant the trees to help the local environment, including cleaning the air and providing homes to birds. The school also looks forward to the windbreak and shade, as well as the aesthetic value and artistic inspiration the trees will provide. The students have proven their stewardship ethic by watering and weeding the trees to ensure their longevity, and are proud of doing their part to protect their environment.
2015 OTIS Award Winners:
Roy and Judy Louis are members of the Samson Cree Nation. Roy is from a family of leadership and former President of the Indian Association of Alberta. Roy is a co-founding member of Peace Hills Trust Company and Peace Hills General Insurance that are now into their 30th year. Judy is a highly motivated, high-energy educational consultant with a demonstrated track record for fostering learning and promoting multicultural diversity. Both have received awards for their leadership in innovative approaches to education and the promotion of cultural diversity and cultural awareness. Roy and Judy’s dream was to host the Battle River Water Ceremony for four years. Their dream was realized in 2015 when, after four years, the Bend in the River water ceremony was complete. It represents an act of incredible cultural stewardship demonstrating how water, earth and sky are connected.
"...the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known" - Carl Sagan
The goal of the national Blue Dot movement is to add “Right to Live in a Healthy Environment” to the Canadian constitution and creation of a shared sense of responsibility and gratitude for our home. It recognizes the belief in basic environmental rights – clean water, clean air, healthy food, sanitation, healthy biodiversity and proper waste management.
Blue Dot Camrose worked with Camrose City Council to see a declaration on the right to a healthy environment be unanimously adopted on October 5, 2015. The City of Camrose became the first city in Alberta to do so, and one of 106 municipalities (as of January 2016) across Canada. Working together, Camrose wants to build on local initiatives to foster the community’s connection to place and to ensure a healthy environment in Camrose and Canada for this generation and those to come.
Avid golfers, Mina and Brooklyn from Ponoka were worried about what effects pesticides sprayed on the course would have on their watershed. As part of their Caring for our Watershed project proposal, they researched the effects of pesticides and solutions to reduce them. They found that birds are natural insecticides, eating many of the pesky insects that golfers dislike. To build awareness of this topic the girls were present at the golf course spa event to give away information cue cards, cash wash coupons and natural beauty products. They also held a draw for a bird house. They hoped that the information and products would help people become more aware of what they use at home.
With help from local businesses and family, Mina and Brooklyn built 75 bird houses to put up at the two local golf courses (one house at each of the 55 holes plus extra) to encourage the natural reduction of unwanted insects. The golf courses were happy to be involved and support these young stewards. Mina and Brooklyn are happy to see their ideas in action and look forward to enjoying a round of golf with more beautiful birds on the course, and less pesticides in their watershed.
2014 OTIS Award Winners:
Midge Lambert moved to the Battle River Valley near the Ferry Point crossing 14 years ago. She has since been interested and active in helping preserve the integrity of the river and its greater watershed. Midge was the spearhead in initiating the Ferry Point Reach Riparian Restoration project which has resulted in 8 completed riparian restoration projects, preserving the majority of the reach. She was on the restoration project working committee and actively involved in several community events. Midge is committed to protecting Alberta’s natural spaces and working together on a watershed scale.
Since 2010, Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) have brought conservation to the forefront in the County of Vermilion River by empowering farmers and ranchers to continue to utilize beneficial land management for their specific needs and wishes.
EcoVision is a club out of Lacombe Composite High School whose purpose is to grow student leaders through student led projects. EcoVision strives to enhance the environment, education opportunities and their community. A few of their accomplishments include building a geodesic dome greenhouse on the school grounds and installing a 6.0kW solar array. Most recently a sub-committee of the group have established a Aquaponics system to grow tilapia which will be used in the school cafeteria and sold within the Lacombe community. This sub-committee named LEAFS (Lacombe Education Aquaponics Food System) are producing local food thereby reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and are reusing the water from the tilapia tanks to water the plants in the greenhouse.
The Golden Prairie 4H club wanted to do a stewardship project that would help the Battle River. Through conversations with staff at the Battle River Watershed Alliance they decided that they would do a riparian restoration project to plant trees along the river to reduce erosion, provide animal habitat and improve water quality.
Maven Boddy, a natural leader amongst the team entered the Caring for our Watersheds Contest using the riparian restoration project as her idea for how to improve her watershed. Maven won 1st place in the 2013 contest. Maven and the 4H club used the Caring for our Waterhseds implementation funds and the Victory Canola 4H funding to cover the costs for the tree planting and riparian health assessments.
After a canoe trip down the river to learn more about the water and the riparian area, the 4H club conducted a field day to plant over 200 trees and shrubs. They also invited local experts to the site to set-up a monitoring project so that they can see how the site changes over time.
Mike has been a committed volunteer and ecological steward of the Mount Butte Natural Area for many years. His efforts help protect the land and water around Battle Lake, the head-waters of the Battle River, thereby improving the entire watershed.
Mike Black ~Mount Butte Natural Area protection
Midge Lambert ~Riparian Restoration program
Rajan Rathnavalu ~Spirit of the Land conference and video series
JJ Collet Nature Centre
Battle River Railway
Battle Lake Synergy Group
County of Vermilion River
Maven Boddy and the Golden Prairie 4H ~ Riparian Restoration
Ben Brunen ~Wainwright Wetlands
Daysland School ~School based stewardship education
In 2006 Darcy initiated the Prairie Roots Grazing Club where producers can get together once a month to learn from each other. It is still going strong.
2012 Otis Award Winners presented by BRWA staff.
Absent: Goodrich Family.