The OTIS Award is a way to recognize individuals, farms & businesses, organizations, and youth in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds who are OuTstanding In Stewardship. Stewardship is taking action to care for our watershed, including the land, air, water, and biodiversity. It also supports healthy communities, including our culture and economy, now and into the future.
The OTIS Award is named after the star character in the book series “Otis and Friends: Environmental Adventures.” This series was written by Ponoka high-school students in our Caring for our Watersheds Contest. Otis and his friends help people take action to create a better watershed. OTIS is also an acronym for OuTstanding In Stewardship! Otis, his authors, and the OTIS Award Winners are examples for us all.
Nominate someone you know for the 2022 OTIS Award!
Before moving to Camrose, Lorne was a long-standing member of the Friends of Little Beaver Lake Association when he lived at the lake. Since moving to Camrose, he has been an active member of the Camrose and District Fish and Game Association and was also Treasurer and Board Director with the Battle River Watershed Alliance for many years. His work with both organizations was instrumental in the creation of the outdoor learning centre established at the Camrose and District Fish and Game Association site at Pleasure Island. Lorne also contributed to the work of BRWA’s Magpie Nature Camp.
Lorne has volunteered a lot of time to these endeavours, and has always supported the volunteers and staff.
Dan and Harriet run their farm with stewardship top of mind. They are ALUS participants, and Dan is part of ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc’s Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC). Wetlands have been protected, native grass planted with future education opportunities in mind, and a dugout constructed to water cattle and provide habitat.
Dan is a valued member of the ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc PAC, and actively encourages farmers in his area to become new ALUS participants. In 2021, Dan encouraged a project that maintained a grass waterway through the cooperation of the landowner and new renter. Dan and Harriet operate their farm with the understanding that nature and agriculture are not mutually exclusive but work best when considered together.
The Wainwright Wildlife Society began in 1987, a group of volunteers from Wainwright and surrounding communities. Their mandate is to help everyone understand that wildlife and wild places are of great benefit and should be a part of everyone’s value system.
Society volunteers use a local woodworking shop to construct blue bird house kits that are sold to the public, and given to local youth clubs and schools to assemble and place in the country. Bird feeders are constructed and sold in support of the Great Backyard Bird Count. The Society hosts guest speakers and presentations for the community and local schools, including wildlife photography and identification, and on the geological history of the Battle River Valley. The Society encourages the public to participate in local owl surveys, and the nationwide Christmas Bird Count.
Wainwright Wildlife Society volunteer guides take school groups from Irma, Wainwright, Hughenden, as well as birders and photographers from across Canada, to witness the amazing Sharp-tail Grouse spring dancing every year! They partnered with the Association for Life-wide Living, and hosted three public Grouse Symposiums entitled “Project Bring Back the Grouse”, featuring grouse specialists and status updates on grouse in the Battle River watershed. The Society also developed Sharp-tail and Ruffed Grouse information cards to recruit help from oilfield workers to locate and report bird numbers in the Battle River area.
The Society established and maintains 14 km of recreation trails NE of Wainwright along the Battle River called the Mistahiya Trail system. These trails for hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and biking help immerse users in the importance of wild places.
In 2020, the Round Hill Renaissance Agriculture Foundation was formed. They took a parcel of undevelopable land, and turned it into a food forest. The space features a huge community garden, and a shelterbelt with over 300 trees, including fruit trees and shrubs. The space is being developed with permaculture principles, to use natural water capture, and multi layer growing featuring all edible plants. The space also celebrates and features indigenous traditions of edible plants for food and healing, and honouring the land and what it can provide for the community.
The project enabled the local school to remain open, as they are committed to a strong focus on agriculture in the curriculum. The food forest space also features an outdoor classroom, raised beds for students. The community has worked together to plant, grow, and harvest a 7000 ft2 garden.
In the short time since the project began, there has been an increase in enrollment at the school, and an interest from families that would like to move to the area. They have helped to create a healthy community through building a safe, secure and local food supply.
Individual: Glen Hvenegaard
Business: Camrose Energy
Organization: Millet & District Museum
Youth: Hughenden Public School
Individual: Pres Winter – Blue Bird Trail
Business/Organization: City of Wetaskiwin – Municipal Sustainability
Youth: Junior Forest Wardens, The Grove Grizzlies – Creek Restoration
Farm: Brenda Bohmer, Brenlea Farms – Improving Practices for Wetlands
Individual: Don and Marie Ruzicka – Leading by Example
Business/Organization: Nica’s Hair Salon – Reduce Salon Waste
Youth: Wainwright Girl Guides – Park Clean-up and Beautification
Farm: Tin Forest Farm – Caretakers of Farm Wetlands
Individual: Tom Tomaszewski – Conservation Volunteer
Business/Organization: Buffalo Lake Naturalist Club – Sharing their love of nature
Youth: Katelynn Cook – Environmental Educator
Farm: MSW Farms – Beneficial Agricultural Practices
Individual: Susan Ellis – Pigeon Lake Leadership
Business/Organization: Chinook Applied Research Association- Agricultural Best Management
Youth: Lougheed Colony School- Tree Stewardship
Individual: Roy and Judy Louis-Water Ceremony Leadership
Business/Organization: Blue Dot Camrose- City Declaration of Environmental Rights
Youth: Mina Shin and Brooklyn Green- Greening Golf Courses
Individual: Midge Lambert- Watershed restoration
Business/Organization: County of Vermilion River,- Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS)
Youth: EcoVision- Local Food production
Individual: Mike Black-Battle Lake Stewards
Youth: Maven Boddy and the Golden Prairie 4H club- Riparian Restoration
Business/Organization: Lacombe County-Environmental Management
Individual: Carol Wilson- Stewardship Advocate
Youth Category: Kaitlin Lomas, Katie and Vicki Wyering, Melissa Gartner-Otis and Friends Book series authors
Business/Organization: Darcy and Candace Goodrich, Pure Stock County Farms- Eco-farmers