StAlbertToday: Land group honoured

The land trust responsible for protecting an 80-acre forest just north of Morinville has received Alberta’s highest environmental honour.

The Edmonton and Area Land Trust received an Emerald Award from the Alberta Emerald Foundation on June 4.

The Emerald Awards are Alberta’s highest honour for environmental excellence and are meant to celebrate environmental champions, said foundation executive director Gregory Caswell. The land trust got the nod this year for its 10-year effort to protect one of the most diverse landscapes in North America.

The land trust has secured 12 significant natural areas around Edmonton in the last 10 years that cover some 2,200 acres, including the 80-acre Boisvert’s Greenwoods forest near Morinville, said group spokesperson Rebecca Ellis. All these sites are either now, or soon to be, open to the public.

“Edmonton is the second fastest growing region in Canada and natural areas are being lost at a very quick rate,” Ellis said.

Those natural areas provide us with vital ecological services including clean air and water, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and recreation, Ellis said. The land trust serves as a steward for natural areas donated to it and promotes the value of land conservation.

“Land conservation at its heart is about people,” Ellis said.

“People need nature.”

Ellis said the land trust was honoured to receive the award and proud of how far it had come since it was founded 10 years ago.

Visit emeraldfoundation.ca/28th-annual-emerald-awards for the full list of this year’s winners.