Thursday, 22 June 2017 17:18

20-years of Conserving Alberta’s Wild Side

Written by Michael Short
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This week I sit down with, well rather I go fishing with, Todd Zimmerling who has been at the helm of the Alberta Conservation Association for the past decade. We chat about the how and the why the ACA was formed some 20 years ago.

Like any new association, there were growing pains as the ACA set about the task of working with some well-established conservation groups across the province. It was a massive undertaking, but the effort has paid off. The variety of projects undertaken by the ACA on behalf of all Albertans has resulted in a greater understanding of our habitat and the wildlife and fish that call Alberta home.

Purple Martin feeding young

With the help of many partners the ACA has worked to conserve habitat across Alberta. These conservation sites are great for bird watching, hunting, fishing or just a place to walk and enjoy native habitat.

Kids Can Catch program

Engaging Albertans to get out and enjoy the outdoors is a big part of the ACA’s mandate. Over the course of the summer and in the winter months the organization, along with various conservation groups and corporate partners, puts on the popular Kids Can Catch events.

"We have taken on a phenomenal number of conservation projects over the past two decades and developed partnerships with a wide range of individuals, groups, and corporations," says Todd Zimmerling, President and CEO, ACA. "These partnerships have allowed us to achieve far more than we ever could have on our own." 

Together with member groups, corporate partners, and stakeholders, over the past 20 years the ACA has accomplished much:

  • Secured 35,000 acres of habitat
  • Secured, in partnership, approx. $32.4 million in lands
  • Planted 1.7 million+ trees and shrubs on conservation sites
  • Stocked over 2 million trout in community ponds
  • Spent 100,000+ hours on conservation site management and maintenance
  • Awarded $16.7 million in grants to 1,078 conservation projects in Alberta
  • Hosted over 4,100+ hunter-visits at Taber Pheasant Festival
  • Hosted over 8,000+ participant-visits at Kids Can Catch events
  • Worked with hundreds of 4-H members who released 32,500+ pheasant hens
  • Directed approx. $220 million towards the conservation of wildlife and fish and the habitat they need to thrive 

Fence line in southern Alberta

"Ensuring fish, wildlife, and habitat for future generations is not going to be an easy task," says Zimmerling. "But with opportunities like conservation and carbon offsets on the horizon, and the shift we're seeing in support of ethically harvested wild game, well, as far as I am concerned, the future of conservation in this province looks bright." 

To get a better idea of the variety of projects and the many partners the ACA works with visit their website

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