Alberta ranchers win national stewardship award

Biodiversity  Ranch is home to a wide variety 
of animals and birds as well as cattle

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Christoph and Erika Weder of Spirit View Ranch of Rycroft, Alberta are the 2012 recipients of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association “The Environmental Stewardship Award” (TESA). The national award recognizes excellence in sustainable management and conservation practices. TESA is presented annually to a beef cattle operation that exemplifies the initiatives that producers across the country undertake to preserve and care for their land.

The Weders have a passion for the environment, and say that they have a responsibility to the next generation to look after the land. Their motto is, “Think globally but act locally, and communicate those values to other people to make a difference.”

Spirit View Ranch is comprised of 2,800 acres of deeded land, 4,200 acres of leased land and 640 acres of rented land. The ranch has acres of aspen boreal parkland forests and natural grasslands, and it is situated between the Spirit and Peace Rivers.

Operating as a commercial cow-calf grasser operation, Spirit View Ranch is home to 1,000 breeding females and grasser stockers. It’s also home to 150 species of birds, 45 mammals, seven amphibian and one reptile species as a result of the family’s stewardship practices. The ranch was one of the first in Alberta to participate in the Ducks Unlimited wildlife and habitat inventory surveys, and they worked with Ducks Unlimited to restore more than 100 wetlands. This effort has helped to preserve biodiversity, retain moisture, provide a great brood habitat for ducks and geese, and increase forage production.

The Weders accepted their TESA award at the International Livestock Congress (ILC) conference in Calgary, held in conjunction with the 2012 CCA Semi-Annual Meeting. Christoph Weder accepted a cheque for $1,000 and silver belt buckle, made possible by Meyers Norris Penny, TESA sponsor since 2009.

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