Over 18,000 Albertans Call for Habitat Conservation for Caribou


ELMWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND CPAWS PRESENT A CALL FOR CARIBOU PROTECTION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA: OVER 18,000 ALBERTANS WANT HABITAT CONSERVATION FOR CARIBOU

EDMONTON – On Monday, December 5th, forty grade 3 students from Elmwood Elementary School along with staff from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s (CPAWS) Northern Alberta chapter presented Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips and Minister of Education David Eggen with petition signatures from concerned citizens across Alberta calling for the government to protect the province’s boreal woodland Caribou.  

The signatures support the call for scientifically-sound range plans for each herd and act to remind the government that there is less than a year until the range plans for all 12 herds are due. The biggest threat to the caribou is habitat fragmentation and loss due to industrial disturbance in their boreal forest ranges.

“We’re worried about the caribou losing their habitat because we realize that it’s not only affecting the caribou, it’s affecting other wildlife because you know nature is all connected” said Ingrid, age 8. 

“Caribou should be respected, as they are a unique part of our Canadian heritage and we need to do our part to protect them” said, Elizabeth, age 8. 

The students presented the petition signatures, and were then invited to have a Question and Answer session with both Ministers. During this time the children had the opportunity to ask questions about how the government is acting to protect caribou and the environment. 

Photo by Chris Schwarz

Earlier this year, CPAWS staff were invited to Elmwood Elementary School to speak to the children about caribou during their Earth month celebrations.  The students were then inspired to raise awareness about species at-risk and began a “Caring for Caribou” campaign during which they collected petition signatures from their friends and family this past spring – collecting over 300 in only two weeks. 

“What started as a presentation by CPAWS during our Earth Month celebrations quickly captured our students' hearts and we couldn't be prouder of all of the hard work they have done to advocate for the declining caribou in Alberta. We feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with CPAWS for this important cause. “Caring for Caribou” was an engaging, real-world inquiry project that our students became passionate about” said Elmwood Elementary School teachers Vanessa McLeod and Kendall Crowle. 

“We hope our government is as inspired by the kids’ commitment and enthusiasm for protecting the environment as we are” says Tara Russell, Conservation Assistant at CPAWS Northern Alberta. “And, we hope that the government will listen to the over 18,000 Albertans calling on them to protect caribou habitat in this province.”

A pdf version of the press release is here.