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"What an honour and a privilege to be recognized amongst a national suite of great conservation initiatives." - Lorne Fitch

The success of Cows and Fish stems from the voluntary nature of the initiative, which is largely propelled by ranchers, farmers, other landowners and local groups themselves. We speak directly to their needs and ways of life. The community and landowners are the driving force in making things happen.

Our program's and staff's commitment to hard work, honesty, integrity and ongoing evaluation paired with our dedication to promoting understanding and expertise in riparian areas and their management has led us to receive the awards below. We are proud to be able to promote a proactive, voluntary and community driven approach to riparian management with the support of our members, supporters, donors, and the landowners and community groups that make it happen on the ground.

A sage person once commented:
"If you're doing any good, someone else will tell you".

These awards are a tangible expression that our job - the job of Cows and Fish - of delivering the elements of stewardship through awareness and management advice is being recognized. It is an honour and a privilege to be recognized amongst a provincial, national and international suite of great conservation initiatives. We thank our nominators for their support and encouragement.

Awards received by Cows and Fish and those delivering Cows and Fish riparian and grazing awareness and management program:

Alberta Emerald Awards

About the Emerald Awards:
The Alberta Emerald Foundation for Environmental Excellence was founded in the fall of 1991 to recognize the outstanding initiative and leadership Albertans are demonstrating in the face of many environmental challenges. The Emerald Awards were created by the Foundation to celebrate these achievements, and the Foundation encourages all Alberta individuals, organizations and corporations to participate.

The Foundation brings together a group of resourceful organizations committed to ensure recognition of the significant strides being made by Albertans to protect, preserve, enhance and sustain our environment. For more information, go to their website.


Alberta Emerald Award 1997
Corporate or Institutional Leadership

About Our Award:
Awarded to Barry Adams and Lorne Fitch for their leadership and vision, as the driving force behind Cows and Fish.

The award reads:   Barry Adams and Lorne Fitch are the driving force behind the Cows and Fish, Riparian Habitat Management Project, a unique partnership between the wildlife community, the cattle industry, and the federal and provincial governments. The project aims to improve the condition of riparian ecosystems in the Foothills region of the Rockies through changes in grazing management strategies.

In developing the project, Adams and Fitch realized it was necessary to influence the attitudes and management practices of local fishermen, recreationalists, cattle producers and government agencies. They have addressed this need by assessing current range and stream conditions and land management plans, and sharing their results through workshops, demonstrations and discussions.

Into its third year, Cows and Fish has reached thousands of targeted stakeholders through presentations, seminars, and the production of numerous publications like the Caring for the Green Zone booklet, as well as videos, displays, and demonstration tours on working ranches. Stakeholders are given a first-hand look at ways of managing riparian areas for grazing and fish and wildlife habitat. The project team is also encouraging the development of riparian management expertise in a group of producers who will help deliver the message to other producers.

This project has the potential to positively impact an estimated 1 million acres, 20,000 km of trout streams, 400-500 ranch managers, 1.5 million recreational users, and about 150,000 cows in a relatively small area in southern Alberta. Through the leadership of Barry Adams and Lorne Fitch, many diverse audiences are learning to work together in support of biodiversity.


Alberta Emerald Award 2005
Education: Organization

About Our Award:
Awarded to Cows and Fish (Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society). This award recognises individuals and organisations within the non-formal education system that have gone beyond the normal practices and shown leadership in educating students about environmental matters.

Our Response:

We are very honoured to accept this award for Cows and Fish. The Emerald Awards recognize "outstanding initiatives and achievements in dealing with many environmental challenges". We are very proud on behalf of our hard-working staff and our program to have been included in this prestigious event. This Emerald Award provides a tangible sense that our role, as a stewardship program providing education and awareness, is being increasingly recognized for its utility, focus and high standards. This award is recognition that education, a process of conveying information in a way that changes beliefs, can also change the way we interact with, and care for the world. Perhaps this is also an acknowledgement education is a process that takes time, and to be effective requires patience and persistence.

We recognize that our accomplishments result from the help of many individuals, organizations and agencies over a broad range of time, beginning with the formation of our program in 1992. Our funding, which fuels the engine of Cows and Fish, comes from a wide range of sources. Our support network includes: Alberta Beef Producers, Trout Unlimited Canada, Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Environment, Alberta Community Development, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (PFRA), Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA) program, Canada-Alberta Rural Development Fund (Ag and Food Canada), Canada-Alberta Beef Industry Development Fund, FortisAlberta, Wildlife Habitat Canada and Canada's Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program and Habitat Stewardship Program. [see Members and Supporters and Donors] Especially important are the open, willing landowners and community groups that allow us to work with them to achieve their riparian goals. We are most grateful for the support provided. In a real sense, this Emerald Award is shared with those organisations, agencies and individuals, in recognition and acknowledgement of their role and continued support of the program and what it represents.

That support has allowed us to work with thousands of Albertans, in dozens of communities and watersheds, to help people see their landscapes through new eyes - to see the intricacies, the connections and the footprints. It has given thousands of Albertans the insights necessary to conserve, maintain and restore their landscapes.

We thank our nominators, the Public Lands and Forests Division (Brian Laing, Suzanne Hawks) and the Iron Creek Watershed Improvement Society (Don Ruzicka). Their initiative opened doors to allow the Cows and Fish program to achieve greater exposure.

Canadian Environmental Award
Environmental Learning Gold Winner 2003

About the Canadian Environment Awards:
Canadian Geographic established the Canadian Environment Awards in 2002 through a partnership with the Government of Canada and support from community-minded private-sector sponsors. The Canadian Environment Awards are a Celebration of Community Achievement. It is a national program that recognizes individuals and groups of Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the protection, restoration and preservation of the Canadian environment. The awards program embraces a variety of endeavours on behalf of the environment. Canadians nominated for this award of merit are leaders in their communities who are devoting their talents and energies to benefit our country. For more information go to their website.

Environmental literacy is as important a skill as learning to read and write. It is fundamental to environmental action and like any other skill set, it comes with an instruction manual: develop and appreciation and awareness for how the natural world works; learn about intricate ecological systems, enjoy and celebrate them; and then share your discoveries with someone else. There is no better tie to make a commitment to learning the essential ways in which we depend on our environment. Enjoy the practical fronts on which our finalists are making original contributions to environmental learning, raising awareness of pressing environmental issues and developing solutions to environmental problems.

About Our Award:
Awarded to Cows and Fish - Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Program for our commitment to environmental learning and our community-based approach.

The Award Reads:
The Canadian Environmental Awards are a celebration of community achievement through a national program that recognizes individuals and groups of Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the protection, restoration and preservation of the Canadian environment. The awards program embraces a variety of endeavours on behalf of the environment. Canadians nominated for this award of merit are leaders in their communities who are devoting their talents and energies to benefit our country.

Society for Range Management Awards

The Society for Range Management (SRM) is an international, professional scientific society and conservation organization whose members are concerned with studying, conserving, managing and sustaining the varied resources of the rangelands which comprise nearly half the land in the world. The mission of the SRM is to promote and enhance the stewardship of rangelands to meet human needs based on science and sound policy.


Outstanding Achievement Award 1999

About Our Award:
The Outstanding Achievement Award was awarded to Barry Adams in 1999 for his contribution to range management, in recognition of contributions and a career that are eminently noteworthy in the advancement of the science and art of range management. Barry has made significant contributions to range management through his gift of communication. Barry Adams has been a driving force behind the success of the Alberta Cows and Fish, Riparian Habitat Management Project. This project resulted in management messages reaching hundreds of producers and recreationalists in Canada and the United States.

Barry Adams is also recognized for his effective and widely distributed "Range Notes", his scientific publications, the Range Schools that are always full, and his skills in working in cooperative projects. His caring and concern for the resources and its improved stewardship is conveyed effectively and with conviction. It is this special ability which sets Barry apart for the SRM's Outstanding Achievement Award.

About SRM's Outstanding Achievement Award:
The Outstanding Achievement Award is presented by the Society for Range Management for outstanding achievement to members and other qualified individuals and groups working with rangelands. For more information, see their website.


President's Special Award 1998

About Our Award:
The President's Special Award was awarded to Barry Adams, Lorne Fitch and Greg Hale by the Society for Range Management's Intermountain Section in 1998 for their contributions to increasing awareness and improving management of riparian systems in their work with the Cows and Fish project.

These individuals have worked together for several years to put together a project called "Cows and Fish", or "Caring For The Green Zone". They have sought and obtained funds for support this project from such diverse organizations as the Alberta Cattle Commission, Trout Unlimited, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Their primary focus has been to raise the awareness of how vital the riparian zone is to everyone involved in the management and use of rangelands. They have organized a cooperating group of ranchers to test the range management techniques. Through field demonstrations, talks and presentations, videos, and television, Barry, Lorne, and Greg have tirelessly presented the message about the principles of riparian management to diverse audiences across the continent. Their program has been a success far beyond their dreams. During the July IMS [Intermountain Section] summer meeting in the Cypress Hills, Barry, Lorne, and Greg presented the "Cows and Fish" program to us.

Environmentalists, ranchers, fishermen, farmers, and other recreationalists, and the general public have a greater understanding about the riparian zone because of the dedicated efforts of these three leaders. As a team, Barry Adams, Lorne Fitch, and Greg Hale are deserving recipients of a President's Special Award in 1998.

Distinguished Agrologist Award 2003

About Our Award:

Awarded to Barry Adams in 2003 by Alberta Institute of Agrologists (AIA) for his longstanding commitment to range science.

A Range Management Specialist, Barry has worked with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development [Public Lands Division, now in Sustainable Resource Development] in Lethbridge for approximately 20 years. He has led Alberta's research on range health, and has contributed to riparian health and uplands projects. Barry's initiative also established joint projects and partnerships with the Montana State University. His research is aimed at putting much more science into management and advice provided by clients.

The Range Science Seminar in Lethbridge was spearheaded by Barry, again with partners from the Pacific Northwest and Central Canada. He helped initiate the annual Stockmen's Range Management courses which improve understanding of range science and management, thus incorporating science into the management of our rangelands.

He works with the University of Lethbridge and University of Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum to develop an applied course that ties together various courses for students, giving them a completed picture.

Perhaps one of his greater recent accomplishments is the Cow and Fish partnership. Working with others, Barry has carried a lot of the initiative and energy in the program that brings extension into practical use for ranchers, recreational users, and environmentalists. He has earned much respect from his peers and industry in helping to facilitate this partnership.

Barry's contributions to this province's agriculture industry include an infectious enthusiasm for rangelands, an ability to motivate to build partnerships for the betterment of our future, and a field expertise that he translates into practice for land users.

About the Distinguished Agrologist Award:
Awarded to a member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists for professional distinction associated with an outstanding accomplishment in Agriculture, which is recognized provincially or regionally within the Province of Alberta.

Countryside Canada Stewardship Award 2000
Alberta Beef Producers - Cows and Fish

About Countryside Canada Stewardship Awards:
The Countryside Canada Stewardship Recognition and Award Program is broadening its efforts to increase awareness of wildlife conservation by farmers and ranchers. We believe that it is important for Canadians, especially those living in urban areas, to understand that agriculture and wildlife can thrive together. By recognizing and promoting outstanding land stewardship, Countryside Canada will raise awareness of wildlife conservation and responsible agriculture among the general population and the farm community. For more information, visit their website.

About Our Award:
Awarded to the Alberta Cattle Commission (now the Alberta Beef Producers) for the Cows and Fish Program, the award was given for the multi-agency partnership effort in 2000/01. The Cows and Fish Program has reached more than 10,000 people with information about riparian and stream habitat protection since 1992.

Countryside Canada is a national program that recognizes farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations for exceptional stewardship. The program was established in 2000 to help strengthen conservation practices within the agriculture sector.

Wildlife Administration Award - Northwest Section
The Wildlife Society 2003

The Wildlife Society, founded in 1937, is an international non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

Green Team Award, Knowledge Builder Category
Agriculture and Food Council 1999

Agriculture and Food Council represents a team of industry and government leaders who are committed to building value-added development within the agriculture industry. As catalysts for change, AFC works with industry and government partners to spearhead innovation, rural development, human resource capacity building, market competitiveness, global trade and access to capital.

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