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News Release

June 18, 2007

Development Fund Sponsors Two More Projects

New funding helps forestry workers and wildlife habitats

Tofield – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced today $920,000 in funding support for two more rural Alberta projects. The new projects will increase the number of trained, front-line forest workers in Alberta and improve volunteer leadership in land conservation.

The Woodland Operations Learning Foundation in Slave Lake has been given $820,000 to develop a number of unique woodland certificate and training courses. The Forestry Training Program will enhance the skills of front-line workers and attract more people to forestry as a career choice.

The Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA) received $100,000 to support a Recreation and Habitat Lands Access and Stewardship Training project. The funding will be used to develop materials that encourage Albertans to volunteer as caretakers of wildlife habitat owned throughout Alberta by AFGA.

“These initiatives create educational materials that will benefit Albertans for a long time. We expect a host of rural areas and communities to see positive impacts,” said Fred Estlin, RADF co-chair. “These projects will stimulate growth and add to the quality of life in rural Alberta,” agreed Co-chair Bob Clark.

“The Alberta government is proud to support this fund, which fosters rural economic growth”, said Iris Evans, Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry. “Alberta’s forestry and natural resources sector will benefit from the training and volunteer opportunities these projects offer and addresses the need for skilled and experienced workers.”

Rural Alberta’s Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. It is funded by the Government of Alberta and is a key implementation initiative of Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy. More information is available at
www.ruralalbertasfund.com

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Direct media enquiries to:
Godfrey Huybregts, Director of Communications, Rural Alberta’s Development Fund
1-877-940-7233 Cell: 780-953-0525

 

BACKGROUNDER

Summary of Approved Projects

FORESTRY TRAINING PROGRAM
Fund contribution is $820,000

This project will result in new courses and training modules for front-line forestry workers. This training does not exist in Western Canada. New teaching resources will include innovative tools like forest hauler equipment simulators. Content and curriculum will be developed by the Woodlands Operations Learning Foundation (WOLF) in Slave Lake and offered to students via Northern Lakes College.

Northern Lakes College operates from more than 30 locations throughout north central Alberta. The Foundation was formed in 2001 and is a consortium of 41 forest industry businesses, government agencies and Northern Lakes College.

Expected results include:

  • More skilled forest workers and increased employability of youth, women and aboriginals.
  • Reduced labour shortage in forestry industry.
  • More people attracted to front-line forest jobs as a career choice.
  • Increased health and safety of workers.
  • Better environmental management of Alberta’s forests.
  • Economic, learning and social benefits in the 32 Alberta communities where forestry is the principal economic factor.

Contacts: Susan Roper, President, WOLF.
T: 403-816-6469
rvl@telusplanet.net

Dave Blackmore, Executive Director, WOLF.
T: 780-805-1168
dave.blackmore@telus.net

RECREATION AND HABITAT LANDS ACCESS AND STEWARDSHIP TRAINING
Fund contribution is $100,000

This project will recruit and train rural Albertans to help preserve and protect 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat throughout Alberta. The habitats are owned by the Alberta Fish & Game Association. The pilot phase of the project aims to recruit enough volunteer stewards for 20 of the Association’s 80 properties.

All habitat sites will be filmed and catalogued, with visual and written information placed on DVD and the Internet. A Volunteer Stewardship Manual will detail responsibilities of stewards and to guide stewardship activities. Pilot phase volunteer recruitment and training is expected to be completed by October 2008.

Expected results include:

  • More opportunity for Albertans to participate in conservation activities through stewardship.
  • More public information and educational material on Alberta wildlife habitats.
  • Better access to detailed information on recreational opportunities in Alberta.
  • Preservation of critical wildlife areas in Alberta.

Contact: Martin Sharren, Executive Vice-President, Alberta Fish & Game Association.
T: 780-437-2342
martin@afga.org