BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The County of Lacombe is encouraging community groups to submit their applications for this year’s Environmental Improvement Grant.
The grant offers a total of $10,000, shared among community groups that are seeking to provide environmental education or stewardship programs.
Each year, Lacombe County opens up the grant to community groups and schools for funding to develop their programs. Past programs have been brought forward by Ellis Bird Farm, the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society and Lacombe Junior High School, among other groups.
“A lot of the projects we have seen have to do with teaching children about composting, for example, or pollinator habitats or planting trees – programs along those lines,” explained Monica Boudreault, environmental coordinator with Lacombe County.
“There are a lot of different ways groups can utilize this funding. We’re looking to fund really good ideas that would promote environmental stewardship or education.”
Boudreault explained that typically, programs are allocated up to $2,000, depending on the nature and scale of the project. Lacombe County will provide up to 75% of funding, and requires regular contact with the County in order to provide accountability and manage the projects that grow through the funding.
Organizations such as community service groups, schools and environmental awareness groups are the ones the County is hoping will step up to claim the funds.
The money is not to be used towards capital expenses, but for new, innovative programs.
Once applications are received, they are reviewed by an Environmental Improvement Grant Committee.
“Especially with this year being the Canada 150, we’ve been hoping for some new projects. Specifically, we’re hoping people use some of those guidelines and we think that projects that align with the 150 themes will likely be at the top of the list,” Boudreault said.
There are eight project priority areas that people can choose to work in developing their programs. The programs can cross over between the areas, or can work within a specific area.
The project priority areas include the themes of water, waste, biodiversity, environmental education, food, noise, air quality and ‘other environmental benefits’.
Further to those themes, promoting environmental stewardship, working with children, maintenance of native wildlife, and programs that can demonstrate environmental benefits within Lacombe County are also included in the project priority areas.
The application forms are available in person at the Lacombe County office or can be found at lacombecounty.com.
“Pollinator projects are a great idea, because that isn’t something we see being done much around the community. It would be an exciting project to get in. Water quality and education is also a great topic to do work with,” Boudreault said, adding that any programs that enhance biodiversity are also of interest to the County.
“There are a lot of different ideas out there and a lot of possibilities. It’s just a matter now of people coming forward to actually submit their applications,” she said.
The application process will close on Feb. 28th, with approved projects being notified in the coming weeks.