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Stewards

Stewards make major contributions to conservation efforts in Alberta's parks system. More than 280 individual stewards and nearly 60 steward organizations participate in this very successful program. Stewards are actively involved in more than 130 sites.

Stewards come from all walks of life, bringing diverse backgrounds and a shared interest in protecting Alberta's natural heritage.

Types & Duties of Stewards

Stewards help monitor conditions at select parks. Many of these parks are remote or undeveloped. Stewards do not represent the government legally and do not have enforcement responsibilities. Their observations alert us to the unique management needs of the sites they care for. Information from site inspection reports is used to update our site database.

Stewards:

  • are assigned to one or more sites;
  • must visit their site(s) at least twice per year to:
    • observe, record and report on natural conditions and human activities, including any site destruction or alteration, and unauthorized activities; and
    • install and maintain signs along the site boundary, as required; and
  • complete and submit an inspection report form for each site visit.

Roving Stewards:

  • are not assigned to a specific site;
  • can move from site to site and take on special projects, either short or long in duration;
  • undertake duties ranging from monitoring sites, taking photographs and installing signs; and
  • assist other stewards or staff with special projects such as trail development, scientific and market research, and public education.

Requirements

Both individuals and organizations can be stewards.

Individuals

Eligible individuals must:

  • be at least 18 years old or have the written permission of a parent or guardian if younger than 18;
  • make a 2 year commitment;
  • be capable of performing stewardship duties;
  • have a cell phone available for their use;
  • be comfortable in an outdoor setting;
  • have access to transportation as required; and
  • share a stewardship philosophy that is compatible with the mission and goals of Alberta's park system.

Organizations

Eligible non-profit groups must be:

  • a registered society under the Societies Act and
  • able to obtain liability insurance coverage if required.

Municipalities, corporations and other groups are also eligible to become stewards.

At some locations, stewards have formed non-profit societies legally registered under the Societies Act. This is an excellent way to bring together people who share an interest in local protected areas. Some of the advantages are:

  • direct involvement in protecting an important part of Alberta's natural heritage;
  • eligiblity to apply for grants and undertake other fundraising activities; and
  • ability, as a registered charity, to offer tax benefits to donors in some cases.

Special Projects

Many stewards extend their duties to include special projects. These projects vary, depending on the volunteer's interests and expertise and on the site's requirements. Without stewards' talent and motivation, many of these projects would not be possible.

Before undertaking a special project, a steward must obtain approval from the field coordinator for the site. Once the project is completed, a "special project report form" must be submitted.

Types of Special Projects

Natural History:

  • Conducting breeding bird surveys
  • Installing bird houses
  • Mapping special features and rare species
  • Participating in biophysical inventories and other research

Site Management:

  • Organizing site clean-ups and work-bees
  • Planning and developing site improvements (parking areas, trails)
  • Making minor fence repairs
  • Providing input into site management plans
  • Carrying out reclamation projects

Interpretation and Environmental Education:

  • Planning and leading educational programs
  • Developing interpretive brochures

Support for Stewards

To support the valuable contributions stewards make we:

  • match stewards with appropriate sites;
  • equip stewards with identification, the Steward Handbook, site information kits (maps, air photos, site information, legislation, inspection forms, brochures);
  • provide technical advice;
  • support site monitoring;
  • host an annual volunteer conference; and
  • provide the Partners in Preservation newsletter.

Stewards can be assigned any site in Alberta's parks system. Depending on the specific site, the local field coordinator could work for either Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation - Parks Division or Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development - Public Lands.

Field coordinators deal with day-to-day site management issues.

Application/Information

We are not currently filling additional steward positions.  

For more information, contact

Alberta Tourism, Parks & Recreation
Parks Division, Volunteer Services
2nd Floor, Oxbridge Place
9820 - 106 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada   T5K 2J6
Phone 780-427-3582 or 1-866-427-3582
Fax 780-427-5980
E-mail Parks Volunteer