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Environmental Stewardship Awards

The Wheatland County Agricultural Service Board (ASB) is committed to strengthening, promoting, and supporting agriculture and the environment within our municipality with a view to continually improve how we operate in future years. The ASB develops and implements programs and policies that focus on the areas of weeds, pests, soil and water conservation, and environmental issues for the benefit of all residents.

The Wheatland County ASB presents the Environmental Stewardship Award as a way to recognize and reward notable efforts within the community to practice and promote environmental stewardship and innovation. Three Environmental Stewardship Awards are available per year in the following categories:

  • The Community Stewardship Award
    The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes a Wheatland County community member or group that has made an outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability in the municipality. 
  • Youth Stewardship
    The Youth Stewardship Award was developed to recognize the importance of engaging youth in environmental stewardship initiatives, as the youth of today represent future generations of the Wheatland County community. 
  • J. Laslo Legacy Award
    The J. Laslo Legacy Award will be awarded to an agricultural producer in Wheatland County that has shown exemplary leadership in the implementation of beneficial management practices on their farm.

2021 Environmental Stewardship Award Winners

The Community Stewardship Award: The Rosebud Beautification Committee.

The Community Stewardship Award recognizes a community member or group that has made an outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability in the municipality. This award honors notable projects, programs and activities that people, towns or committees have accomplished.

Rosebud is a small-town, rich with culture and history. They have made an outstanding contribution to environment sustainability in Wheatland County. For the past seven years, the Beautification Committee of the Rosebud Community Enhancement Society (RCES) has enhanced the hamlet through flower and tree planting projects. Flower boxes embellish every corner of the hamlet, while residents and visitors can enjoy the shade and beauty of trees for decades to come.

The nomination named Charlotte Riegel and Helen Zacharias as project coordinators for flower boxes, Fiona Lauridsen for design expertise, John and Sue Miller for fundraising and logistical support, and newer members Elly Krogman and Jonny Hamm for spearheading an ambitious tree planting project as well as bringing rich backgrounds and passion to the committee. In 2019, Elly and Johnny expanded the committee’s mandate with a three-year plan for planting trees and shrubs around town. In addition to Wheatland County’s Community Enhancement Regional Board (CERB) grant, Elly and Jonny solicited funds through tree sponsorships which were sold out within weeks. It is truly a team effort to create designs, begin growing and caring for flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs, while fundraising the amount necessary to make projects a success. Planting projects are coordinated by the committee as town-wide events to get everyone involved from children to seniors, so the committee goes above and beyond to include, inspire, and encourage others as well.

The Youth Stewardship Award: Jahfyron Cormack

The Youth Stewardship Award aims to recognize the importance of engaging youth in environmentally beneficial initiatives, as the youth of today represent future generations of the Wheatland County community. We are proud to acknowledge the achievements and involvement of our youngest community members, as they inspire us to lead by example and sustain the environment for their benefit.

Jahfyron Cormack is a nine-year-old, grade four student that puts in as many hours as an adult in helping beautify the hamlet of Rosebud. With an exceptional work ethic, Jahfyron helped harvest the community potato patch, sharing the potatoes with people living in town, and participated in Rosebud’s first annual tree planting work bee. He is eager to help his family seed and water their garden plot and shows huge pride in digging up the carrots he himself had planted. Jahfyron’s heart for the land inspires people across generations. Thank you Jahfyron for all your hard work and thank you to those who brought his name to our attention. Keep up the good work!

The J. Laslo Legacy Award: Rod and Beth Vergouwen and Family

The J. Laslo Legacy Award is named in honour of the retirement of long-term Wheatland County employee Jim Laslo.  During his career, Jim was the Agricultural Fieldman, and then General Manager of Agriculture, Community, and Protective Services. Jim’s passion for education, outreach about agricultural conservation initiatives and dedication to harnessing the innovation of the agricultural community, lead to the uptake of sustainable agriculture practices throughout the municipality.

The J. Laslo Legacy Award is awarded to an agricultural producer in Wheatland County that has shown exemplary leadership in the implementation of beneficial management practices on their farm. The winner will have shown dedication to reducing the environmental impacts of their operation and has an interest in promoting lessons from their efforts to others in the industry.

For over 110 years, the Scheer-Vergouwen family has stewarded their land and the animals they raise on it. Beth and Rod Vergouwen, along with their son Jack, daughter Jenna, and son-in-law Graydon, maintain over 600 head of cow-calf pairs and yearlings on Valley View Ranch. In its fifth generation, the Vergouwen’s brought Valley View Ranch to Wheatland County’s ALUS program because they wanted to help protect a wetland on their land and increase the grazing management of their herd. Using an off-site watering system, Vergouwen’s have lowered pressure on the wetlands health and improve health in their cattle. Vergouwen’s contribute to cleaner water, improved habitat, additional biodiversity and flood and drought resilience for their entire community.

Rod specifically has been an active and engaged members of the Foothills Forage & Grazing Association for more than 15 years, serving on the Board of Directors and now in the position of Vice-Chairman. Rod continues to push the bar forward on soil health, water retention and anything related to livestock production. The Vergouwen’s also maintain an environmental farm plan, are certified by the Verified Beef Production Plus program and have undertaken thistle management projects that utilize grazing and control. Over the course of their time running Valley View Ranch, Beth and Rod have committed to many programs and projects to help improve the health of their animals and their land. Family pride in the land and in incorporating stewardship into their work is evident throughout the family. Check out their work at flyingheart.ca.

Now accepting nominations year-round!

Nominations are accepted year-round, but must be received by November 1 in order to be considered for awards issued each following March.

Environmental Stewardship Award Winners will receive an award certificate and $250 to support their initiatives. In addition, they will be recognized during an award ceremony at Wheatland County’s Annual General Meeting or other appropriate event and showcased through advertisement on Wheatland County’s website, social-media, and in local newspapers and newsletters. Names of winners will also be displayed on plaques at the County Administration Office.

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