Volume 94, Issue 103

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


Med students rally against hight tuition

USC applauds students and profs

CHRW gets a national nod for excellence

Downtown surveillance cameras set to be on the lookout this summer

Transit strike hits Victoria

Alberta students join fight for foothills


Alberta students join fight for foothills

By Raj Suppiah
Gazette Staff

Students at the University of Alberta have joined an environmental campaign to protect sensitive regions and species within their province.

Members of the Environmental and Conservation Sciences Student Association have been handing out pamphlets and encouraging fellow students to support the protection of the Foothills region in Eastern Alberta.

"We have been distributing education material in classes and in the community and some students have even written letters to the premier's office," said Jeff Manchuk, president of the ECSSA.

The campaign, known as Alberta Foothills: The Rescue Mission, was initiated by the Alberta Wildlife Association, who is working in conjunction with the ECSSA, Manchuk said.

Jillian Tamblyn, a manager at AWA, said the campaign is mainly concerned with consumer awareness. "Considering 70 per cent of [Alberta's] exports travel to the United States, it's important to educate corporations about where these resources are coming from," Tamblyn said.

The Foothills region, located on the eastern slope of the Rockies between the mountains and the Prairies, is home to many endangered plants and wildlife, including the grizzly bear, woodland caribou and bull trout, Tamblyn said.

The campaign is attempting to spur a backlash against the provincial government's Special Places 2000 project, which aimed to double the amount of protected areas in Alberta. Tamblyn said the program was unsuccessful, claiming it has only protected 1.5 per cent of the entire Foothills region.

"There are serious national and international implications," she said. "It degrades the quality of water and affects tourism. Nobody wants to be travelling through clearcuts."

Kathy Telfer, a spokesperson for Environment Alberta, refuted Tamblyn's statement, stressing the successes of Special Places 2000. "Seventy-five new areas have been created and 13 areas have been expanded," she said.

The project, started in 1995, has almost doubled the protected land base in five years, Telfer said, adding the government puts the same emphasis on any type of terrain in Alberta, be it the mountain region, grasslands, or the foothills. "There are no favourites," she said. "We try to protect any area that needs protection."

Larry Phillips, executive assistant of the Western Canada Wildlife Committee, another non-government organization, said campaigns like the U of A's do not receive much support from the government.

"The province is pro-development, it is looking at making a profit from our oil, coal and gas resources," he said. "With this development comes habitat destruction."

Manchuk and the ECSSA have around 120 students involved in the campaign. They plan on kicking off the 2001/2002 academic year with an environment and conservation awareness week.

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