Today, the Weston Family Foundation announced the launch of the Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative with nearly $25 million awarded to five organizations to collaborate on one of the largest prairie grasslands conservation efforts in Canadian history.
“The Canadian prairie grasslands are some of the most ecologically valuable and threatened ecosystems in the world and we have an opportunity now to protect them for future generations,” said Eliza Mitchell, director, Weston Family Foundation. “We’re launching this initiative to bring together a diverse group of conservation and agricultural organizations to accelerate the adoption of sustainable approaches to protect and restore biodiversity in this unique landscape.”
Stretching across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the Canadian prairie grasslands are complex ecosystems that support critical biodiversity. They provide habitat for hundreds of species, including migration stops for millions of birds. Prairie grasslands provide food for Canadians by supporting soil health, offering grazing for livestock, and acting as habitat for pollinators. Native grasslands are resilient and play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change, but once destroyed are difficult to restore.
The Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative will fund organizations working with local communities to advance ecologically and economically sustainable long-term solutions for this critical landscape. Despite a loss of more than 70 per cent of the country’s prairie grasslands, there remains enough continuous grasslands intact to have a substantial effect on biodiversity in Canada if they are well managed.
“It’s exciting to see what can be accomplished by bringing Canadians together to find innovative and sustainable approaches to restoring and protecting biodiversity,” said Tamara Rebanks, chair of the Foundation.
The five organizations receiving funding through the Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative are: Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Saskatchewan Stock Growers Foundation, Grasslands National Park (Parks Canada), and Meewasin Valley Authority.
Total funding for this initiative will be distributed across these five organizations over a five-year period.
For further information, visit: westonfoundation.ca