Congratulations to Wayne and Jesse Pukalo, ALUS Parkland participants, winners of the 2023 Dave Reid Award for contributions to the environment and their community
CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 04, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Dave Reid Award honours farmers participating in ALUS who are dedicated to producing ecological services on their land for the benefit of their communities and the environment. Through the award, ALUS recognizes their vital role as solution providers, community leaders and ambassadors for their local ALUS program. The award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize and $2,500 for each of the runners up.
The 2023 Dave Reid Award Winners, Wayne and Jesse Pukalo
This year’s Dave Reid Award has been awarded to Wayne and Jesse Pukalo, a father and son team, owners and operators of Century Simmentals and participants in the ALUS Parkland program, in Alberta. Since they joined ALUS in 2018, Wayne and Jesse have enrolled a total of 100 acres with ALUS, generating valuable ecosystem services. Their wetland projects allow these ecosystems to flourish, providing vital habitat for native species and in turn boosting biodiversity. The wetlands also help capture and store carbon and filter surface water.
More than that, Wayne has helped grow the local ALUS program, both as a member and Chair of the Partnership Advisory Committee, as well as by helping pilot and launch the ALUS enhanced grazing program in his community. His commitment to establishing and documenting best practices creates valuable technical resources for other participants looking to implement enhanced grazing with ALUS.
“Wayne and Jesse exemplify the hardworking solution providers that make ALUS an effective grassroots mechanism for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Their desire to implement practices that better the environment and their drive to share what they learn with their community is exactly what’s needed to build a better future for communities in Canada and around the world,” says Bryan Gilvesy, CEO, ALUS.
The Pukalos have also been keen to work with outside experts, including agronomists and biologists, who visit their operation to gather valuable data point that illuminate the outcomes of their grazing and environmental practices. Wayne and Jesse’s dedication to developing knowledge and resources that help advance a shared understanding of environmental practices on working farms will not only benefit their work and their land, but it will contribute to their community and the broader ALUS network.
“Our work aligns with the values and principles of ALUS. By putting those values into practice, we are confident in the long-term benefits we are creating for our ranch and for the environment,” say Wayne and Jesse Pukalo.
Runners-up for the Dave Reid Award
ALUS also recognizes award nominees who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding work: Bruce Beattie, ALUS Mountain View County in Alberta, and Martin Berger, ALUS Montérégie in Québec.
An early adopter of ALUS in Mountain View County, Bruce Beattie enrolled over 68 acres of wetland and riparian pasture in 2015. Bruce was also instrumental in establishing the ALUS Mountain View County program. Serving as Reeve of Mountain View County for ten years, Bruce’s commitment to his community took many forms, including support for the local ALUS program.
Beyond that, Bruce has been an essential voice in creating Alberta Milk, advocating for animal welfare as founding member and Chair of Alberta Farm Animal Care as well for broad agri-environmental initiatives. He also worked with the Alberta Products Marketing Council, helping forge stronger relationships between producers and processors. And in 2023, Bruce was inducted into the Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Such tireless advocacy for agriculture, community and the environment are the embodiment of ALUS.
“I wish to express my appreciation to ALUS for recognition of the ecological practices on our farm,” says Bruce. “The success of ALUS, from an idea in Manitoba to a national program, demonstrates what can be accomplished through partnerships and collaboration of the agricultural community. I am proud to participate in this growing, collaborative effort.”
Owner and operator of Bermanic Farm, Martin Berger has been a participant in the ALUS Montérégie program since 2018. Since then, Martin has continued to expand his collaboration with ALUS, adding projects in subsequent years that expand the ecosystem services generated on his land.
Martin started with a riparian buffer strip in 2018, consisting of a shrub hedge and lower meadow, which brought more pollinators and birds to his property, added a second, wider buffer strip in 2020, implemented a delayed haying project in 2021 and 2022 and has undertaken a tree planting effort in 2023.
Martin is also an advocate for agri-environmental practices and hosts site visits and tours of his operation to share his innovative practices with the broader community.
“We often feel that we’re only doing small things for biodiversity, but when we receive national recognition like this from ALUS, it reminds us of their importance for the environment and for the farming community,” Martin points out. “It’s a family project and a team effort that we’re realizing with the ALUS Montérégie team. We have a lot to be proud of!”
About the Dave Reid Award
The Dave Reid Award honors farmers across the country who are innovating by producing ecological services on their land. ALUS recognizes their vital role as stewards of the environment and ambassadors of the ALUS program.
Formerly known as the ALUS Canada Producer Innovation Award, the Dave Reid Award has previously been presented to Paul Caplette (ALUS Montérégie) in 2022, Duane Movald (ALUS Brazeau) in 2021, Marc Bercier (ALUS Ontario East) in 2020, Tom Towers (ALUS Red Deer County) in 2019, Joe Csoff (ALUS Norfolk) in 2018 and Gerry Taillieu (ALUS Parkland) in 2016.
Dave Reid is one of the original developers of the ALUS concept, having laid the foundations of the program and co-authored the ALUS program concept and guiding principles Alternative Land Use Services – A Farmer’s Conservation Plan. Of note, Dave was instrumental in elaborating the vision of the Partnership Advisory Committee, the locally empowered governance structure that makes ALUS unique. A lifelong resident of Norfolk County, Ontario, and a biologist, Dave Reid had a long career with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources before becoming involved in launching ALUS, holding the positions of Hub Manager and Director of Research & Development.
ALUS is a national charitable organization that provides expertise, resources, and direct financial support to 38 communities across six provinces where more than 1,600 farmers and ranchers establish and steward nature-based solutions on their land. These solutions deliver ecosystem services to help sustain agriculture and fight climate change and biodiversity loss for the benefit of communities and future generations. Projects such as enhanced wetlands, windbreaks, riparian buffer zones, wildlife habitats, adaptive agricultural practices and other impactful environmental solutions produce cleaner air, cleaner water, greater biodiversity, carbon sequestration, erosion control, flood and drought mitigation, pollinator and wildlife habitat, and other ecological services.
Learn more at ALUS.ca.
Director of Communications & Digital Strategy, ALUS
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/723da778-e148-4810-8efe-a448f2e5bea7