The Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) is proud to present the following stories created by WBR residents in a digital storytelling workshop. The workshop participants used their own voices combined with photos and music to create personal stories that reflect their diverse experience and unique relationship with the land in southwestern Alberta. The stories come from a range of people and perspectives, but all speak to a strong connection with nature, a profound respect for the land, a love of the lifestyle they enjoy in WBR, and an overwhelming desire to nurture stewardship of this land throughout multiple generations.
This project was facilitated by the Digital Storytelling Program (University of Calgary) and funded in part through the Watershed Stewardship Grant, a program of Land Stewardship Centre.
With stunning images focused within the Waterton Biosphere Reserve core, Edwin Knox shares his special connection with Waterton Lakes National Park and how his career in caring for it extends well beyond its boundaries. Edwin knows this as a sacred place where locals and visitors alike find fulfillment and inspiration.
Overwhelming infestations of spotted knapweed send most folks running but it is a passion of Rick West’s to rid it from the beautiful Belly River valley where he resides and raises cattle. His efforts are having a significant, observable impact on the problem of knapweed encroachment. No wonder his boots are stained the teal colour of his herbicide dye – watch out or he’ll spray yours, too, if you’re standing next to an unlucky knapweed plant!
Larry Frith is a modest, but passionate and committed steward of his certified organic ranch and the greater Waterton Biosphere Reserve. His digital story takes us back to his early days in the area and tells us of the beginnings of the deep roots he and his family have grown.
Kelly Cooley updates his grandfather on lessons learned during his stewardship of the family farm. Planting a permanent crop to limit soil erosion, cleaning up a wetland, and respecting biodiversity are some of the ways in which Kelly and his family exemplify beneficial stewardship practices.
With the future of many family ranch operations unclear, Kathy Flundra ponders how upcoming generations will continue to thrive on their love of the land. Kathy and her family are all accomplished in rodeo and they proudly ranch in coexistence with an abundance of wildlife in the heart of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve.
Fran Salt presents a touching story of where her family’s deep connection with the land has brought her and how she’s passing it on to her own little ‘shadows’. Fran’s love of her family ranch and exploring the mountains on foot or by skis epitomizes the essence of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, where humans and nature coexist.
When political boundaries are as indistinguishable as a barbed wire fence or a cutline through a forest, wild creatures move freely and our imaginations are unimpeded. Such is the case in the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, where Bill Dolan has spent much of his storied career nurturing partnerships which facilitate such cooperation and compatibility.