Stewardship is the mindful act of caring for the environment. Acts of kindness include not releasing your pet Goldfish in water bodies or pet rabbits in our green spaces; disposing of all waste in appropriate garbage containers; avoiding disturbing vegetation and soils; and helping to reduce the establishment and spread of invasive plant species. Stewardship acts go hand in hand with enjoying your recreation use and helping to keep the environment healthy and functioning.
Recreation users who do not practice stewardship risk creating an unhealthy environment. In time, effects accumulate and lead to undesirable impacts such as: water pollution, loss of wildlife habitat and species, and increased costs to our city and taxpayers. Choose stewardship whenever you are outdoors. In this caring and responsible way, health, wellness, economic, and environmental benefits can be sustainable for present and future generations.
Here are recommendations on how to practice stewardship when enjoying outdoor areas in Medicine Hat.
- Discover more about nature and its benefits by visiting the Scenic Views of Medicine Hat. Learn about nature’s key living and non-living parts that work in harmony to produce healthy water, land, air, and biodiversity of native plants and animal species.
- Protect and care for our native plants, animals, and their habitat. Control invasive species at home to reduce their establishment and spread throughout the city. Invasive species contribute to a serious loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
- Avoid disturbing native plants including grasses, mosses and lichens. When native plants are removed, soils can erode and invasive species can establish. These negative outcomes can also lead to contamination of precious water in our wetlands, ponds, creeks and river.
- Dispose of all litter in garbage containers, or carry it home (pack-out what you pack-in). Unsightly garbage and waste in our green spaces can create an unhealthy environment by polluting soil and water, spreading disease, and leading to wildlife injury or death.
- Care for your pets. Should you be unable to look after them please find them a good home. Do not release pets such as domestic rabbits and Goldfish into our green spaces and waterways. These are invasive and negatively impact native species by competing for resources like food and habitat.
- The local and provincial governments are the primary government stewards of local outdoor areas. They are involved with the protection, planning, managing, maintenance, pest and weed control, and monitoring of parks and sensitive environmental areas. To do your part, the Society of Grasslands Naturalists recommend the following citizen stewardship actions:
i) Staying informed and advocating for stewardship in all City planning and development activities.
ii) Get involved with a conservation organization to learn more about maintaining and advocating for a healthy environment; and
iii) Participate in group stewardship actions such as reporting erosion of creeks and river banks, damage to trails and bridges, location of invasive species, as well as picking up and disposing of litter in nearest containers.
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