Why We Exist
Sandy Cross, the son of A.E Cross, a well-known Albertan and one of Calgary’s Big Four, lived a humble and unassuming life maintaining his family’s land and raising cattle. It was in 1973 that Ann Abbott captured the heart of this long-time bachelor, and the two were married. In 1987, Ann and Sandy donated 2000 acres of their land to the province to become the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area.
At the time, it was the largest private land donation in Canadian history, and in 1996, another 2800 acres were added. It was the dream of Ann and Sandy, concerned about encroaching urban development, to ensure that their land would be protected. For 30 years, the ASCCA has been striving to be a leader and an example in land conservation and sustainability, to inspire and engage people of all ages to reflect on the importance of preserving our remaining natural habitats so that they can remain refuges for wildlife and be appreciated by future generations long after we are gone.
“As the CEO of the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area (ASCCA) I wanted to tell you about my favorite part of the day, it is when the students flood back into the building after spending the day interacting with nature, just before they get back on the school bus. In the few minutes that I speak with them I see how they’ve been impacted by their time here. Their grins are from ear to ear and I can hardly hear as each child it trying to tell me what they learned that day. And every day I am reminded how important it is to teach our youth the importance of being outside and engaging with our environment. We provide funding for students from schools that require financial aid, and several are new Canadians, refugees or from low-income families who have not had opportunity to experience the unique natural setting of the Conservation Area. These students develop a deeper understanding of nature from which a conservation ethic may evolve. For many students’ their time at the ASCCA begins to instill in them an appreciation and enjoyment of the outdoors.”
– Greg Shyba, Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area CEO