Why We Exist
Close your eyes and picture rolling grasslands, wide blue skies, and the majestic Rocky Mountains on the horizon. This iconic image is the southern Alberta landscape.
When Phil Nykyforuk came to live in Calgary with his family in 1993, he was awe-stricken with the beauty of southern Alberta and saw the value in protecting it. Phil had been studying at the University of Pennsylvania, and when he arrived here he spent countless weekends hiking and taking photos in Alberta’s wilderness. Phil was struck by the contrast between the state of nature in America’s industrial heartland and in southern Alberta. He realized that there was still an opportunity here to “get it right”.
Phil wanted to contribute to safeguarding this region and its wilderness values for his children and grandchildren. This is what led him to volunteer with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Southern Alberta Chapter (CPAWS SAB). Phil chose to volunteer and support CPAWS because:
- He saw a non-partisan, well-respected, active, on-the-ground local chapter of a proven national organization, and one with a strong record of success in protecting public lands.
- He valued CPAWS’ mandate of protecting parks and wilderness, using science as a base for finding solutions to conservation issues, and working cooperatively with all stakeholders.
- He supported CPAWS Southern Alberta’s strong award-winning environmental education program and efforts to promote environmental stewardship.
Phil has been part of CPAWS Southern Alberta’s efforts for over 15 years. In that time, he has helped the beautiful Whaleback region become a protected landscape, helped get grizzly bears listed as a threatened species provincially, helped stop Bill 29 that would have decreased protection in our provincial park designation system and he has helped put a moratorium on logging in the Castle to name just a few successes.
Phil is contributing to CPAWS Southern Alberta to ensure a healthy future so that, as he has said, “his children and grandchildren won’t read a textbook and wonder about what we once had and what was lost.”