When most people think of the Calgary Stampede they imagine cowboy hats, boots, mouth-watering Midway foods, rides and rodeos—but did you know that the Stampede is also a leading organization when it comes to environmental protection? Our Stampede Family is dedicated to protecting our environment year-round, both on Stampede Park and in the broader community. I have the privilege of working with many of these individuals as the Stampede’s Environmental Consultant and we are doing our best to add a little green to the Stampede’s red and white!

Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day, and the theme this year is focused on ending plastic pollution. With this in mind, we wanted to highlight a few of the plastic reduction and clean-up initiatives we have taken at the Calgary Stampede.

Riverbank Clean Up:

When the river bank clean-up started more than 20 years ago, it began with a simple mission: to clean up the banks of the Elbow River that runs through Stampede Park. This mission has since grown into a long-standing tradition that has helped us build community, encourage pride of place and protect the environment. As a community focused organization, environmental protection has always been top of mind for the Stampede.

“We are protecting our community, whether they are downstream neighbours, fish in the river, or the local vegetation. Keeping trash, especially plastic, out of the river has been a major focus over the more recent years,” says Don Teare, Operations and Environmental Manager.

The riverbank clean-up has been running for more than 20 years working alongside The City’s clean up to keep plastic and other waste out of our rivers.

Breakfast Day Drive to Reduce waste:

Keeping environmental responsibility in mind, the Kids’ Day Go Green initiative was put into place with the vision to promote and ensure environmentally-friendly breakfasts on Stampede Park. With this vision, Kids’ Day 2017 fed over 17,000 guests and only produced a single bag of garbage!

“By creating inviting, eco-friendly spaces; using compostable, plastic-free products and engaging our community and youth in leading in a strong, sustainable practice, we are becoming a cleaner and greener organization. Kid’s Day was one day, one committee and one initiative – imagine what we can all do together!” notes Moyra Martin, a volunteer on the Kids’ Day Committee.

Thinking differently:

Sustainability is not a job responsibility, it’s a mindset. That’s why it isn’t the responsibility of just one department here on Stampede Park. Some of our team members have been inspired by our programs at the Stampede and have taken them to the next level at home and even on vacation by taking reusable bags and containers wherever they go.

One of the Stampede’s most successful year-round environmental initiatives was our composting program which has saved thousands of kilograms of kitchen waste from going to landfills.

Plastic-free YYC

A member of the Stampede extended-Family has taken this mission to the next level by starting the Plastic-Free YYC initiative. Briana Loughlin, daughter of Colin Loughlin, Project Manager, Business Services, started this exciting online movement after seeing the impacts of plastic waste while travelling. At first her goals were small, only looking to influence her family and friends to stop using plastic bags, but after she teamed up with co-founder, Isabelle Couture, the goals of Plastic-Free YYC were set much higher.

“With the new Chinese recycling standards and the theme of this year’s Earth Day being ending plastic pollution, we have been picking up traction. We now hope to educate Calgarians, help clean up Calgary parks and push to make Calgary a plastic-free city,” says Loughlin.

Thank you to everyone in the Stampede Family for their continued effort in helping preserve and protect our beautiful environment here on Stampede Park, in our community and around the world.