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Forever Forests: Creating Spaces for Albertans to Enjoy

By Debra Smith

Every good party needs some planning. That’s partly why AMA has partnered with Project Forest to plant 100 hectares of centennial forest to commemorate AMA’s 100th anniversary. Over 200,000 seedlings will be planted on parcels of land throughout Alberta, transforming non-productive fields into budding forests in time for the celebrations in 2026. 

No matter where our individual stories began, we can all be proud to call Alberta home,” says Jane Flower, vice president of corporate purpose at AMA. “This project is about giving back to the land we love and helping preserve it for generations to come.” 

AMA chose to honour its Alberta home by returning underutilized land to its natural state for all to enjoy, a process known as rewilding. And it has many benefits: the emerging forests will filter and clean water, improve soil, and support wildlife and even microbial and insect life. In Alberta, birds are typically the first vertebrate species to return after rewilding, and as a field becomes a forest, it creates a home for wildlife like bear, elk, deer, wolves and coyotes. 

“A full 80 percent of our members have shared they are concerned about climate change,” says Flower. “But it’s also about community: creating spaces for Albertans to enjoy nature together, improve their health and well-being, and feel part of something bigger than themselves.” At maturity, AMA’s centennial forests will remove an average of 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 20,000 vehicles. 

The forests will grow native species on land designated by the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA). “We will plant food-bearing plants and shrubs as well as trees, using a local seed source, so we know that they are properly adapted to the climate and will grow based on the site conditions,” says Mike Toffan, executive director of Project Forest. 

The commitment to rewilding is a long-term investment in the province. It’s about doing as much as possible now in order to leave a legacy for the next generation of Albertans. “That’s the intention of a project like this,” says Flower. “You plant the seedlings, and you might never know the people whose lives are touched. And when you partner with a thoughtful and experienced group like Project Forest, you’re in the right hands to make a difference.” 

As an AMA member, you can feel a sense of pride visiting these forests that are guaranteed to be protected from development, creating recreational opportunities and enriching the natural world for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. That’s a plan we can all celebrate.