Elke Blodgett: St. Albert, Alberta
Elke Blodgett’s nickname is “Urmutter Erde”, or “Mother Earth”, and rightfully so. She has spent her life learning, teaching and advocating environmental issues. She lives in St. Albert, Alberta, an area known for its natural setting. She is an all-round watchdog determined to maintain the town’s environmental integrity in the face of agricultural, industrial and urban development.
In 1997, land development plans precipitated a City Council resolution to construct a “Western Bypass” that would cross the Sturgeon River immediately adjacent to the outlet of Big Lake. Elke knew this was a wrong decision – one that would result in the deterioration of this very special ecosystem.
As a founding member of the Anti-Bypass Coalition (ABC), Elke and other members dedicated themselves to the protection and enhancement of the Big Lake ecosystem through education and active advocacy.
This last year was very intense, as ABC tried to rebuild the case for less destructive alternatives and ensure that the Environmental Assessment addressed all relevant issues. As a result of the concerted efforts of people who supported the conservation efforts, the road has been effectively delayed until the outstanding issues have been resolved. Elke has received countless media support and is well recognized in her community for her efforts.