legacy land trust conservation project hazel and jim smith

Hazel & Jim Smith

Little Red Deer River Conservation Easement 2019

For 30 years Jim and Hazel Smith have lived in tune with their land along the Little Red Deer River, dedicating their efforts to agriculture and ecological stewardship.

In 2019, they donated a conservation easement to Legacy Land Trust Society on 140 acres. This easement will ensure that their land will be protected and stewarded in perpetuity while still maintaining its important food-producing qualities.

Jim and Hazel believe that food production and nature can co-exist and thrive. With an agro-ecological management system, they recognize that beyond farm produce—prairie-hardy fruits and vegetables, cattle, bees, forages and grains—their land also provides important ecological goods and services such as clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration along with the beauty and inspiration that natural landscapes offer.

The river that meanders through their land is surrounded by a diverse ecosystem of mammals, birds, plants and fungi not commonly seen in the area. Jim and Hazel have documented over 80 different species of birds on or adjacent to their land.  Some are permanent residents and others migrate through, making their property an important bird haven.

By registering a conservation easement on their land title, the Smiths are helping maintain and preserve the integrity of the Little Red Deer River Watershed and the valuable habitat it provides.

Because of its many special attributes Jim and Hazel’s property has also been certified as an Ecological Gift by Environment and Climate Change Canada—a program that recognizes the conservation of properties that are of national or provincial significance or that support species at risk.

On December 2, 2021 Jim was inducted into the Order of the Bighorn for his decades-long commitment to conservation. This prestigious award is presented by the Alberta Government for exceptional volunteer efforts on behalf of conservation and ongoing stewardship of our natural resources.

Jim Smith is the founding president of Legacy Land Trust Society.