Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society

22 April 2024

IMG_4667 by Glen Hvenegaard


The Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society (CWSS) began in 2002 to address greenspace loss and fragmentation, and the lack of sufficient consideration of greenspace and wildlife issues in planning efforts. Thus, CWSS seeks to raise awareness, knowledge, and support for the abundant wildlife and greenspaces in Camrose, and to emphasize the importance of these features as contributors to quality of life in the community. To this end, CWSS builds on collaborative projects among partners representing several environmental, service, municipal, and educational organizations. 

CWSS has undertaken many projects to support its goals. First, an early survey found a high level of support for wildlife in Camrose; 93% of households enjoyed wildlife from their home, 76% attracted wildlife to their property, 93% supported wildlife stewardship projects, and 33% would volunteer. We also conducted bird surveys around the city to determine species-rich habitats. CWSS lobbied for the development of a Green Space Master Plan, which was approved in 2014. We have supported other groups in their stewardship efforts, such as tree planting for the city of Camrose, nest boxes for purple martins, and gardens for hummingbirds and butterflies. 

CWSS adopted the purple martin as its flagship species because of significant engagement from local “martin landlords.” The purple martin is a large swallow that depends almost completely on human-provided cavity nesting structures. It is a species of concern in Canada because of its reliance on these structures. We raised funds to construct several “condominium-style” nesting boxes, and now support landlords throughout the city and area. We have also supported research on martin migration, dispersal, nest box preferences, and effectiveness of landlord activities. Our annual survey shows the martin population has fluctuated, but has generally increased over the past two decades. We also learned about landlord motivations and citizen science associated with martins. This information demonstrated that martin landlords wanted social activities, mentoring, and resources to support their stewardship efforts. As a result, in 2010 we began hosting an annual Purple Martin Festival to celebrate martins and other local wildlife.

At present, CWSS and the City of Camrose hire a summer coordinator to facilitate weekly summer educational events for the public, develop educational materials, analyze policies, and support stewardship activities. We have had many fascinating presentations, hikes, and workshops on topics related to natural history, sustainability, food, and more. Please join us on Thursday evenings at 7 from late May to early July at the Stoney Creek Centre in Camrose.

CWSS won an Emerald Award in 2015 for environmental excellence in the Community Group or Nonprofit Association category.

You can find us on Facebook (search Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society - CWSS or Camrose Purple Martin Festival) or email us at

Glen Hvenegaard is the Chair of the Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society.

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