MaKami has always placed an emphasis on making positive environmental impacts since first opening in 2001. “The environment plays a critical role in where and how we decide to open a campus,” says MaKami’s CEO Marija Pavkovic-Tovissi. “It’s one of the reasons we choose to move into older buildings. We prefer to retrofit instead of tearing down or building brand new spaces. It is also critical we are along on local transit lines to encourage our students and staff to take transit whenever possible, and to protect the environment when they can.”
MaKami’s largest and most impactful environmental initiative is located outside the two urban centres that are currently home to their campuses, and occupy approximately 170-acres of land just east of Red Deer.
The area is part of more than 1.5 million acres of non-sandy aspen parkland, the largest remaining habitat of its kind in the world. Because of this habitat, as well as the glacier-fed, 740 kilometre Red Deer River which lines the land, the region is home to native grasslands, plants, wetlands and various birds and wildlife, many of which are under increasing threat from habitat loss.
“It is currently a mix of previously used farmland, trees and natural springs that lines the Red Deer River, and it was chosen due to its importance in the province’s overall conservation efforts,” says Pavkovic-Tovissi.
The project, named Paradise Ranch, is home to several current and upcoming environmental initiatives and research, including carbon neutrality efforts, soil, water and habitat recovery, testing of solar, hydro and wind projects and more.
The land has approximately 80 acres dedicated to trees.
Since purchasing the land, MaKami has been planting more trees. “In order to offset the carbon emissions of each student, we will be planting trees for every new student enrolled,” says Pavkovic-Tovissi. There will also be annual group planting initiatives which will welcome and encourage our students to participate in the tree planting activity.
Achieving carbon neutrality is one of MaKami’s key environmental initiatives. “Carbon neutrality is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions,” says Pavkovic-Tovissi. “There are a number of ways we can achieve carbon neutrality, but one of our first and largest ways is through carbon offsetting, like we are doing at Paradise Ranch.”
“In addition to carbon offsetting, this initiative will also help us re-wild the land for future environmentally-friendly agriculture and help restore the area to a more hospitable environment for soil, water and wildlife,” says Pavkovic-Tovissi.
MaKami will also be looking into ways to help in the recovery of the soil and river water on the land, as well as more ways to protect the area’s fish and wildlife.
Looking for environmentally friendly ways to power the buildings on the land will be another important aspect of Paradise Ranch, says Pavkovic-Tovissi.
“We are exploring the possibility of solar wind and hydro power in all aspects.”
Paradise Ranch will also be home to a variety of research and education initiatives over the coming years. MaKami plans to include educational courses on globalization and the environment, waste management and science and sustainability, the land is also home to a future agricultural research program, says Pavkovic-Tovissi.
“We plan on launching an integrated learning and applied research agricultural program. The focus being agriculture, horticulture, land and environment and more.”
Want to learn more about Paradise Ranch? Contact us!