We want to thank the Alberta Wilderness Association for honouring us with the Martha Kostuch Wilderness Defenders Award last night. Martha was an unwavering advocate for Alberta’s wild spaces. She was feisty, intelligent and steadfast in defending wilderness from industry and the political manoeuvring of the Alberta government – especially during the Oldman River controversy of the late 1980s. It was during this heartbreaking campaign that I got to know Martha. She taught me that to make change happen you must be strong in your resolve and be willing to risk it all. Moving to TK Ranch and developing a sustainable ranching model that hinges on the stewardship of endangered wild prairie to produce and market nutrient dense grass-finished beef has not been easy. My husband Dylan and I faced tremendous adversity to be successful, but our success has demonstrated that the economic benefits of incorporating land stewardship as part of a sustainable livestock enterprise are real and measurable. This is revolutionary in an industry where change is viewed with suspicion and anyone advocating change is shunned. Our work has laid the foundation for others to follow and this makes all of the hardships worthwhile. We are deeply moved and humbled to receive this award, thank you again.
Over the years both Dylan and Colleen Biggs have been recognized for their commitment to the environment, animal welfare and sustainable agriculture.
In 2016 Dylan and Colleen Biggs of TK Ranch were two of the recipients of awards of distinction at the recent Livestock Care Conference hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care.
The Hanna-area ranchers were recognized for their long-term commitment to animal welfare and sustainably produced food, which has served as a model approach inspiring the progress of many others. This has included hosting clinics on low-stress livestock handling, promoting a range of additional best practices, and always taking time to help others improve.
In 2011-2012 Colleen Biggs was a recipient of the Global Edmonton Woman of Vision award.
In 2010 TK Ranch was nominated for and received the National Prairie Conservation Award at the 9th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference in Winnipeg, MB. They received the award based on the following criteria:
- Relationship of achievements to the conservation or understanding of native habitat or endangered species within the Prairies Ecozone;
- Demonstration of exceptional commitment or innovation (above and beyond normal livelihood expectations);
- Demonstration of enduring commitment;
- Significance of the accomplishment in terms of results;
- Extent to which granting of an award to this nominee will help native habitat conservation and endangered species efforts within the Prairies Ecozone.
In 2009 TK Ranch was nominated for and received Wildlife Habitat Canada’s National Countryside Canada Award for their commitment to sustainable ranching. “Through their innovation, determination and a deep commitment to stewardship, Dylan and Colleen Biggs have established themselves as leaders in operating a successful ranching enterprise while caring for this fragile ecosystem.” A picture from the awards ceremony is seen above — Dylan and Colleen are at the left of the photo.
In 2006 TK Ranch was selected to represent Alberta’s farm and ranch families at the prestigious Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC. Dylan, Colleen and their four daughters were flown to Washington for two weeks where they met with the public and discussed their ranching philosophy. Dylan also demonstrated his Low Stress Livestock Handling methods in a corral set-up on the National Mall about 750 metres from the Capitol Building. It was an honour to represent Alberta and this was a very memorable event.
In 2004 TK Ranch was nominated for an Emerald Award for their commitment to the environment and sustainable agriculture.
In 2000 both Dylan and Colleen received the Growing Alberta Environmental Stewardship Award for their leadership and commitment to the food system and environmental sustainability.
In 1998 Dylan and Colleen received the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Farmer of the Year Award. This was in response to their strong position on farm animal welfare and Dylan’s leadership in the field of low stress livestock handling.
In 1993 Colleen was nominated for the Coronation Citizen of the Year award. She and Dylan fought to prevent Edmonton from transporting all of its municipal solid waste to a landfill close to Coronation. Colleen published a weekly article in the local paper advocating sustainable waste management for several months during the public hearing process. She was recognized for her leadership and commitment to the community.
In 1990 Colleen received the Heidi Schaefer Wilderness Preservation Award from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society which recognized her hard work and commitment to conserving Alberta’s parks and wilderness areas. In 1987 she received the Volunteer of the Year Award from CPAWS for her work and involvement in several key conservation initiatives including the Save South Moresby Campaign to establish what is now Haida Gwaii National Park and the Oldman River Dam controversy.