Based on the study criteria that were presented, I decided to focus my comments primarily on the contributions of hunters and trappers to wildlife management and conservation.
First, I just wanted to share a bit of data on our organization, the Alberta Fish and Game Association. Here and after I will refer to it just as AFGA. We are a not-for-profit, volunteer organization, proud to serve Albertans in the promotion of the wise use of our fish and wildlife resources, and the conservation of their habitats. The AFGA has been active in Alberta since 1908 in working toward these goals. It has a province-wide membership of over 24,000 individuals spread among more than 100 clubs throughout the province.
As president of AFGA, I take great pride in the contributions that our membership makes and continues to make toward the betterment of Alberta's precious fish and wildlife resources and the habitat they depend on for their existence and survival. We are, first and foremost, conservationists who have a significant connection to the outdoors through a number of activities and projects. I would like to share just a few details about some of the more significant projects that we have undertaken in the province. These projects have been initiated and funded through AFGA, and they continue to be funded and operated by AFGA.
The first project I would like to talk about is our wildlife trust fund. Our wildlife trust fund was established back in 1986, when the association saw that the habitat was quickly being reallocated toward industrial, commercial, and even private interests, as well as agriculture. We saw a need to help preserve some of the more pristine habitats for wildlife. It was the first land trust fund that was set up in Alberta. It currently holds over 100 properties throughout the province, containing over 40,000 acres that we have obtained for conservation purposes. These properties are available to anyone, at any time of the year, for any type of activities, whether it be hiking, photography, hunting, fishing, or just enjoying the outdoors.
Last year alone, we added over 2,000 acres to this trust fund and continue to have a great deal of support from our members and the province as a whole. We run this program in conjunction with some of the other programs available, such as eco-gifting, and some properties end up in the trust fund from that. We also partner with other organizations in acquiring these properties. All the properties are sought for their ecological and habitat significance, so they are assessed prior to obtaining them for that purpose.
The second program is our operation grassland community program. In this program, we work with landowners in the mixed-grass prairie area of southeastern Alberta. The mixed-grass prairie region still comprises a large component of the Province of Alberta, and it is very sensitive to activities on those types of habitats. It cannot handle a whole lot of disturbance without having long-term effects on those habitats. We work with the landowners to help educate them on ways to manage the property, with the ecological value of the property in mind. We have over 300 agreements with landowners who have plans in place to help preserve the ecological value of these lands.
Also, given that the native prairie is very sensitive, many of the species at risk exist in this area. We also help lead landowners on how to assist in maintaining habitat that is suitable for these species at risk.
The third program, I'll just quickly mention, is the Antelope Creek Ranch. This is a partnership program we operate with Ducks Unlimited, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and Wildlife Habitat Canada.
The Antelope Creek Ranch is a 5,500-acre ranch that we manage strictly as a demonstration ranch to help demonstrate how competing interests on the land, such as livestock, recreation, oil and gas activity and development, marshlands, and of course the wildlife that exists on those habitats can work together. We also use that ranch for educational purposes, and we have many individuals doing their theses on the ranch through the University of Regina, the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary.
The fourth program is an antelope corridor enhancement project whereby our members fund and provide the labour to amend fencing in areas where antelope migrate. Antelope can't or won't jump fences, so they are forced to go under fences. Many of these fences restrict their natural movements, so we assist in replacing a lot of these fences with wildlife-friendly fences and provide the material and the labour to change these fences. To date we've replaced over 900 kilometres of fencing, and we continue to run three or four projects every year to change that.
We operate our conservation camps for youth and women. It has been shown that youth and women are the fastest growing demographic in outdoor sports in the province of Alberta, and we run camps to help them develop and introduce them to different activities that can be completed in the outdoors.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that on behalf of the Alberta government, we operate the minister's special licence auction and raffle, where funds are raised that go directly back into research and habitat development for specific wildlife species. These funds are then granted to different organizations or universities that are taking on projects that will enhance knowledge of wildlife species, their habits, how they interact with the habitats they live in, and ways they can be bettered.
That will complete my opening statement. Thank you.