Horse poop, bat boxes: Calgary Stampede green initiatives impressive and stinky

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Horse poop, bat boxes: Calgary Stampede green initiatives impressive and stinky

They say one person's trash is another person's treasure, and the Calgary Stampede has been quietly living by that motto for about two decades.

All that horse poop, and there's a lot of it, has been converted to manure and shipped off to various farms. In recent years, it went to a mushroom farm.

Last year, 2,500 tonnes of it went to a Saskatoon berry farm and a tree farm.

All this and more is music to the ears of an environmental consultant with the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth."

"It's actually how we keep such high diversion rates, as well," Austin Lang said on Wednesday.

"The manure and the bedding waste actually accounts for about 75 per cent of all the waste coming off of Stampede Park, so it's a lot."

With the help of some volunteers, they pulled off quite a remarkable feat this year.

"We have a group of Girl Scouts that come in and stand at the garbages and make sure the public knows where everything is going. Before it goes into the waste, we actually sort it again," Lang said.

"For Family Day, we had one bag of waste."

More recently, they've made some installations that could have bug spray makers shaking in their cowboy boots.

"The bat houses are probably the coolest thing on the grounds right now," he said.

"It's to control the mosquito population. It's a natural way to introduce a predator instead of spraying pesticides."

Still work to do

Lang says up to 200 bats can fit into one of the bat houses.

"They are just tiny and they eat up to their full body weight in bugs each night," he said.

But there's still work to do, Lang said.

"We are working with vendors making sure items they are giving out are going to be able to go to composting or recycling."

If you want one of those single-use straws at a drinking establishment on the grounds, you will have to ask for it because they are given out by request only now.

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With files from Terri Trembath.