The City of Camrose and a class of third-year students from Augustana teamed up to help Camrose prepare for climate change vulnerability. With extreme weather scenarios becoming more common in Camrose, the students developed resources and recommendations to help residents, businesses, and the City prepare for and respond to these events.

Preparing For Mother Nature: A Series of How-To Guides
Preparing for Mother Nature: A Series of How-To Guides

Included in this guide:

  • Extreme Snowfall
  • Extended Power Outage
  • Flooding
  • Major Hailstorm
  • Extreme Heat
  • Wildland Fire
  • High Wind Event
  • Tornados
  • Prolonged Drought
  • Freezing Rainstorm
Preparing for Tornados

In the event of a tornado, use this map to find a good shelter near you. Note: Do not avoid possible shelters because they're not on the map!

Shelter Guidelines

60 second rule: Your shelter should not take more than 1 minute to reach. If you are outside, try to find an indoor shelter within this timeframe. Otherwise, take shelter outdoors.

If you are inside, try to stay where you are. If you have major concerns about the safety of your indoor shelter, moving to another shelter should take under 60 seconds. Otherwise, take shelter outdoors.

Stay in Place. Tornados are chaotic, they do not have a set path that can be predicted and avoided. There is no reliable way to avoid a tornado, and moving around only increases to chances of being caught in the tornado.


Indoor Sheltering
  •  Aim to shelter in rooms with interior walls (ones without outside walls)
  • Indoor sheltering position
    • Sit down
    • Tuck your knees to your chest
    • Put your head between your knees
    • Cover the back of your head with your hands
  • If there is heavy furniture like a sturdy desk or table, shelter underneath it
  • If there is no solid furniture, be near the walls of the room
    • Doorways and staircases have stronger foundations so shelter underneath them if possible
Outdoor Sheltering
Do take shelter
  • Aim to shelter in a ditch or slope - tornados tend to speed up on flat land
  • Outdoor sheltering position
    • Lie face down
    • Lie as flat as possible (don't curl up)
    • Cover the back of your head with your hands

This is the most stable position you can take for protection from strong winds and debris.

Don't take shelter

  • Aim to avoid taking shelter in:
    • Cars
    • Tunnels/overpasses
    • Under trees
    • On playground equipment
    • In outhouses

These spaces/objects do not provide protection from a tornado since they are at a greater risk of collapsing on you or being blown away with you inside.

What are the traits of a strong indoor shelter?

A basement or ground-level space. Elevated spaces should be avoided– if the floor is a second story or higher, there’s a high chance of the floor collapsing.

Basements are slightly safer than ground-levels, as the walls cannot cave in and the only structural risk is from the ceiling, but ground level spaces are still reasonably safe.


Windows are hazardous, as strong winds can shatter glass and send it flying inside. It’s okay if a space has a few small-average sized windows, just take shelter in the spot farthest away from them.

If a space has too many large windows, or an entire glass wall (i.e. the Augustana Campus Forum), it should be avoided entirely.


Be mindful of a room’s contents. Most furniture is safe to be around, and in some circumstances, it may even be safer to take shelter underneath it (see sheltering guidelines for more information).

However, large shelves and bookcases should be avoided when possible. No matter how sturdy they seem, assume that the shelves and the objects they hold may fall over.


Be mindful of a space’s height. If the roof or ceiling is too high up, it increases the chance of collapsing under the stress of severe winds.

The ceiling height of an ideal tornado shelter is approximately 2-3 meters (7-9 feet).

For reference, this is the average ceiling height of a residential home.

A space should be avoided if its ceiling height is over 4.5 meters (15 feet) (i.e. the Augustana Campus Forum, gymnasiums, auditoriums, cathedrals, etc.).


Building an emergency kit? The Government of Canada has a helpful checklist to help you.


 Family walking in the park

Our mission is to turn city areas into beautiful, usable green spaces where nature and city life blend smoothly. We are aiming to bring more nature into our cities by planting native plants and creating green areas right where we live and work. By adding more green to our urban areas, we can make our communities healthier, more vibrant, and better places to live for current and future generations.

We want to make our city better by planting thoughtfully and taking care of these green spaces, thinking about the good they will do for a long time. Our plan is all about making our environment better, keeping people healthy and happy, and providing benefits for businesses and the whole community. By making our cities greener, we help our environment by inviting birds, bees, and other helpful creatures. Plus, it’s a smart choice because it saves money, uses less water during dry times, and holds onto water better when it rains.

Working together with the University of Alberta Augustana Campus students, we're excited to start this important work. But it’s not just about making things look nice. It’s about building a city ecosystem that works well with nature. We are a city that prides ourselves based on our greenery, and native species. We want to show you how to make your home, business and neighborhood greener and how it can improve our cities and encourage everyone to support native plants and wildlife.

Join us as we work to fill our cities with green, creating lasting, beautiful spaces that are good for people, businesses, and nature. Let's make our cities vibrant and sustainable for all of us, today and in the future.



Bee on a flower


Less Maintenance

By slightly changing your yard, you will be able to mow, water, and fertilize less (if at all!) By reducing the frequency of lawn mowing and thus allowing grass to grow slightly longer, habitat for a wider range of beneficial plants and animals is created, enhancing biodiversity and soil health as a result. If you spring for a clover lawn you likely will only need to water when you first plant it, and you will never need to mow!

Maintaining grass by mowing

Save on Water

With longer and hotter summers coming every year, you need to water a typical grass lawn consistently for it to stay lush. Planting clovers and native plants local to the area in your yard can help reduce the amount you will need to water. By doing this you can conserve water during droughts and save on your water bill!


Avoid Flooding

Creating a rain garden by using a mix of native plants with high moisture storage capacity and planting it in a low-lying area where water tends to accumulate provides a natural sink for runoff, and alleviates pressure during times of peak rainfall and humidity (Every spring!) Conversely rain gardens with native flora also help in mitigating drought through the same mechanism of high moisture retention, requiring less frequent watering and care relative to overall humidity and precipitation.

Flooding garden

What About the Deer?
In order to deter deer from eating gardens, certain plants which deer prefer to avoid, such as goldenrod or wild bergamot can be interspersed throughout the garden. These plants are stunning, and will keep the deer away from your plants, allowing your garden to flourish. Deer

Common Misconceptions of Naturalization


"It looks ugly!"
Maintaining a natural landscape does not mean taking away the aesthetics of a well-maintained lawn or park. By incorporating a thought-out naturalized area, it still allows the greenspace to be visually appealing.
"Tall grass looks bad"
With the right approach to naturalizing urban areas, grass is still able to be cut. The idea is that the grass will grow to a longer length but can still be trimmed to look aesthetically pleasing and taken care of. Limiting the use of mowers will decrease CO2 emissions created, as well as increase the efficiency of water usage as taller grass retains more moisture.
"Naturalized areas are breeding grounds for bugs"
While naturalization does lead to an increase in insects and wildlife populations, these are signs of a healthy and prosperous ecosystem. Due to these increases in wildlife populations, there are still other ways to partake in naturalization through strategic planting and being selective of what plants you choose. These are ways that naturalization can take place while limiting the amount of insects and animals that call that area home.
"One person can't make a difference"
It is commonly believed that planting a singular tree will not change or improve anything. While it may be a small action, many small actions can make a big difference. Such as when one person plants a tree and four other individuals follow suit, that is five trees compared to the singular tree that we started with. Every action and inaction has a positive or negative impact on the environment.
"This won't affect me in my lifetime"
While climate change is perceived to be a future problem, we can see the environment already feeling the effects. These effects will only continue to worsen if actions are not taken, as seen with our summers and the extreme heat we have experienced in the past couple years. This shows how climate change is happening right in front of our eyes, and its effects can already be felt today.

A Home-Owners Guide to Naturalization

Whether you own a home, rent your space, or manage properties, this guide is your easy, step-by-step companion to embrace naturalization. We will provide tips and tricks to build your outdoor spaces, so it not only looks good, but feels good. Let's transform our greenspaces together, making them beautiful and beneficial for the planet.

The Benefits

When naturalizing your home, you can expect a variety of different benefits, both in the short and long term. Strategic use of plants around your home can:

  • Lower energy costs

  • Lower needs for maintenance

  • Limit water usage and soil moisture retainment

  • Increase property value

  • Increase renters and buyer's appeal

Where to Start
  • Assess your spaces soil and topography

  • Identify current plants on the property

  • Decide what plants you like, and what you are willing to maintain

  • Purchase plants and get to landscaping!

A Renters Guide to Naturalization

As a renter it can be difficult to make any significant changes to your living space due to a lack of final authority over the property. Start the discussion with your landowner to see if planting around your property is okay!

How to discuss naturalization with your landlord

Some easy conversation starters with your landlord:

  • How do you feel about naturalization?

  • Would you be okay with me planting around the property?

  • Are there rules about gardening on this property?

If you are unable to naturalize your own home, community gardens can be a great way to become involved in local naturalization without requiring any land ownership. Renters can also use pots, flower beds, and window boxes to green their property without making any permanent alterations.

Greening your Community

Supporting the greening of local parks and other outdoor spaces can make a big change! Small changes such as planting more trees, shrubs, and clovers can transform fields into a much more diverse, lush, and stunning landscapes.

What changes can be made?
Planting more trees creates a larger canopy coverage which allows for more shaded areas and keeps parks usable by people even during times of excess heat. Including water features like fountains and ponds, provides both cooling benefits and aesthetic value.

Dense vegetation allows for noise reduction and creates a sound barrier from urban noise to those enjoying natural spaces. Paired with a variety of trails, these natural quiet zones can create a peaceful, natural environment helping support overall mental health and wellbeing.

Properly shaded parks and natural spaces also provide opportunities for educational experiences in natural settings and allow activities like outdoor classes to take place in a suitable environment.

Research Projects

University of Alberta Naturalization Research Projects in Edmonton

In 2014, Dr. M Anne Naeth of the University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources and the City of Edmonton partnered in a joint research project on naturalized areas. The research was focused on the effects of naturalization on living and non-living habitat.

Learn more!

MacEwan University Naturalization Research Project in Edmonton

In spring 2017, Dr. Karen Christensen-Dalsgaard of MacEwan University partnered with the City of Edmonton on a five-year research project with the purpose of improving the growth and survival of woody species in the Edmonton urban area.

Learn more!

Naturalization Projects in Calgary

Sections of many parks and open spaces in Calgary are being naturalized through the reintroduction of native plant species as The City takes actions toward meeting a key biodiversity goal of restoring 20 per cent of its open spaces by 2025.

Learn more!


Tree Dictionary

When identifying which trees to plant, the tree dictionary considers the temperature changes that are expected to occur in Camrose over the next few decades.

Find the complete tree dictionary here.

Tree Dictionary

Wildfire Smoke
In recent years, Camrose has experienced various periods of poor air quality due to an increase in pollutant matter resulting from wildfire smoke. Based on the historical data recorded by The World Air Quality Index Project, records of the average daily air quality in the City of Camrose suggest that there is a dramatic increase in the days where Camrose experienced poor air quality comparing the summer of 2021 to the summer of 2023. In 2021, from May 1 to September 31, there were approximately 29 days which recorded a poor to unhealthy air quality while 5 days were categorized as unhealthy to hazardous. In 2023, from May 1 to September 31, there were approximately 79 days of poor to unhealthy air quality (172% increase), and 18 days were unhealthy to hazardous (a 260% increase).

Posters about wildfire smoke

Protecting Workers from Wildfire Smoke

Staying Safe Outdoors

Staying Safe Indoors

Wildfire Smoke Composition and Health Risks

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) 

Note: feel free to print these posters to put up and share information about wildfire smoke

Articles About Drought

Are you interested in learning more about drought, Camrose's drought policies, how to conserve water, and what to do in a water emergency? Read more here.

Drought article

Hosting Events

Whether you're hosting small gatherings or large-scale events, preparing for various climate conditions is essential. Air quality, heat, and wind are all factors that are outside your control as an event organizer. However, you should plan ways to mitigate the negative effects from these environmental factors on your event and/or understand the thresholds where the event will need to be cancelled or postponed.

Read more here.

Wildfire Pre-Incident Response Plan

This plan was developed with the City of Camrose as the target audience to better understand and prepare for wildfire risk, mitigation, and response in Camrose.

Read more here.

Drought Policy Analysis and Recommendations

These policy recommendations and analysis was developed with the City of Camrose as the target audience. The framework aims to evaluate the effectiveness of various policies and incorporate the most relevant elements into the drought policy recommendations and action plan. In doing so, these recommendations will contribute to a resilient and adaptive strategy for the City of Camrose.

Read more here.

Camrose Climate Outreach Information Network (C-COIN)

The index and roadmap are intended for the City of Camrose to utilize when disseminating climate change risk information that serve vulnerable populations especially regarding extreme weather events in Camrose.

The index is a compilation of human service organizations in the Camrose area and applicable contact information for each organization. The index is organized into six "working groups" representing the most prominent vulnerable populations in the Camrose area: seniors, unhoused and transient populations, underemployed persons, unemployed persons, individuals with disabilities and other health/mental health conditions, and at-risk youth and women with intersectional vulnerabilities.

The infographic roadmap of the communication framework complements the C-COIN index and should be used in conjunction with the index.

Camrose Climate Outreach Information Network Infographic

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