The Cheesy 2021 AJM Family Christmas Letter

In case you missed it, here’s yet another cheesy Christmas letter from the AJM family to yours! We hope you all had a merry Christmas, are enjoying the rest of the holiday season and have a happy New Year!

Savannah Sparrow – photo taken by Kaitlin Machacek

Although you were trying to avoid yet another copy/paste \’Happy Holidays\’ email, we just couldn\’t help ourselves. We\’d like to invite you to sit back, relax, and try to decide if you should report this as \’email phishing\’ while we natter on about 2021…

Mountain Short-horned Lizard – photo taken by Kaitlin Machacek

The year started like any other during a global pandemic. We Zoomed, Teamed, and increasingly kept our webcams turned off as our appearances slowly evolved into what we have adopted as our new company dress code: \’Business Very Casual (Pants Optional)\’.

As we came flying out of the 2021 gates, Smokin\’ Joe Biden hit us with a 1-2 sucker punch combo and cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite all the blood (note for AJM Safety: not real blood, metaphorical blood), sweat and tears (yes Safety, real tears) we had put into the project, we weren\’t going to be able to see it grow up, get a job and finally move out.

Despite the sucker punch-induced bloody nose, the field season was a busy one and we quickly learned that hognose snakes DO actually exist in Southern Alberta! Interestingly, the only reason we hadn\’t seen one in all our years of wildlife work was that we weren\’t conducting our surveys correctly. As such, our hognose snake survey kits now include a vial of scientifically proven hognose attractant: the musk of AJM\’er John Rich, aka The Hognose Whisperer.

Ord’s Kangaroo Rat – photo taken by Kaitlin Machacek

Alas, after a discovery at a project site we had to announce the end of an era and that Alberta is no longer \’Rat Free\’. Fortunately (well, unfortunately for our client who\’s site the rats decided to take up residence in…you know who you are and apologies again for your misfortune!), they were Kangaroo Rats who were quite the thrill to capture and eventually relocate. The silver lining is that we\’re pretty sure Alberta is still free of the sewer/NYC subway/sailor food type of rats that no one is ever excited to see.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have continued to grow in 2021. We welcomed John, Joe, Kerra and Mercedes to our gaggle and couldn\’t be happier to have them as part of the family. They each immediately made an impact with their musk (see hognose attractant above), social media celebrity (we finally got more than our parents following our AJM Insta account!), being the only field partner who can hold a tune, and invaluable Nickelback knowledge. Note that the Nickelback knowledge has proven the most valuable asset to AJM and is now a key part of our interview process.

Weatern Hognose Snake – photo taken by Adam Martinson

As a result of a very unique project, we have initiated a global effort to rename a season: \’Fall\’ is to become \’Fish Squeeze\’n Season\’. The work along the Eastern Slopes literally entailed squeezing bull trout and harvesting gametes (with no harm to the fish…we\’re pretty sure they actually liked it!). Although unorthodox for a company to rename a season, we\’re convinced \’Fish Squeeze\’n Season\’ will catch on and the use of the words Fall and Autumn will eventually be replaced in Websters Dictionary.

The 2021 AJ-Emmy Awards were another hotly contested and scandal ridden award ceremony. There were some real shockers as the Academy has undoubtedly been compromised putting the integrity of the Awards in serious question. Case in point: Charlie (a labradoodle) has won \’AJM Employee of the Year\’ for the third consecutive year. We all agree she is great, but she also can\’t speak, write, or conduct a technically sound rare plant survey. An official inquiry is underway with results expected in early 2022. Meanwhile, Charlie has been promoted.

In all seriousness, 2021 was a great year for the AJM family and we are extremely thankful to those who have supported us along the way. Whether it is our significant others putting up with crazy field schedules, clients continuing to place their faith in us, or our coworkers supporting us through inevitably tough days, we are so grateful. We couldn\’t do it without each and every one of you.

Smith Dorrien Creek – photo taken by Greg Eisler

In 2021 we were fortunate to be able to support a number of causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a group, we donated $20,670 to a variety of causes including:

  • The Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada,

  • The Calgary Drop-In Centre,

  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada,

  • Canadian Cancer Society,

  • Easter Seals Alberta,

  • Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association,

  • Miskanawah Community Services Association,

  • Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation,

  • Canadian Red Cross – BC Floods,

  • Community Foundation of the Kootenary Rockies,

  • KidSport Canada, and

  • Inn from the Cold.

We are honoured to be able to make a positive impact.

In closing, 2021 was another eventful year for the AJM Family and we\’d like to thank you for being a part of it. We are extremely excited about the future and that we get to continue on this journey with you. Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season, and all the best to you and yours in 2022!

The AJM Enviro Family

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