Saturday, July 31, 2010

In the Wildflower Garden

Visitors to the Nature Centre may have noticed a small green space next to the staff parking lot driveway. This is our wildflower garden, and the members of the Red Deer & District Garden Club put a lot of effort into planning and maintaining it.

The garden is home to many native and wild species of flowering plants, and the colours and scents you find there are constantly changing throughout the growing season. We encourage our visitors to follow the short gravel path through the garden to have a closer look at the flowers and the activity they create. As I noticed today, the garden is a very popular place with many important insect pollinators, a few of which you'll see in the photos below.

These are just a sampling of what's currently flowering in the garden. Why not come down to the Centre and check out the garden for yourself?

As always, click on the photos to see larger versions:


 Fleabane and Harebell


Goldenrod and Police Car Moth

Monarda (Bergamot) and bee

Prickly Pear Cactus (not technically in the wildflower garden -- closer to the building -- but definitely worth a look when they're in flower)



Monday, July 26, 2010

The Sun has Set on Westerner Days

For this year at least.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who came out at 6:00 & 8:00 Friday morning to mix pancake batter, flip pancakes, grill sausage, setup, clean and take down tables, make coffee, take money, sell raffle tickets and the other innumerable jobs require to pull off a pancake breakfast. By the end of the morning our staff and volunteer team had served breakfast to 529 people.

Once again London Drugs went above and beyond with their support for Red Deer's non-profit community. Their Westerner pancake breakfasts (five days in a row) not only supports the Nature Centre but also the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter, Red Deer Search and Rescue and the Red Deer Food Bank.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Westerner Parade and Pancake Breakfast

It's Westerner Week this week.

We had a great time at the parade today. Our float was extremely well-received by the attendees and Kathryn's decoration design looked great. Thanks to Kathryn, April and Carrie for their hard work in getting everything stuck to the boat and truck.

This Friday - July 23 - is our pancake breakfast fundraiser. The amazing team at London Drugs hosts five days of pancake breakfasts during Westerner Week with all the proceeds going to five local charities. You can get your breakfast of pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice for $3/person, until 11:00 am.

Watch for photos from the breakfast, next week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New look

Regular readers will notice that our blog is looking a bit different these days. We're hoping that this new template will be easier to read, and should also blend better with the look of our website.

There may be a few more changes or additions in the next few days, but I think that I've got the basic look down now. Feel free to share your opinion of the new style in the comments section.

The view from the deck

As Todd mentioned yesterday, the recent rains have raised the water level in the Gaetz Lakes considerably. Here are a few photos that I took today from the bird blind on the West Lake:

The boardwalk to the deck

Looking back towards the Nature Centre

West Gaetz Lake

And... our deck-munching porcupine has returned. It must be a tasty piece of wood, because the silly animal has quite a walk to make to get to it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Work, work, work...

Brief introduction!
Todd invited me to join in on all the blogging super fantasticness that goes on around here... careful what you wish for, my friend!

My name is Andrea, and I have had the pleasure of working for Waskasoo Environmental Education Society since November of 2008. Prior to that, I was at home with the kidlets (now 7 and 4... and a half!) and working part time for the City of Red Deer (which I continue to do in my, ahem, down time). My work keeps me busy here, and with a job title such as Executive Assistant/ Occupational Health and Safety/ Human Resources / Special Projects one could only guess as to why. From doing safety audits to interviewing potential staff to writing grants, updating the website and curating the Marjorie Wood Gallery, it's unlike any other job I've ever had... and I don't think I'd have it any other way.

Windy and Wet - Exercise Caution

If you've been in Central Alberta over the past three days or so, you've been experiencing massive rainfall and very high winds. This kind of sustained activity has created some potentially unstable situations both in the Sanctuary and in other natural spaces throughout the region.

We know of five trees that have fallen down, and a couple more that are potentially a hazard, within the Sancutary. There has also been some slumping of the bank on the east side of the Sanctuary; reported to us by some regular visitors. We have notified the City about these hazards. Their crews will come in and rectify the problems.

In the meantime, please exercise caution when walking through the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, and any other heavily-wooded areas of Waskasoo Park.

The positive of all this rain we've been having, is that the water levels in both of the Sanctuary lakes are up to levels we've not seen in five years. The new viewing blind is well and truly out over the lake, giving you up close and personal views of the waterfowl, muskrats, insects and other critters that make the lake their home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Identify Edible Mushrooms

The Friends of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre will be sponsoring a program on Edible Mushrooms found in the area. It will be hosted by mycologist, Mike McNaughton.
Date: Sunday, August 22
Place : Kerry Wood Nature Centre
Time: 1:30pm-3:00pm
Admission; Free, everyone welcome
Mike will make a power point presentation on mushrooms, have samples and have a question/answer session.

Attendees are welcome to bring their mushroom samples for Mike to identify.
For further information or books about mushrooms, contact Bob at the Nature Centre
Telephone 403 346 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Raft Tour Info

Hello everyone. We've been getting a lot of calls about raft tours and when they're going to start, so to get some more information out there and all of us on the same page, here is a post about it.

The river has been very high this year. With all of the rain, we've spent the last couple of weeks watching the water level go up and up and up. This has, in effect, put a delay on the start of our rafting season as we felt that there were some safety issues directly connected to the higher water levels.

Thankfully, the river seems to be falling (slowly, but maybe that's just my perception because I'm anxious to get going). We'll be watching the levels closely, and when we feel that the river is at a level where we could take a group out safely and enjoyably, the raft tours will begin. Watch for information in the papers, posters about town, or call the Nature Centre at 403-346-2010 to get the latest updates on raft tours.

Thank you for your patience as we wait out the last of the high water. Unfortunately with this kind of activity, Mother Nature gets the final say.

When we do start the tours, they will be running Thursday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $35+gst/members and $40+gst/non-members with 40 lbs being the minimum safe weight for kids. We can take a maximum of 12 people per tour. We will have a shuttle service available (meet beforehand and shuttle out to starting point) and a wiener roast follows every tour. Private tours on alternate days are also available. All raft tours are weather and river condition dependant: someone will call you before your tour if bad weather or poor river conditions are possibly threatening. Call the Nature Centre for more info or to book your spot.

Until next time...