Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Myrna Pearman book signing

Backyard Bird Feeding-An Alberta Guide;
Book signing by author Myrna. Pearman
Sunday, December 20 at 3:30 to 4:30 pm
Kerry Wood Nature Centre.

Meet Myrna and have your copy of
Backyard Bird Feeding- signed by her.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Once again, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is taking part in Bower Place's Red & White Night charity shopping event this year. On the evening of November 22nd, the mall will only be open to people who have bought tickets to the event. It's a great way to do some Christmas shopping without fighting the crowds.

Charities receive a percentage of all the tickets they sell, so we ask that if you are interested in going, please pick up your tickets from us at the Nature Centre, or call 403-346-2010. Thanks in advance!

Friday, August 07, 2015

New Exhibit Update

As of today, our thirty year old permanent displays have been closed down and will be dismantled to prepare for the construction of new displays. The building itself, including the Bookstore, Theatre, and Discovery Room, will still be open, and of course the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is always available for quiet nature observation.

Our new displays are scheduled to open October 31st, 2015. Watch this space, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on construction progress!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Our summer team

Yes, that was our summer staff for Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Fort Normandeau that you may have seen taking pictures (and, um, doing performance art) around the park system today. Looks like a great team this year, and I think we're all raring to go...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Concern, Care, and Communication

Here at the Nature Centre we recognise that we are extremely fortunate to work adjacent to 300 acres of stunningly beautiful, natural habitat. We also recognise that the students at the local schools, and our neighbours in surrounding neighbourhoods share in this good fortune.

Imagine if you as a kid, had access to a place like the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary. There are cool, dark forests; wide-open, bright grasslands; and of course the two lakes. All of these habitats work together to provide food, shelter, and habitat for the plants and animals that share them. You would have access to a place that has the ability to be either peaceful and serene, or vibrant and dramatic. It is a place that is good for nature, good for the community, good for the soul.

We take our stewardship of the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary extremely seriously. We are charged with ensuring that the environments remain healthy, that the plants and animals are free to live their lives with minimal interference, and that the activities that take place in the Sanctuary are complementary to its well-being. We also strive to get as many people as possible outside and in nature.

We also want to ensure that as many people, of all ages, from all walks of life have the chance to enjoy the Sanctuary. We want people walking the trails. We want people using the viewing decks and the bird blind. We want people taking pictures, recording sounds, drawing and painting what they see, and immersing themselves in the experience of being in nature.

Over the past week one of our structures, the south viewing deck located behind Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive Highschool, was extensively vandalised. Beginning on Monday April 20, graffiti began to appear. We started photo-documenting the damage and posted the images to Facebook and Twitter; being very careful to not jump to conclusions about who may or may not be creating the damage. On Thursday morning April 23 we installed a motion-detecting, wildlife camera in a tree, overlooking the south viewing deck. At that time we again documented the existing graffiti.

On Friday, April 24 we took down the camera, documented the new graffiti that appeared while it was in place, and went back to the Nature Centre to look at the images. What we saw was a number of groups of teenagers, on the viewing deck, during school hours. These groups of people were the only people recorded on the deck during the period when new vandalism appeared. When we zoomed in on the images we saw scenes of people stashing things under the deck - we have since recovered a pipe used to smoke marijuana - and scenes of people using these items to smoke something, on the deck. Again, all during hours that school is in session.

On Monday of this week, we met with the LTCHS administration team to show them the images and try to work a solution to this problem. One of our larger concerns - and theirs - was that kids have been recorded breaking the law and then returning to class under the influence of an illicit substance. The Thurber team identified the people in the images as Thurber students, agreed that this was a serious issue, and that these actions, combined with the vandalism showed that the school wasn't being a good neighbour. Sadly the actions of a few kids were making 1700 students, their teachers, and the administration look really bad.

We left the meeting with assurances from the admin team that they would deal with the issue appropriately, have meeting with the students who were recorded on the deck, and set some ground rules for what students can and cannot do during school hours.

Please understand, this isn't about the Nature Centre staff trying to get people in trouble. We deliberately decided not to release the images we recorded, to the public. We don't want to shame people publicly, or have anybody take it upon themselves to deliver reprisals. This is about keeping the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary as a place where everybody can go to enjoy nature. Preschool children from our preschool and the two neighbouring preschools use the Sanctuary during school hours. Seniors walk the trails during the day. We want all our visitors to use the Sanctuary appropriately and not put other users in an comfortable, dangerous, or adversarial position.

We are not in a position to comment on the announcement from Thurber admin. We appreciate them taking the situation seriously and attempting to assist us in solving this issue. If you would like to help us, please talk to your kids, to your friends and family, and to us about how best to enjoy the natural jewel that sits in the heart of our community.

And if you have any sandpaper, give us a call. We have some clean-up work to do.

All the best
The Kerry Wood Nature Centre team

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Spring thoughts turning to gardening

Now that spring is struggling its way through again, like many of you we're thinking of gardens -- in this case, the Busby Legacy Gardens at the Allen Bungalow across the parking lot from the Nature Centre. Two years ago we started recreating gardens at the Bungalow, but we're still looking to add new plants and maintain what's there.

To help raise money for the Gardens we're once again selling leaves for $1. Come down to the Centre and purchase a leaf, and all money raised stays in our gardening fund.

If you'd be interested in sponsoring the Gardens by purchasing a plant or other garden items, contact Darlene at 403-346-2010 ext 120, or e-mail

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking out our back door

Here are a few quick shots from outside our back door on this fine afternoon. That latest snowfall is melting fast, and Imagination Grove is starting to look ready for some spring fun. See you there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An interesting visitor

This Varied Thrush was photographed by Anna Robertson at their home east of Red Deer. Jim says that there is a reported sighting south of their home/east of Innisfail as well.

Varied Thrushes are fairly early migrators, but they're rare visitors to our area. In Alberta they're more usually found in damp-ish conifer forest in the mountains.

If the body shape looks familiar, it's because our more usual Robin is also a thrush.

For more information, check out the Varied Thrush page at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It's a great site for loads of bird information.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Come have your say on our new exhibits

Some of you may already know that work has begun on the designs for our upcoming new permanent exhibits. Well, we now have a final draft and will be holding an open house preview on March 9, 2015 from 4:30 pm to 8 pm. It's your chance to come down, have a look at the drawings, and let us know what you think. Everyone's welcome!

Here's the City's press release for more information.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seen in the Sanctuary:

 I took advantage of the nice weather to get out on the Dr George Trail to see what's up at the moment. Some things were neat:

Deer trail through the trees
Moose trail on the bird blind. I wonder how ticked she was when she realised that it's a dead end.

 Some things, though, didn't make me as happy:

Human use of deer trail
Snowshoe tracks amongst the animal tracks on the West Lake
Boreal Chickadee obviously used to being hand-fed. Thanks to the visitor who's name I didn't get for assisting me with this picture!

We ask our visitors to please remember that there are rules in a wildlife sanctuary, and in a heavily-used urban sanctuary those rules become especially important. Enjoy your walk, but try to stay on the existing (human) trails rather than making your own.

Also, if you notice people feeding wildlife in the sanctuary, please let our staff know.