Nature Central held a CELEBRATION & UPDATE event on July 1, at the beautiful Mary & Cliff Soper Natural Area, just east of Blackfalds. The event celebrated accomplishments to date & an update was given to RDRN members, partners & stakeholders, by announcing a summer line-up of family friendly programs.
Sopers donated the 25 acre property to Lacombe County about 4 years ago. Local volunteers have since created a stewardship group called the "GreenSpaces Preservation Society", to help preserve this serene place so close to town.
Nature Central was initiated in joint partnership by the Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) & Nature AB. It was launched May 1, 2021.
Shaye Hill, Naturalist in Residence & Sherry Scheunert, Assistant Naturalist, were hired to develop a variety of non-consumptive, citizen science programs, which encourage people of all ages to get out & enjoy wild protected areas.
Shaye & Sherry have visited 60 natural areas/conservation sites within 100 kms of Red Deer so far. They highlight the special places they've explored, and acknowledge the organizations that partner to protect & manage them.
e.g. Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited, Fish & Game Association, AB Environment & Parks.
Site locations, & descriptions are all listed online:
The Naturalists are half way through their contract and anticipate exploring many more areas throughout July & August, so stay tuned. A summer newsletter will be coming out soon too.
This Intergenerational event was by invitation only, however the Soper Natural Area is always open for the public to enjoy. Dogs must be kept on leash.
Property stakeholders, funders (including EcoCanada), RDRN members & NATURE AB board members, were all invited. Mandy Couve from Rocky Mt House attended on behalf of the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA).
25 adults and 8 children attended - ages 1 to 80+.
Everyone enjoyed mid-mirning nature walks in the forest's shade; this natural area has never been logged & it provides endless educational & wellness opportunities. Cliff Soper shared the history of the property and his wish to see it preserved forever.
Following guided walks, led by Myrna Pearman & Shaye Hill, cold beverages & a special carrot cake, baked & decorated by the Lacombe CoOp Bakery, was served.