Nature Central teamed up with Nature Alberta and the Kerry Wood Nature Center for a Family Nature Night on Tuesday, August 10 in Red Deer. This joint event was suggested by Nature Alberta stemming from their plan to showcase a regional Migratory Bird Sanctuary for an upcoming edition of their magazine. Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary in Red Deer was chosen and the event was tailored toward children from the ages of 5-12 but all ages were welcomed to participate. There was an excellent turnout of 15 families for a total of 52 participants.
Everyone enjoyed a beautiful calm evening in the outdoors while learning about nature in the Sanctuary from 6:30 - 8:30 PM.
Participants were divided into four groups (chickadees, nuthatches, pileated woodpeckers and ruddy ducks), with each group participating in three different activities.
Participants took part in a 40-minute guided nature walk around the sanctuary led by KWNC staff, Kathryn and Alice. Families explored the different habitat types (Birds in Ecosystems Scavenger Hunt) and learned what kind of birds are found in each area.
Abigail, Nature Alberta's Assistant Network Coordinator, travelled from Edmonton to lead groups in a 20-minute window decal craft. She also brought numerous resources to give away including copies of "The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Alberta," "Protecting Birds of Alberta" as well as booklets and bookmarks.
Shaye, Nature Central's Naturalist in Residence, presented a 20-minute engaging talk about raptors, with a focus on owls. Participants enjoyed a birds-eye view of an assortment of taxidermy, feathers, eggs and claws.
At the end of the evening, everyone gathered together for door prizes which included (a) Swiss Alps Bee House (b) Backpack & water bottle, both donated by Nature AB and (c) "Wild About Bees" booklets with packages of native pollinator garden seeds. These were contributed by Nature Central through a donation from Lacombe County.
Participants expressed their thanks and appreciation for a fun and well-organized event; some even asked when the next Family Nature Night event will be!
We all love nature, want to share knowledge and expertise, by bringing nature and families together!