OUR Alberta 2018 | Page 69

region |edmonton & area Did You Know? » » In 2018, Alberta’s northern parks became the world’s largest contiguous protected boreal forest. » » More than 100 generations of bison have flourished at Elk Island National Park since they were first brought there from Montana in 1907. » » In 1999, Lois Hole became only the second woman in Alberta’s history to serve as Lieutenant Governor. She excelled in that role. » » Eight geocaches have been hidden around Elk Island National Park. Locate all eight, crack the code and receive a collector coin! JOHN JANZEN NATURE CENTRE Explore nature in an urban setting! In the heart of Edmonton’s river valley, the John Janzen Nature Centre helps foster an important idea: you’re never too young to become a steward of the environment. It was a project of the late John Janzen, who studied agriculture before joining Edmonton’s Parks and Recreation Department, where he played a key role in protecting the river valley lands from developers. Since it opened in 1976, Canada’s oldest municipally operated nature centre has provided public education designed to develop a love of and appreciation for nature. Join them for hands-on programs and workshops designed for ages ranging from preschool to adult. Investigate local wildlife, walk the trails, learn through play and so much more. Open year- round. Check the website for hours, admission, and memberships. 7000-143 St., 780-442-5311. edmonton.ca LOIS HOLE PROVINCIAL CENTENNIAL PARK Named in hour of Alberta’s 15th Lieutenant Governor, Lois E. Hole, this hidden-gem of a park preserves Big Lake, a freshwater wetland ecosystem, globally recognized as one of Alberta’s most important bird habitat areas. More than 230 species have been sighted there, and thousands of nesting and migrating waterfowl and shorebirds rely on the protected area, which includes small stands of deciduous and coniferous wetlands. Ducks Unlimited Canada has even constructed interpretive boardwalks on the eastern shore, which includes a viewing platform at the mouth of the Sturgeon River. Its easy accessibility makes it a favourite spot for families with bikes and strollers — and for photographers chasing the perfect sunset. Best of all, this 1800 hectares of conservation inspiration is only minutes away from downtown St. Albert, west of Ray Gibbons Drive. 780-960-8170. albertaparks.ca 69