Ellis Bird Farm, one of central Alberta’s best kept natural secret, opened their 2019 season and 37th year with the introduction of the books Charlie, Winnie and the Bluebirds, which is a history of the farm written by long-time Site Manager Myrna Pearman.
“It is a very exciting day,” Pearman said. “We have the launch of our new Charlie, Winnie and the Bluebirds book, which is about the history of Ellis Bird Farm; we have the opening of our new observation tower; and then we have the opening of the Fred Schutz Library, which is a memorial library to one of our founding board members.”
Pearman’s book is the culmination of her time at the Farm, along with a close personal friendship with Charlie and Winnie Ellis, who founded the farm and were lifetime supporters of the central Albertan natural environment.
“It is finally finished and it is a way to document the history of this place before I retire and move on,” Pearman said. “Charlie and Winnie were very close personal friends and I think that Ellis Bird Farm is an incredible place and an incredible organization. I have devoted my entire career and I am very proud of what we have accomplished through research, conservation and education over the years.
“I am lucky that I have been able to live my passion.”
The book was originally intended to come out in 2016, but took some extra time to ensure that it captured Ellis Bird Farm just right.
“I am very happy that it is finished, Pearman said. “It was a very big effort and it was a tough job with all the details, names and historical facts.”
Pearman’s book isn’t the only new feature at Ellis Bird Farm in 2019.
“We have lots of changes on the site,” she said. “We have a new water garden; we have the new tower; we have many of the same events; we have even more events; we have lots of educational programs; we have great activities for children; we are open some evenings; and we have new cafe operators opening today and they will have specials once a month in the evening.
“It is going to be very exciting.”
The busy 2019 season helps keep the vision of the Ellis’ going.
“This was founded on the vision of Charlie and Winnie Ellis and since then, we have had various volunteer board members who give up their time and talents to ensure the organization runs efficiently and transparently — they do lots of amazing work.
“We have had a lot of amazing staff — gardeners, researchers, and educators. We have had a small but very dedicated, smart team. They are people who have done amazing things on a very limited budget.”
The publication of her book does not mean Pearman is retiring just yet.
“I am not sure when my end date is going to be here,” she said. “I am going to be looking at savouring this summer because the stress of the book will be done and our major site development for the year is done.
I just want to enjoy the visitors, the birds and I want to enjoy my real passion which has always been wildlife photography.”
When she does ultimately decided to retire, Pearman is confident Ellis Bird Farm will continue to be a treasure in central Alberta.
“We have wonderful staff and they return year after year. I have no doubt that the wonderful legacy of Charlie and Winnie will continue in capable hands,” she said.
She added, “We appreciate your support and we hope lots of people turn out.”