Dr. David Lawrie, a retired University of Alberta instructor, shows his collections of butterflies during the annual Bug Jamboree at the Ellis Bird Farm on Aug. 10th.                                Mark Weber/Black Press

Dr. David Lawrie, a retired University of Alberta instructor, shows his collections of butterflies during the annual Bug Jamboree at the Ellis Bird Farm on Aug. 10th. Mark Weber/Black Press

Family fun at the Ellis Bird Farm’s annual Bug Jamboree

It’s been a full summer of programming, events at the popular site

Cooler temperatures didn’t keep folks away from the fun-filled annual Bug Jamboree, hosted by Ellis Bird Farm on Aug. 10th.

The afternoon kicked off with a musical performance by John Acorn, the ‘Nature Nut’ and then an array of hands-on activities and educational opportunities hosted by a number of experts were available to explore.

“The annual Bug Jamboree is our family day here, where people can come and be inspired and become better informed about insects and spiders,” explained Biologist/Site Services Manager Myrna Pearman. “We have been hosting it now for 11 years and people come out every year – they just love it. It’s a way to meet with experts, and to learn about things you don’t get to see in another venue or facility,” she said. “It’s also a fun way to make some crafts and to just have a good, family day out at the Bird Farm.”

Pearman said the incredible thing about the Bug Jamboree is that it’s such an engaging, informative, hands-on, fun and family-oriented way for kids to get excited about nature.

“Our feedback is always positive. This year, even with the weather, we still have a couple of hundred people out now,” she said. “People just love it, and they look forward to it. They put it on their calendars. We have children who have been returning here every year since we started, and now they are grown up,” she added with a smile.

“It’s really one of our signature, wonderful events.”

Another highlight of the day was a renewed emphasis on Pearman’s latest book, Charlie, Winnie and the Bluebirds, which was released at the Farm’s opening day this past May.

“It’s a history of the Ellis family and of the Ellis Bird Farm,” said Pearman. “As I get closer to retirement, I realized that I’m going to have to be the one to tell the story because I have been here for 34 years,” she explained.

“I’m the only one who has known this whole place and organization since the time of Charlie and Winnie (Ellis).

“We knew very little about their family, but I was lucky enough to get some information and find some photos, so we talk about the history of their family and of the early years here at the Bird Farm,” she said, adding the book examines all the details of the site’s development from the very start.

Meanwhile, Pearman said this coming Saturday the Farm will host an evening where folks can explore the world of bats during Family Bat Night on Aug. 17th.

“It’s a wonderful evening. Cory Olson from the Alberta Community Bat Monitoring Program is going to be here. He’s going to have a bat detector and will be taking people out so they can actually hear the bats. We have a huge colony of little brown bats – one of the biggest in Alberta,” she said, adding there is also a colony of big brown bats onsite as well.

“So it’s a very important place right here for bat conservation,” she said.

“Many people have an irrational fear of bats, so we are trying, through our Family Bat Night, to encourage visitors to appreciate bats for not only how interesting they are but also for the important role they play in our ecosystem and the threats they are facing,” she said.

Ultimately, it’s been a full summer of programming, events and introducing guests to a site that richly reflects so much about the natural world.

The season for the Ellis Bird Farm wraps up on Sept. 2nd with special events scheduled for that day as well.

For more information, visit www.ellisbirdfarm.ca.


@mweberRDExpress
editor@stettlerindependent.com.com

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