by Brian Vossen
MEGlobal has helped to make the vision of Ellis Bird Farm a reality.
The company announced it would be doubling its initial $225,000 pledge to $450,000 for construction of a new visitors’ centre, during a ceremony at Ellis Bird Farm (EBF) Aug. 11.
Rocco Schurink, vice-president of operations at MEGlobal, said that, as EBF’s chief supporter, MEGlobal felt they had some responsibility to help make the new visitor centre a reality.
“Part of being a responsible care company is actually to return value to the Ellis Bird Farm community,” said Schurink. He added the farm was the first initiative MEGlobal supported when it started at the Prentiss site and so it holds a special significance.
“It is very important for us to continue to support the bird farm and strengthen its future as well,” said Schurink.
In addition, he said it is clear, just by looking, that Ellis Bird Farm is an important facility to keep around.
From the hard work and passion that the board, EBF team and everyone else involved with Ellis Bird Farm puts into the place, it is obvious that it is a worthwhile initiative to invest in, he stated.
Schurink added there is clearly a need for it as 12,000 visitors take advantage of Ellis Bird Farm’s displays, programming and information each year. There is a need for nature conservancies such as this in Central Alberta.
Ken Wigmore, chair of Ellis Bird Farm board, said that with a few other smaller donations, they now have the full amount needed to begin the project. He added that MEGlobal has helped Ellis Bird Farm move closer to a goal that was set a long time ago, before he even got involved with the board three years ago.
“We have been working with this for quite a length of time,” said Wigmore. Now that finances are in place, there is a long road and a lot of work still ahead for Ellis Bird Farm to construct the visitor information centre it has been working towards for such a long time.
Initial drawings of the centre were graciously donated by George Berry of Berry Architecture & Associates.
The next steps are to get blueprints drawn up, find contractors and get shovels in the ground. Wigmore said he personally would like to see the project, or at least those steps of it, completed by next April.
The centre will house more washrooms, offices, a staff room, a gift store and enough room to seat 100 people, said Wigmore.
All these facilities are needed to improve Ellis Bird Farm’s utilization as it is lacking any kind of indoor facilities making it difficult to operate on rainy days or during other inclement weather.
“We want the place busy.”
Wigmore added that he hopes this project will lead to further expansion of Ellis Bird Farm, something he personally supports.
“I think this is an essential step for the future of Ellis Bird Farm to attract even more people to this beautiful site.”