‘A natural naturalist’ Red Deer Advocate columnist Myrna Pearman launches collection of stories and photo essays

A naturalist by nature, Myrna Pearman has brought her passion to readers throughout Central Alberta since 2010.

And on Sunday, she had some time in the spotlight with the release of her new book Beauty Everywhere: Nature Photo Essays. The book, a collection of columns she authored that appeared in the Red Deer Advocate over the past six years.

She had a book signing and event at Kerry Wood Nature Centre Sunday afternoon.

Pearman learned early in her life that her passion was in nature. Part of that passion can be traced back to her early time spent with Fred Schutz. Schutz, a nature columnist in his own right, would come out to the farm Pearman grew up on to watch the swans come in every spring.

“By this time Fred was probably in his early 40s and had seen swans every spring for 25 years, but the Pearman kids would phone him and the swans arrived in the field to the east and he would come over and we’d all go out to see the swans,” said Pearman. “It meant a lot to me that he would share that with us.

“He was my mentor and instilled in me a love of nature.”

Schutz, to whom the book is dedicated, recalled a time when Pearman was six and the two installed bluebird boxes together.

“She and I went out into the field and nailed them up to the fence,” said Schutz, who served a term as president of the Red Der River Naturalists and wrote columns for the Rimbey Record, Eckville Examiner, Sylvan Lake News and Rockey Mountain House Mountaineer.

“She gives me too much credit some times.”

After graduating from university with a degree in geography, she started working at the Ellis Bird Farm, where she still works at what she calls her passion.

“I’ve lived my passion,” she said. “There aren’t many people who can say they’ve lived their passion and I’ve been very blessed.”

The column came out of conversation with her friend and a former Advocate editor Rick Zemanek. After some consultation with other staff at the paper, the column started and has run monthly ever since.

Though she is proud of all the columns she has authored, she pointed to a specific story of watching ducklings jump out of a bird box for the first time.

“I waited for over three hours and finally they jumped,” said Pearman about the nest of buffleheads. “It was an amazing thing to see.”

Pearman said she was grateful for the opportunity the Advocate gave her to publish her work.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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