The Nature Conservancy of Canada is looking for volunteers to help make this central Alberta area wildlife friendly. Photo courtesy Brent Calver

Volunteers in central Alberta to help wildlife conservation

Central Albertans will give wildlife a higher chance of survival and protect the animals from urban sprawl this Saturday.

On the northwestern shore of Gough Lake, lies 1,467 acres of grasslands, forests and wetlands. These diverse conditions attract a wide range of species, including prairie loggerhead shrike, western tiger salamander and porcupine.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is looking for volunteers to remove barbed wire fencing on the property east of Red Deer, to prevent wildlife from getting stuck or getting hurt.

More than 35 volunteers will work together on the property located about 20 kilometres of Big Valley.

The agency is looking for more volunteers to help from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Ferrier property was privately owned before it was donated to the conservancy in 2017. Now, the agency wants to help conserve the wildlife that lives in the nearby forest and the native grassland and wetlands.

Hannah Schaepsmeyer, conservation volunteer program manager for the conservancy’s Alberta region, said the previous owners had fencing up to permit cattle grazing, and now that the group owns the property, it wants to make the area wildlife friendly.

The hope is volunteers will take down about two kilometres of fence. Depending on how much work gets done, the conservancy may host another event in the future to continue to make the space wildlife friendly.

Schaepsmeyer said elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer are seen in the area, and so are species of birds.

“Often times, animals would get stuck in the fence line and unable to get out, and sometimes, it injures them.

“And sometimes, the younger animals can’t go over the fence and it separates the mom and the younger animals, so taking out the fence allows for open area for animals to pass through,” she said.

“Also, on occasion, birds have been known to get stuck in the fences, just because sometimes, when they fly low, they can’t see the fence, and they can get tangled up.”

She said the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s conservation volunteer program engages Canadians of all ages in the protection of Canada’s species and natural habitats.

Those who volunteer will receive tools, equipment, lunch, beverages and snacks for the day, as well as a ride to the property.

The agency has hosted similar events in the past in the region, but is providing a bus service for the first time.

To sign up for this event, or to find other outings, visit or call Hannah Schaepsmeyer at 403-993-7695.

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada is looking for volunteers to help make this central Alberta area wildlife friendly. Photo courtesy Brent Calver

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