New visitors centre opens at Ellis Bird Farm

A new 3,500-square-foot building will make a world of difference at the Ellis Bird Farm.

A new 3,500-square-foot building will make a world of difference at the Ellis Bird Farm.

The official opening of the new visitors centre at the rural educational centre took place on Friday. The new facility offers a dedicated indoor space, something that Ellis Bird Farm manager and biologist Myrna Pearman said will greatly improve the programming they can offer.

“One of the problems we’ve always had is we’ve never had space to go to when the weather is poor,” said Pearman. “We’ve tried to host events and we’ve been limited by shelter.

“Now we have a nice big building we can host events and do our school programs in.”

With the help of about $450,000 in donations from MEGlobal and $200,000 in donations and in-kind contributions, the building took 12 weeks to get up.

Ken Wigmore, Lacombe County councillor, new visitor centre project manager and Ellis Bird Farm board chair, said that was pretty quick.

“It will give us more space to do our school programs and host different events,” said Wigmore, adding the long-term hope is the building can provide year-round uses for the bird farm. Currently the bird farm is open from the Victoria Day long weekend to Labour Day every summer.

A large number of Central Alberta businesses also contributed to the construction.

In appearance it is similar to a community hall, with a kitchen and large open area and smaller rooms. A counter to the right of the front door is where the future reception area will be, with a room behind the counter to be the home of the future gift shop.

About 1,200 school children attend various programming during the school year, and summer programs attract more visitors to the site.

Throughout the summer, the Ellis Bird Farm will offer numerous workshops, day camps and school programs. Most of the educational programs are done outside.

In the long term, the plan is to use the old visitors centre for workshops and smaller events and have the new building as the main visitors centre.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Pearman. “We can now take our time and develop it, develop our exhibits and decide how best we are going to use the space.”

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month