Submitted by Alana Tollenaar
Community Engagement Intern, Edmonton and Area Land Trust
On Saturday, August 24, Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) hosted the Pipestone Creek Grouse Walk. This was a guided nature tour hosted in partnership with the Battle River Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards.
The event was held at the Pipestone Creek Conservation Lands, which is a short 10-minute drive east of Wetaskiwin.
The morning tour welcomed 31 tour guests, while the afternoon had a more up close and personal walk with 13 participants. Minister of Indigenous Relations and MLA for Maskwacîs-Wetaskiwin, Rick Wilson, also attended the event. EALT would like to thank dedicated volunteer and Wetaskiwin County resident, Susan Kokas, for her work in making this event a success.
Guests started the morning with a smudge and prayer from a local Elder, and then had the opportunity to explore the 104-acre natural area on a 90-minute walking tour of the lands. The tour focused on grouse, their habitat, and their place within the Pipestone Creek conservation area. Afternoon participants were fortunate enough to see lots of wildlife, including a Long-eared Owl, a Swainson’s Hawk, and a Merlin catching a dragonfly in midair.
“It was great to connect with Wetaskiwin area residents about nature, conservation lands, and, of course, grouse!” said EALT intern Alana Tollenaar.
She says that there are 5 species of grouse found in Alberta, and that many of these species’ populations aren’t doing as well as they once were in the Battle River Region. Protecting areas like the Pipestone Creek Conservation Lands is one way to protect vulnerable wildlife species.
This event was one of a series of events put on throughout 2019 by the Battle River Arts group to celebrate the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards. The official awards ceremony and capstone event of the series is happening on September 21, and will be held in Maskwacîs. Find tickets at www.battleriverarts.ca.
The Edmonton and Area Land Trust is a registered charity dedicated to preserving vital natural areas in the Edmonton region. The organization have secured over 2000 acres of land since their establishment in 2008. For more information about the Land Trust, visit their website at www.ealt.ca.