Kerry Wood Nature Centre has received a complete revitalization of its permanent exhibit, blending information on both the past and future visions of the City.
The new exhibit, titled ‘Nature’s Living Story’, is the final piece in a series of centennial projects that were approved by City council in 2013. It recognized a need to modernize the facility with updated scientific information, more interpretive elements and to provide insight into the City’s environmental future.
Rondo Wood, a daughter of Kerry Wood, was present at the official unveiling. She said she was thrilled with the new exhibit, and eagerly explored the facility.
“The introduction of things that are a step beyond technology and innovation of the original exhibit from 1986 are great. What’s been added here are more modern, universal and interactive things that young people and old people will enjoy,” she said.
Todd Nivens of the Waskasoo Environmental Education Society (WEES) said the exhibit is a great accomplishment for both the Centre and the City.
“What people expect out of an environmental education facility has really changed. We can’t just be plants and animals anymore. Now we talk about environmental education, stewardship, sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and all of those things. All of those factors coming together with the new Interpretive Master Plan really meant that it was time for the old exhibit to go,” Nivens said.
He said the new exhibit is much more interactive than the old one and that it presents a broader spectrum of environmental information. He added the exhibit focuses on the City’s bio-region, the Aspen Parklands, as well as different elements of the City’s Environmental Master Plan.
“A lot of people don’t see what happens with that plan. The idea is that you can go through the exhibit and experience it on any level you want. You can leave with a bit more understanding of something specific you want to know about, or you can look at the broad spectrum of the entire exhibit and walk away with a little more knowledge in a few different aspects of the City.”
Mayor Tara Veer was excited to be a part of the exhibit opening and to recognize its significance to the City.
“The Waskasoo Parks design was originally envisioned for a population of 100,000 people. The Nature Centre has changed and expanded over the years in order to fulfill their mandate for environmental interpretation, and to respond to the needs of the community,” she said.
“We realized we needed to modernize the former exhibit at Kerry Wood Nature Centre. It’s highly fitting that as we enter into our next century of projects we focus on environmental interpretation. I’m very proud to be able to see this modern interpretation which really commemorates and honours our past. There is such a strong environmental legacy in Red Deer.”
Veer said the exhibit also creates awareness for Red Deerians towards the future of the City.
“When you look at this exhibit, it has a big focus on environmental sustainability and interpretation. This encourages kids and Red Deerians of all ages and stages of life in terms of our environmental commitment. It also positions us well for our tourism – it is a substantial enhancement to our park node. It’s another reason for people to choose to live here, and a predominant reason for people to visit the City,” Veer said.
The new permanent exhibit was opened to the public on Nov. 13th.