Bird observatory offers winter programs

Christmas bird count likely

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

The lobby to reopen the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation in the winter is ongoing. In the meantime, the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory, which usually provides programming in and around the centre, is offering online and outdoor programs.

Programming will include the annual Christmas bird count, although details aren’t available yet.

“We’ve got really good support,” says Patti Campsall, LSLBO executive director.

LSLBO’s office is in the Boreal Centre in the Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. A provincial decision a few months ago means that for the winter the centre is an office building only, closed to the public. The M.D. of Lesser Slave River and Town of Slave Lake councils, the local forestry companies and others are lobbying to change this decision.

However, since birds and nature are outside, LSLBO is making due without letting the public into the centre for now.

Since March, LSLBO and its education partners have been working on ways to revamp its material to meet COVID-19 regulations, says Campsall. In the winter, the big push is school field trips, but COVID-19 and the Boreal Centre not being open to visitors makes this hard.

LSLBO is “finding a way to get back to them again,” says Campsall.

LSLBO recently announced a list of revamped winter virtual or school ground field trips.

“Local Grade 1s are booked,” says Campsall.

LSLBO is also starting a Boreal Forest Nature Club for at-home learners and homeschoolers. Family groups can meet the LSLBO teacher in the forest and learn about birds.

Many LSLBO classes are done with the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society or other partners.

LSLBO is also partnering with the Town of Slave Lake to offer a family snow-shoe experience in December. Registration is the town’s website.

The Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park grooms the trails in the park for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. LSLBO has snow shoes and cross-country skis, which are usually available to the public on weekends at the Boreal Centre.

LSLBO is trying to figure out a way to make the skis and snow shoes available this year as well, says Campsall.

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