This summer children six and up are welcome to attend the Boreal Discovery Centre summer programming. The programming has an educational focus on the boreal forest, says Keith MacDonald, chairperson for the centre. “We talk about birch bark, we build a teepee, and we talk about herbal medicines, like teas and how to prepare that, as well as other plant life that we can use for food. It’s all based on the cultural aboriginal way of life.”
The sessions are being held from Wednesday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. MacDonald says the cost of the sessions are $5 a day, or for all weekdays it’s $10, and the programming runs until Aug. 21.
Last year was the first year of holding these workshops, and the turnout was great, noted MacDonald. “We had some good turnouts, a lot of children came last year. We had about 15-20 people every day. We even have some people repeat, so this is why we’re doing it again.” MacDonald says they’re trying to teach children important information that they might not learn in school, in a fun and inclusive environment.
Along with the cultural workshops the centre has a petting zoo, which is open on Saturday and Sundays. The petting zoo includes rabbits, and MacDonald says they try to incorporate some information about the animal as well. Children have the chance to pet and feed the domestic bunnies.
There’s also a sturgeon presentation and viewing area. “We have about 10 baby sturgeon there, and we take on in the spring. We mature them in our tanks, and release them back into the wild in the fall. We have a whole Power Point presentation on that showing the biggest one ever caught; I think it was 400 pounds, in 1903. We talk about how they spawn, since it’s not every year, and that they’re a protected species,” explained MacDonald.
The community gardens have opened, but are full to capacity. Gardeners are welcome to work on their areas from Wednesday to Sunday.
MacDonald says workshops will continue and only grow following the development of the Boreal Discovery Centre. The centre will be holding a gala night on September 18 to raise money for the building. Chris Smith from Ducks Unlimited will be the guest speaker.