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Central Alberta

Coldest Night of the Year looking for your help to raise $100,000.00!

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Support The Mustard Seed and Red Deer Food Bank in CNOY 2024

The Coldest Night of the Year is a winterrific family-friendly walk in support of local charities serving people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. Join us on February 24, 2024 – team up, fundraise, walk, and take a moment to look closer… because it’s cold out there.

The goal in Central Alberta is to raise $100,000.00 for the Red Deer Food Bank and the Mustard Seed Red Deer. 

About Red Deer Food Bank

Many think that the food donated to the food bank only goes into food hampers. It is true the Red Deer Food Bank, with your help, assisted over 19,000 people in 2019. Approximately 40% of them were children.

With that being said, the food bank also provides food to other agencies right here in Red Deer. Agencies such as the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, The Mustard Seed, Potter’s Hands, Women’s Outreach, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and kids camps.

The Red Deer Food Bank also supplies food to other food banks in Central Alberta such as: Blackfalds, Coronation, Caroline, Delburne, Ermineskin, Maskwacis, Innisfail, Lacombe, Mirror, Olds, Ponoka, Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, Sylvan Lake, Stettler, Three Hills and Trochu.

The Red Deer Food Bank covers an area of 20,000 square kilometres in Central Alberta.

The bread, produce and pastries that our driver/gleaner picks up each day from grocery stores are available daily. People in need can access the product Monday through Friday in our Client Service Area.

The access to these products helps supplement our clients’ grocery expenses. Coming in for bread and potatoes can save them extra funds for fresh milk and other food items they may need for their family.

Without the generosity of our community the Red Deer Food Bank Society would not exist. Many factors play a part but it is the generosity of people that is the heart of our organization.

About The Mustard Seed Red Deer

The Mustard Seed and the Red Deer Food Bank are partnering for our 40th birthdays this year for CNOY 2024 – walk with us as we raise funds to fight hunger and homelessness in our communities!

The Mustard Seed is a Christian non-profit organization that has been caring for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty since 1984. Operating in six cities across Alberta and British Columbia, The Mustard Seed is a supportive haven where people can have their physical, mental, and spiritual needs met and grow toward greater health and independence.

At The Mustard Seed, we recognize that the root causes of poverty and homelessness are complex and diverse, so we continue to grow and evolve with the needs of those we serve.

Coldest Night of the Year is an incredibly valuable way for the community of Red Deer to partner with us to experience a small part of what our guests endure.  We would love to have you, your family, and your friends walk alongside The Mustard Seed and the Red Deer Food Bank at this incredibly important event.

Event Day Details

Save the date – CNOY Day is February 24, 2024!

It all starts here: GOOGLE MAP

6002 54 Ave, Red Deer, AB T4N 4M8

Red Deer Community Impact Centre

Schedule

  •  4:00 pm: Meet Check-in + Welcome
  •  5:00 pm: Move Send-off
  •  6:00 pm: Munch Light meal served
  •  7:00 pm: Mosey Goodbye + see you in 2025!

Not able to join us in person at the Main Event? We hope you’ll register, fundraise and walk offsite with friends and family.

Route Details

  •  Route Distances: Check out the maps below to see where we will be walking.
  •  Rest stop: Keep an eye out for opportunities to rest and refresh with yummy snacks along the route.
  •  Signage: Routes will be well-signed with our bold blue CNOY signs.
  •  Route Support: Route marshals, rest stop hosts, and support vehicle drivers provide support along the route.
  •  Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
  •  No Pets: We love our little furballs like you do, but pets are not permitted at the Coldest Night of the Year except for approved and trained service animals. Read more about our pet policy >

Check-In

  •  All walkers participating at the Main Event on Saturday, February 24, 2024 must check-in upon arrival.
  •  Toques! Fundraising walkers who raise $150+ (or $75+ for those under 18) will receive a CNOY toque as a thank you on event day, while supplies last.
  •  Offsite fundraising walkers can contact their local event director to arrange toque pickup the week of the event.

Have questions? Visit the FAQ section!

Handling Money

  •  Credit Card: The Best Option! Simple, secure, automatically tax receipted for gifts of $20+. Visit the Donate page, share your personal page link, or have your donor call the CNOY Head Office.
  •  Cheques: The Old Faithful – made out to Coldest Night of the Year with your name on the Memo line. Mail them to CNOY Head Office along with your completed pledge form.
  •  Cash: You have 2 options:
  •  1. Login to FundHub, click “Enter $$ and Cheques,” create pledges for your cash donations, pay them off with your personal credit card, and keep the cash. OR…
  •  2. Write a cheque (made out to “Coldest Night of the Year”) for the total amount of cash you’ve collected. Mail it to the CNOY Head Office with your completed pledge sheet.

Waivers

All participants must register online and accept the electronic waiver.

  •  Adults accept the waiver automatically when they register online.
  •  Youth/Children under 18 need a waiver signed by their parent or guardian.
  •  An online form will be emailed to all parents/guardians before CNOY Day.
  •  Waivers will also be available at check-in on CNOY Day.

What to Bring

A few common sense suggestions:

  •  A cell phone for emergencies (recommended but not required)
  •  Good waterproof shoes/boots for walking
  •  Warm coat and mitts/gloves
  •  Extra snacks if you have allergies or food sensitivities
  •  Your own water bottle
  •  A passion for the charity you’re walking and fundraising for!

Red Deer Maps

Check out this year’s CNOY route maps below:

Contact Us


CNOY Red Deer 2024

The CNOY Team Participant & Donor Services
Toll Free 1.877.743.3413 / Phone 519.603.2250
Email [email protected]

Got questions about the Coldest Night of the Year?
[email protected] | 1.877.743.3413

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Blackfalds

Blackfalds Bulldogs Jr A Hockey Club announces finalized agreement to join the BC Hockey League effective immediately

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News release from the Blackfalds Bulldogs

The Blackfalds Bulldogs have announced a finalized franchise agreement with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and are official members of the league, effective immediately. 

Prior to this agreement, the Blackfalds Bulldogs had agreed to terms on a framework of what joining the BCHL would look like. 

Along with the Blackfalds Bulldogs, the Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints will also join the BCHL starting this season. 

“The Blackfalds Bulldogs are thrilled to express our excitement to be joining the BCHL. The BCHL’s dedication and efforts in expediting this process in light of the AJHL decisions have not gone unnoticed and we are sincerely grateful for the commitment they have shown to ensure all our players have the opportunity to complete this season with competitive hockey. This swift transition in light of the AJHL’s decisions is a testament to the BCHL’s professionalism and passion for the sport. We eagerly anticipate the journey ahead and look forward to contributing our Bulldog Best to the vibrant hockey community that the BCHL represents,” said Doug Quinn, Owner of the Blackfalds Bulldogs Jr A Hockey Club.  

“We are pleased to officially welcome these five franchises into the fold as members of our league,” said Graham Fraser, Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors. “All five are strong organizations from great communities and we look forward to the immediate boost they will give our league.” 

Due to the Alberta Junior Hockey League cancelling league games for the 2023-24 regular season, the five teams will engage in competition with each other as BCHL teams for the remainder of the season and will eventually crown an Alberta champion. Following the conclusion of the BCHL Playoffs, there will be an opportunity for the champion from Alberta to meet the champion from B.C. in a year-end competition. 

“With the unfortunate situation the Alberta teams have faced in recent weeks with having games cancelled in their previous league, it was imperative to us to get these players back on the ice in meaningful competition,” said BCHL Commissioner Steven Cocker. “This five-team schedule and postseason will give these athletes the chance to get in a full set of games for the remainder of the year, which is the most important thing to us.” 

The schedule for the Alberta teams starts tomorrow and can be viewed here.

Details for the post-season competition will be announced at a later date. 

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this decision, visit our FAQ page here.

About the BCHL: 

Sending more players on to Division I college hockey every season than any other hockey league in Canada, the BCHL has established itself as a national leader in the development of young student athletes. Considering approximately a third of today’s NHL is made up of NCAA alumni, the BCHL has become a breeding ground for some the sport’s most elite and successful players. In 2022-23 alone, there were a league-record 190 players in the league with NCAA Division I scholarships. The BCHL is also a leader in player safety, with a full-time Department of Player Safety, the toughest rules on fighting in North American junior hockey, as well as a league-wide independent Safe Sport Officer and an individual Athlete Advocate assigned to all 17 teams.  

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Central Alberta

Red Deer River Naturalists invite you to AGM on January 25

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From the Red Deer River Naturalists

Annual General Meeting – January 25

6:30 to 7:00 General Meeting

7:00 to 7:45 Wine and Cheese

7:45 to 8:45 Lorne Fitch Presentation

Lorne Fitch is a professional biologist, a retired provincial fish and wildlife scientist and a former adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. He is also the co-founder of a very successful riparian stewardship initiative called Cows and Fish. He has been widely recognized for his conservation efforts.


BOARD NOTES: Rick Tallas, President

• Wow 2024 has arrived, as the days slowly get longer, I am looking forward to RDRN continuing to offer our programs. They include our monthly meetings featuring excellent speakers, our Focus Groups (Bird, Flower), Central Alberta Birding Trails, Red Deer Birding Trails, Nature Central, Habitat Steward, Christmas and May Species counts, our scholarship program and our grant program.

• Please view our outstanding websites: www.rdrn.ca, www.birdingtrailsalberta.com and www.naturecentral.org. Also join our RDRN social media: Facebook, Instagram and X.

• We thank Judy Boyd again for her many years of coordinating our May Species Count and Christmas Bird Counts. We welcome Shelley-Anne and John Goulet as our new bird count coordinators!

• I look forward to the Adopt-a-Stream program being officially announced, in conjunction with the City of Red Deer and Kerry Wood Nature Centre.

• I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to our volunteers and all of our members who support us through membership renewals, donations and by attending our monthly meetings.

• A big shout out to our Board of Directors.

• Please email us if you are interested in volunteering or joining the board. (rdrn.nature @gmail.com)

• Happy 2024 to everyone!


DID YOU KNOW By Susan van der Hoek

A group of gulls is called a squabble, colony or flock. There is no specific bird called a seagull and it is interesting that we call them thus in landlocked Alberta. Gulls are a diverse family of birds with different habitats, ranges and colour patterns. There are ten species of gulls and terns in Alberta. Gulls have hooked beaks and terns beaks are straight. Terns have webbed feet.

Left, from top: Herring Gull (left), Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Franklin’s Gull; Right, from top: Bonaparte’s Gull, Black Tern, Forster’s Tern, Common Tern

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)—occupies farmland, bays, beaches, lakes, piers and landfills.

Ring-Billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)—occupies inland locations, piers, large bodies of water, landfills, adapted to human-disturbed areas, common in cities and parking lots.

California Gull (Larus californicus)—occupies lakes, cities, farms, plowed fields, follows farming equipment.

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)—occupies fields, prairies, flooded pastures, marshes, lakes and follows farming equipment.

Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)—occupies bays, lakes, rivers, sloughs and sewage lagoons.

Short-billed Gull (Larus brachyrhynchus)—occupies shoreline of lakes and rivers, wet fields, pastures, landfills and sewage lagoons.

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)—occupies wetlands with extensive vegetation and open water, river edges, lakes, marshes, sewage lagoons and beaches.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)—occupies aquatic habitats, lakes, bays and beaches.

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)—Occupies lakes, marshes and wetlands.

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) Occupies rivers and lakes.


In The Alberta Wilderness! By Don Auten

The cougar population in Alberta has been increasing for the last few years. Although they are most common in the boreal forest in western and northern Alberta, they have been expanding their range and are now found across the province. They are adapting well to living near people and that results in more human/cougar contacts.

Because of this increasing contact, it is important to understand how humans and cougars can successfully co-exist. In Alberta, to learn more about cougar ranges and behaviors, a cougar study has been ongoing for several years. About 100 cougars have been captured and equipped with GPS collars and their activities are being remotely monitored.

This trail cam photo is the first of three collared cougars I have captured over the last few years. I shared this photo and time/location with the Biologist who is involved in this study and from her data she was able to determine that this is Cougar #99. This female had two kittens when they collared her, and they were able to collar one of the kittens as well. Reviewing her data, she could also see that the collared kitten was with the female at this location.

My camera also caught a photo of a kitten without a collar, so the biologist knew that the cougar family was still intact and doing well.


AGM with a Flair!

We look forward to hosting a large crowd at our January 25th meeting. The AGM will start at 6:30 PM and be over by 7:00 PM. We encourage members to attend the AGM, but will also welcome everyone at 7:00 PM for a wine and cheese reception for Lorne Fitch. Lorne will sign books and give a short presentation. His presentation will be followed by a Q and A session as well as more refreshments! We hope to see you there!


Christmas Bird Count 2023 Summary: From The Red Deer Advocate: December 29, 2023 (by Lana Michelin)

Geese a plenty were found in this year’s Christmas Bird Count. With warm temperatures and open water available all around central Alberta, some 1,557 Canada geese were counted in the region this month. This falls just short of the record number of geese counted in December of 2017 — some 1,971.
But it’s a huge difference from the zero geese spotted in the -30 C weather during last December’s bird count.

Count organizer Judy Boyd, of the Red Deer River Naturalists, believes the unusually mild conditions so far this winter mean there was no real reason for geese to fly south. Migration takes a heavy toll on them, she added. “They have to stop to feed, to fatten up, and then keep going. Think of how far some birds have to fly — to the Gulf of Mexico.” In between, they must navigate many hazards, including hunters and predators, greater exposure to avian flu, and large cities with misleading artificial lights and tall glass buildings.

Boyd said a Toronto group goes around collecting the thousands of carcasses of birds killed flying into skyscrapers. Given these odds, staying put where there’s enough food and water makes sense, she added.

Another oddity in this year’s bird count — which was conducted by about 85 central Alberta volunteers on Dec. 25 — was the early return of some horned larks. Boyd said they are supposed to arrive in this area in January, but some have come a month early. She isn’t sure whether the mild weather also played into this unusual behavior.

As well, the lack of giant flocks of redpolls, bohemian waxwings, and snow buntings were noticed. Usually several hundreds of these birds can be seen flying together in the winter months, said Boyd.
But during this year’s bird count, some flocks spotted were as small as 25 to 35 birds. She feels this might just be an incidental observation on that particular day, since she’s seen some larger flocks earlier in the season. However, ornithologists have recorded changes to some bird populations over the last few decades. Boyd read that many California juncos have stopped migrating out of that State and are instead nesting there, while barn swallows are inexplicably sticking around in Argentina. “Maybe it’s climate change, I don’t know…”’

While no completely out-of-province birds were seen during this month’s bird count, Boyd knows a few were reported earlier this season. A Harris’s Sparrow was seen in central Alberta, even though it’s supposed to nest in the Northwest Territories and head to the central U.S. for the winter. A killdeer was spotted at Riverbend — although this bird was supposed to now be in the southern U.S. and Gulf area. And an out-of-season American Kestrel was also seen.

But perhaps the strangest report was of a Eurasian eagle owl at someone’s bird feeder. Boyd said she has no clue how this exotic bird could have blown so far off course as it normally travels between Siberia and Ethiopia.

The annual Christmas Bird Count is done to compile one of the world largest sets of wildlife survey data. The results are used to assess population trends and the distribution of birds. Another bird count will be done in May.


Bird Focus Group with Chris Olsen

Acknowledgements:

• Thanks to an initiative from Bob Krutchen, we applied for a Red Deer Community Better Participaction grant in the spring and were awarded a $1,000.00 grant. We used those funds to purchase two pairs of Nikon 5 10 x 40, binoculars that new birders used on a number of our outings.

• Ron Bjorge hosted our Riverbend Upper Trails outing on June 3 and provided a species summary for the Ferry Point weekend outing. John and Shelley-anne Goulet hosted our Michael O’Brien Wetland outing on August 12.

• Susan van der Hoek provided route maps and trip descriptions for the RDRN website events calendar and posted our trip summaries and eBird reports on RDRN social media.

2023 Summary:

We started our Spring/Summer schedule Mar 19th , with a trip to Carburn Park in Calgary, taking advantage of the diversity along the open waters of the Bow River. Between March 19 and December 9, we hosted 32 outings.

Notables this year included the Wainwright Sharp-tailed Grouse watch and the Tofield Snow Goose Festival. Longer trips included Carburn Park in March, Wainwright in April, Bigelow Reservoir and Open Creek in July, and Frank Lake in August. Unfortunately, our Dry Island trip was cancelled due to rain – we did Riverbend in lieu. Note that our summary numbers do not include the Wainwright trip, May species count or the Ferry Point weekend, although many Bird Focus Group regulars also participated in one or all of those. With the above exceptions then, our 32 outings traversed 152.3 km, and collectively 339 participants documented 138 bird species (an increase of 10 species over last year). All bird observations and tracks were recorded with eBird. Species ‘hot spots’ this year were Kuhnen Park (49), Alix Lake (43) and Riverbend upper trails (38).

Thanks to everyone who joined us this year to date.  Our Bird Focus Group email list includes about 80 people, and thanks to Susan’s diligence you can always see our weekly summaries and eBird reports on social media. We remain an inclusive group that learns together. New participants
are always welcome so join us when you can!


The Red Deer River Naturalists, the first natural history organization to be established in Alberta, was incorporated as a society in 1906. The objectives of the society are to foster an increased knowledge, understanding and appreciation of natural history, and to support conservation measures dealing with our environment, wildlife and natural resources.

Annual membership is $15.00 for individuals and $20.00 for families. Regular meetings are held at 7:00 PM on the fourth Thursday of most months at Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Non-members are welcome.

Members are encouraged to contribute to this newsletter. The deadline is the last Friday of the month.

Box 785 Red Deer, AB T4N 5H2 Phone/Fax: 403.347.8200

[email protected]
www.rdrn.ca
wearenaturalwise.blogspot.com
Twitter #RDriverNats
Instagram @RDriverNats

Cover Poster by Doug Pedersen
Photos, unless otherwise noted, by Myrna Pearman

RDRN Social Media:
1317 Facebook Members
310 X Followers
446 Instagram Followers

Our thanks to McElhanney for generously donating the printing of this newsletter and NOVA Chemicals for covering postage costs.

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