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Video profile of Central Alberta’s beloved naturalist Myrna Pearman



It’s our great pleasure at to work with some of the most extraordinary people in this area.  One of the wonderful people we are honoured to know is the Site Leader and Biologist in charge of the Central Alberta treasure, the Ellis Bird Farm.   Myrna Pearman has dedicated her life to Central Alberta’s natural habitat and this month she was rightfully named Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Please enjoy the video profile we produced with Myrna below.  In the meantime, we’ll direct you to Myrna’s own words from her website introducing herself, and talking about the incredible honour bestowed on her by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


I am an enthusiastic naturalist, outdoors person and photographer. I am lucky to live on the south shore of beautiful Sylvan Lake, Alberta, where I enjoy both the view of the lake as well as the many trails that crisscross our woods.

My greatest joy in life is to get out in nature with my camera, to experience and capture the awesome beauty of this planet and her creatures. I hope that my small contributions—this website, my blog, books and columns—will encourage others to do the same.

I write a monthly nature photo essay in the Red Deer Advocate (third Thursday of the month) as well as a column (Wild Neighbours) in The Gardener magazine. I also produce the newsletter for the Red Deer River Naturalists, have a Facebook page, and occasionally contribute photos to several Facebook groups (Birds of Alberta Photography Group, Canadian Bird Photographer, Alberta Birds).

It has been my great fortune to have been at the helm of Ellis Bird Farm for the past 30 years. Ellis Bird Farm is both a non-profit company as well as a working farm, public garden and education centre, and I have been fortunate to oversee—with a very smart and dedicated team of board members, fellow contractors and summer staff—the growth of this wonderful place.

Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society

I am humbled and honoured to have been recently accepted as a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The ceremony was held in Ottawa earlier this week.

How inspiring it was to be in the company of so many exemplary Canadians who also received fellowships, received medals, and who spoke at the evening gala (Dr. Roberta Bondar, Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, Rt. Hon. David Johnson to name a few)! A big thank you to Carol Patterson for the nomination. Carol has been a wonderful personal mentor and Ellis Bird Farm supporter over the years.

The experience was extra special because it was shared with a great personal friend and another Ellis Bird Farm champion (and founding board chairman), Morris Flewwelling. What a treat it was to also be in the company of Dr. Dee (who was also inducted) and Brian Keating (we are pictured here with Anne Innis Dogg, the “Jane Goodall of Giraffes”).

​We live in troubled times, but there are so many talented and dedicated men and women across this great land who are working tirelessly on behalf of this beautiful country (and planet). My thanks to them!



Alberta will now allow wood-building construction for up to 12 storeys



wood buildings

From the Province of Alberta

Reducing red tape for wood-building construction

Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu announced the change Friday, as part of Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.

While other jurisdictions in Canada, like British Columbia, currently allow for 12-storey wood construction, Alberta will become the first province in Canada to allow the practice province-wide.

“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage. We made this change knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Current Alberta and national building codes allow wood-building construction for up to six storeys, but the next edition of the National Building Code – anticipated for publication at the end of 2020 – will allow for the use of tall wood construction with fire-resistant material for up to 12 storeys.

Alberta will issue a notice – based on technical provisions developed for the next edition of the National Building Code – to allow early use of tall wood or mass timber construction for up to 12 storeys using fire-resistant material in time for the upcoming construction season.

“We commend the Government of Alberta for advancing the use of wood-building construction of up to 12 storeys with this province-wide variance. By building with products that are made locally, we are supporting thousands of jobs in small communities and large cities throughout the province. From people working in sawmills, to value-add facilities, to jobs in construction and transportation, everyone benefits from this change. Moreover, because wood is fully renewable and has a low carbon footprint, our environment benefits, too.”

Paul Whittaker, Alberta Forest Products Association President

New technology makes taller wood construction feasible

Advancements in fire-protection and wood-product technology are allowing for the construction of taller wood buildings without compromising safety.

The building codes will require tall wood buildings to be built as encapsulated mass timber construction, where the solid or engineered wood has been surrounded by fire-resistive material. Buildings of mass timber construction will also be fully sprinklered.

“BILD Alberta is excited to see the Government of Alberta take steps to modernize construction, reduce red tape and address environmental needs by allowing innovative techniques to deliver the homes and buildings people need. This provides our industry and member companies with more options in meeting the housing affordability needs of Albertans.”

Patrick Shaver, chair, BILD Alberta Chair and president of Avillia Developments

Quick facts

  • Wood buildings taller than six storeys have been built in Vancouver (University of British Columbia’s 18-storey Brock Commons), Europe, the United States, and other jurisdictions around the world.
  • Mass or laminated timber has excellent durability and seismic, fire, and acoustic safety performance.
  • The encapsulated mass-timber construction component of the 2020 National Building Code has already been reviewed by the National Building Code committees and fire-safety specialists, structural engineers, architects, scientists, and builders.

Economic impact of tall wood buildings

  • Potential to create about 60 jobs per construction site and up to 400 jobs per new sawmill and production sites.
  • A growth in demand for lumber, for example, 100-million board feet, about $40-million worth of lumber, is the equivalent to about two mills the size of Boucher Bros Lumber.

Minister Madu tours Western Archrib with (L-R) Paul Whittaker, Scott Fash of BILD, Dale Beesley, Municipal Affairs, and Andre Lema, of Western Archrib.

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Business case for Regional Transit Service released



Joint release from the Cities of Edmonton and St. Albert

January 22, 2020

Today, the team of elected representatives tasked with examining the feasibility of a Regional Transit Services Commission (RTSC) in the Edmonton Metro Region released their report: “Accelerating Transit in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region: Building a Regional Transit Services Commission.”

The RTSC report recommends combining transit services of 13 municipalities.This would create more opportunities for inter-municipal travel, with projected savings of 850 service hours per week and $3 million per year once systems are fully aligned in 2026. The report was led by a transition team of representatives from the 13 municipalities in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

“We want to provide people living in the region the best possible transit experience we can,” said City of St. Albert Councillor Wes Brodhead, chair of the RTSC transition team. “With a plan to address integrated regional transit, we can try to close the gap between transit and automobile trips, while decreasing congestion and giving everyone the ability to experience what the region has to offer.”

The aim of the RTSC would be to improve mobility options and the movement of people across our rapidly growing region. As reflected in the report, uniting transit services across regional boundaries will allow for a more efficient and cost effective transit service, while reducing barriers to entry for communities that want to start a new transit service and eliminating the need for duplication of services along key corridors.

“As the Edmonton Metropolitan Region becomes more interconnected and complex, doing more of the same to meet the region’s mobility needs will not be sustainable over the long term,” said City of Edmonton Councillor Michael Walters, vice-chair of the transition team. “With the region growing at such a rapid pace, we need to take a critical look at how we can better serve the next million people through transit options.”

Mobility in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is transforming. According to the 2015 Edmonton Regional Household Travel Survey, the number of daily transit trips in the region has increased by almost 9,000 since 2005, while the number of automobile trips has increased by about 236,000. That represents one transit trip for every 26 automobile trips.

“Jurisdictional boundaries shouldn’t limit how our citizens live, learn, work and play. People around the region want and need to move seamlessly,” said Councillor Walters. “Delivering transit in a collaborative and streamlined manner lets us meet challenges head-on and take advantage of opportunities today and into the future – together.”

In February and March 2020, the individual councils of all 13 Edmonton Metropolitan Region municipalities will vote on their decision to participate in a formal request to the Government of Alberta to create a new Regional Transit Commission.

For those who choose to join, work will begin in early 2020 to seek approval from the Government of Alberta and perform the planning required to begin delivering regional transit services in 2022.

The RTSC Transition Team, made up of councillors from 13 municipalities, led the formation of the report. The 13 municipalities included are the City of Beaumont, the Town of Devon, the City of Edmonton, the City of Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, the Town of Morinville, Parkland County, the City of Spruce Grove, the City of St. Albert, the Town of Stony Plain, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County.


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