A new donation for the JJ Collett Natural Area in Morningside will help both hikers and Grade 6 students of the area schools to continue to enjoy the benefits of a natural reserve, which has served the community for 15 years.
Thanks to a dedicated board of directors, and through corporate sponsorship, the trails on the almost full section of land —635-acres — continue to be a source for recreation. The most recent donation of $5,000 from Ember Resources for the area is the second by the organization, explained Devaney Fraser of Ember community relations.
“Our number one community focus is kids and education,” she explained.
“This is a beautiful place,” she added of the JJ Collett Natural Area.
The money gets put to good use, explained Roger Stawart, vice-president of the area. Schools don’t have to pay to take the tour as the natural area provides the supplies and ensures they meet the science curriculum for Grade 6.
“To give it that respect that is due,” explained Stawart.
“The kids identify native trees and plants in the area,” added Lavonne Baehl, treasurer.
Many of the trees are found in central Alberta are in the natural area and students need to identify those trees for their science program. Stawart said the goal is to keep the trail system as it sits and let the natural area be just that, a natural area.
“We are in the process of building a handicap trail,” added Baehl.
The trail is in the design phase and they hope to create a short trail that is wheelchair accessible. The group is also working on a new front gate. Stawart estimates they receive 10,000 visits a year.