Introduction: After leaving Regina, Saskatchewan for a long drive to Fernie, BC, we had to make an emergency pitstop for one of the kids. Boy, were we lucky that we did, or we would never have stumbled upon the Chaplin Nature Centre. This area is geographically unique as the prehistoric Devonian sea used to cover this area. When it got cut off and dried up a bit, the marshes now have a super high salt content (half as much as the Dead Sea). Migrating birds will stop here to double their weight in a week before flying on to the Arctic breeding grounds. They’re eating tons of these teeny tiny brine shrimp, which they had in a bucket for the kids to ooh and ahh at. So this would be a bird watcher’s paradise (including the endangered piping plover, sandpipers, American Avocet, etc.). It’s also a neat handshake between the mining industry who collects the sodium sulphate in the winter, protect the area in the summer and manage the brine water levels, and Ducks Unlimited who work to preserve the marsh and shallow lakes that are important for 100,000 shore birds migrate through this area. The small but impressive nature centre was just what the kids needed. It’s free as well (donation requested) and seems to run on volunteers who take the time to show you around the centre or will take you out on the marshes to show you the different birds in action.
Here is Julia’s take:
“When we were at the nature centre, I saw a Prairie Dog trying to get the bird’s eggs. The bird is called a piping plover.
We also saw an Arctic Fox. I like this place because it’s all about nature. I liked that it had a donation tree.”
From Ethan, when asked what did you think about the Nature Centre, he said…
“Good. That’s where I got my snake from”.
(A huge stuffed snake that is longer than he is. He is a boy of few words. At the time, he thought the pelicans were pretty cool too).