Adults, left-right, Kristen Blanchette, Rachelle MacKinnon, Marion Lessard, Joan Cunningham, Irene Gauthier, and Irene Brassard. Front row: Rosalynn Blanchette, Remy Blanchette, and Rachelle MacKinnon’s children (names unavailable). Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

People at McLennan celebrated Canada Day July 1, with celebrations at the Birdwalk and O’Mahony Conservation Area.

Beginning at the Northern Alberta Historical and Railroad Museum and Birdwalk, a lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers were served and arts and crafts provided by Smoky River Family and Community Support Services.

“We had a great day on Saturday with over 100 people at the Birdwalk and Museum and 35 people from young ones to seniors enjoying the scavenger hunt,” says organizer Marion Lessard.

“The day was put on by Kimiwan Lake & Wildlife Preservation Society, but we call ourselves Kimiwan Lake Naturalists.”

After lunch, many from the group headed out to the O’Mahony Conservation Area southeast of McLennan to have a scavenger hunt.

Monica Bisley gets ready to go participate in the scavenger hunt at the O’Mahony Conservation Area south of McLennan.

“Our goal was to encourage people to visit the conservation area and learn about some of the birds in the area,” says Lessard.

“Having a scavenger hunt with fabulous prizes might encourage people to go for a hike and enjoy nature.”

The group provided gift cards to the Birdwalk, Museum, McLennan Pizza and Donair, Hicks Honey, and Canada Day frisbees and balls to all attendees.

Rosalynn Blanchette, left, and Irene Brassard show off a gift certificate and prizes that were given to participants.

The O’Mahony Conservation Area (OCA) was developed by beloved late G.P. Vanier School teacher John O’Mahony, his family and other community members. The original idea for the area was to preserve a part of boreal forest habitat close to the school to help facilitate outdoor science and learning opportunities for the area’s students. The site is located on the west side of Winagami Lake, and offers various habitat types and is inhabited by various species of wildlife and a biodiverse selection of vegetation.

The OCA has a network of 9 km of maintained trails that are accessible 24 hours per day. Lessard explains there are signs to self guide, regular trail junction signs, and numerous small bridges that cross watercourses that lead to Winagami Lake.

“We’re thinking about having another hike in September or October,” says Lessard.

“It’s nature at its best, our precious gem in our own backyard for everyone to enjoy and learn about our ecosystem,” she adds.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 12, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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