2 botanic gardens

Railway station now labelled a botanic garden

Glenys Smith and the staff at the Camrose Heritage Railway Station has labelled all of the plants in the gardens to receive botanic garden status.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Heritage Railway Station will also be known as a Botanic Garden destination.

“Our gardens can now be classed as botanic because the Wildflower Garden and the other gardens will be labelled with the name and the scientific name of the plants and flowers. I hope to connect with all botanic gardens in Alberta and produce a brochure next winter that could be at all tourist outlets. The gardens are now open for weddings as well,” said Canadian Northern Society volunteer Glenys Smith.

“Back in 2014, we decided not to just maintain the buildings, but to add to the outside. Heritage gardens were here a long time ago. Railway stations put gardens on the side of the buildings to indicate what could be grown. When pioneers went by, they would see that and choose to settle in the area. The idea was if they can grow flowers, they can grow wheat,” added Glenys.

The Camrose Heritage Railway Station, along with grasslands restoration site at Meeting Creek, has become an eco-centre to demonstrate the results of the research based organic practices.

“We patterned after Victoria Beach, Manitoba, with two round gardens and a long garden, which was typical. We started this a long time ago and they have progressed. Now we have 13 gardens, but what we have done now is labelled the flowers and plants to become botanic gardens,” she stated.

“It will have the name and scientific name. I think that is really helpful to people. People can follow along with our brochure. We have a healing garden with a little church. When pioneers came, one of the first things they did was build a church. We have a wild flower garden that are marked,” said Glenys.

“At Meeting Creek, we want people to hike or bike a trail all the way to Donalda (10 miles) and see the natural grasslands and flowers. Right now, you can hike or bike from Meeting Creek to Edberg (14 kilometres). Because of the right-aways, you have natural native flowers and grasslands of Alberta,” pointed out Glenys.

The trails will allow for small scooters or golf carts for those who need mobility assistance, but not ATVs.

“We encourage people to travel within Camrose and Camrose County. It is very beautiful around Meeting Creek and people should see the native plants,” said Glenys.

The water in the Meeting Creek Valley needs grassland in order to buffer out chemicals as it runs into the Battle River and help save the threatened prairie grasslands.

Five major events are planned for this summer.

On July 13, the local station will be an Art Walk Through the Gardens site from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can view the gardens and meet local artists. All proceeds go to the Camrose Arts Society.

Railway Heritage Day is also planned for the same day at the Big Valley Railway Station and Roundhouse Interpretive Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A Family Train Day will take place in Camrose on July 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children can enjoy train rides and participate in a scavenger hunt.

Enjoy a Family Fun Day and Pig Roast at the Meeting Creek Railway Station and Grain Elevator on August 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Planned are children’s activities, songs, stories and walking on the linear park trails.

Camrose Heritage Day is on August 24 beginning at 2 p.m. A performance from “The Railway King” will enlighten everyone about Sir William Mackenzie and his life as a Canadian Northern Railway founder.

The station is open for light refreshments, such as coffee, tea and cookies, during our regular hours. They are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information on the garden or the museum contact glenyscanadian @gmail.com  or phone the station at 780-672-3099.

Rosalind back in first place: baseball

By Murray Green

It didn’t take long for the Rosalind Athletics to regain first place in the Powerline Baseball League.

Powerline Baseball League teams play a 12 game season before heading into playoffs. All weekday games being at 7 p.m.

Camrose defeated Tofield 11-1 in the lone game on June 26.

Rosalind beat Armena 12-2, The Rivals hammered Vegreville 14-4 and won 6-3 in a doubleheader on June 25.

Vegreville edged Armena Royals 3-0 and 5-4 in two close contests on June 20.

Camrose Roadrunners beat The Rivals 6-5 in another battle on June 19. Armena hammered the Tofield Braves 20-2 in another match on June 18.

Rosalind leads the pack with seven wins followed by The Rivals and Vegreville with six, Camrose have five and Armena four wins in the battle for playoff spots.

Rosalind and Vegreville face each other on July 2. The next night will feature Armena and The Rivals and Tofield taking on Camrose.

On July 4, Rosalind and Tofield will tangle in a make-up contest.
Three make-up games have been added on July 9. Tofield is at Vegreville, Camrose is in Daysland to face The Rivals and Rosalind is in Armena.
5 canada day storey serbian family

O Canada strong and free

By Lori Larsen

On July 1, people around this incredible nation we call Canada, representing every age and every walk of life, joined in a variety of celebrations many sporting the colour red and white recognizing and honouring what our flag truly stands for, a nation strong and free.

Whether lifelong residents of Canada or those new to our country, Canadians can rest assured because of  the many privileges and freedoms we share in this beautiful place we call home. But sadly many others around the world are not nearly as fortunate.
As we watch from the safety of our homes in Canada, we can only imagine the terror felt by people being impacted by the discord in places around the world, such as Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen, Sudan and Haiti.

In a story printed in the July 13, 1999 edition of The Camrose Booster, then reporter/writer Dan Jensen reported on Serbian family, Jasminka and Miroslav Solic who had escaped a life of terror and uncertainty in Serbia living in a crowded refugee camp at Becej.

Jasminka was quoted, “There were 200 people there and one bathroom. Everyone slept on the floor next to the other.”
Desperate to get her son out of circumstances, undoubtedly filled with hardship and grief, Jasminka made the decision to move to Canada.

“Lots of people in the camp or Serbia were saying, no good America, no good Austrailia, good in Canada,” said Jasminka in the 1999 story. “Some places the refugees would draw pictures on the walls of angels taking them to Canada.”

There are many other stories similar to Jasminka and Miroslav that are current today, as Canadians, including Camrosians, welcome with the warmth and compassion that Canadians have come to be known for, newcomers to our Country.

Stories of organizations such as the Camrose Refugee Centre, churches and individuals taking in refugees from Ukraine, sponsoring and assisting them in getting settled, providing them with the necessary tools and supporting and comforting them as they adjust to their new lives in a foreign country.

For the Solics, it was the United Church in Camrose that provided them with sponsorship and, with the assistance of Janet Bauer, contracted through Alberta Vocational College, Jasminka and Miroslav were able to learn English.

Bauer was quoted in the story to say, “Church members take care of the humanitarian end of things and invite them to their homes for coffee while the government pays their living expenses for the first year.”

By all accounts, the Solics managed to settle into their new lives in Camrose (Canada) with Jasminka even admitting she drank too much coffee on some days because so many friends would come over to visit with Miroslav making new friends at  Sparling School, quickly catching onto the joys of playing video games.

Bauer noted in the story that the Solics viewed every day like Christmas for the first while after their arrival, considering the unbelievable life she had experienced prior to moving to Canada.

According to the story, Jasminka, born and raised in Croatia (Kostanjnica), was forced to move to Serbia with her husband Milan and son Miroslav in the early 1990s to ensure their safety. However, on a return trip to Croatia, on July 4, eight days before National Day in Croatia, Milan was pulled from his car by Croat soldiers and shot on the spot. “They shot him because he was Serbian, even though he was working and living in Croatia,” Jasminka shared in the story adding that she might have suffered the same fate if she had followed Croatian directions to go and identify the body. “My brother-in-law told me I shouldn’t go because they would shoot me as well.”

Jasminka and Miroslav left Serbia only three days before no one else was allowed to leave.

Despite efforts to find out where Jasminka and Miroslav are now, their current situation is unknown. However, I can share another story of happy endings of a family being forced to leave everything they knew, everything they had and many they loved to flee to a safe haven in Canada.

My dearest friend of 48 years, Karim, moved with his mother and other family members in the mid-1970s, from the terrors of Uganda under the dictatorship of then president Idi Amin. In the middle of the night, they barely escaped real threats of violence even death, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. While it was not an easy journey for Karim and his mother, they managed and settled in Canada where they were able to live very happy and successful lives in peace, free of persecution.

The photo that accompanied the July 13, 1999 story (shown here) is indeed worth a thousand words. Jasminka and Miroslav, pictured to the right, are each proudly waving a Canadian flag.

How very lucky are we to live in this wonderful country of people comprised of a plethora of backgrounds and traditions, allowed to join together in joyous celebrations in the unity of being a Canadian.

Rodin is a Team Canada world medal winner

By Murray Green
Former Camrose football player Brad Rodin was part of the world champion winning Team Canada 1 squad at the IFAF U20 Football World Championships in Edmonton, June 22 to 30.

Rodin, who played his minor football in Camrose and OLMP in high school, suited up for the University of Regina Rams last season.

He was selected to join one of the U20 squads to represent his country. This marked the third straight year Canada has won the event.

Canada beat Japan 20-9 to receive the gold medals on June 30. In the semifinals, Canada defeated Austria 27-20 on June 26. In the first contest, Canada crushed Brazil 110-0. Japan upset Team USA to reach the final.

This event was established in 2009 and the IFAF Junior World Championship takes place every two years featuring top 20-and-under-players from around the world.

More than 85 former Team Canada players have progressed to the CFL, with several alumni from various teams having played in the NFL.

This includes Edmonton Elks number one pick Joel Dublanko who was part of the U.S. National Team in 2015.
6 lougheed artist

Kirby enjoys painting landscapes

Steven Kirby of Camrose talks about some of his artwork that is on display at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in July.

By Murray Green

Oil painting artist Steven Kirby of Camrose has about 21 works of his art on display at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre throughout July.

Steven, originally from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, loves to paint landscapes using vibrant colours.

“I’ve been called a vibrant colour artist as I use bright colours to give a different contrast to the art,” shared Steven.

He has dabbled in many art forms of artistic expression including photography, woodworking, paracord weaving and model vehicles.

“I have tried flow paint, ink art, acrylics, coloured pencils and even spray cans. I always come back to oil paints as my favourite way to paint,” shared Steven.

“I started art at the age of six. However, when I was 18, I came across a PBS television program called The Magic Method of Oil Painting with William Alexander. He could take a two- or four-inch brush and create magic. He painted a landscape scene in under 30 minutes. I was hooked, I wanted to paint one in under a half an hour as well, and I did. Landscape is what captivated me the most. I did alright, but then I took some art painting lessons and suddenly I was painting much better,” explained Steven.

Steven worked in the military for 32 years in various training positions and painted on and off throughout the years. “After retiring I took up several hobbies including going back to painting. In 2020, I fully retired and moved to Camrose to be closer to relatives and paint more regularly,” he added.

Steven had a period of time, about 20 years, where he didn’t paint at all. Now he has his drive for painting back. “My garage is my hobby shop. I have to keep my hands busy to keep my mind sharp,” Steven said.

“When I was in the process of moving to Camrose, I had a friend who knew Jane Cherry. I was introduced and she convinced me to have a display of my work here. “I’ve painted for family, friends and a few commissions, but never considered displaying my artwork like this. If I can get someone interested in painting, then it is all worth it,” Steven continued.

“I make the frames for the paintings as well. I’m an old country boy, so I like the rustic frames. I’ve never had recognition for what I had done, so this is a way of doing that,” said Steven.

“I displayed some on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton and I would talk to those who came by. This little girl said ‘I can’t even draw stick men.’ I told her that stick men are an art form too. You can change their positions and then it is art. I could see her eyes getting bigger as she started thinking like she thought she could do it too. I’ve always been teaching and training, so would get the children thinking about what they could do. That made me feel good. I hope people get inspired by my paintings,” said Steven.

Jane Cherry is the curator of the show. If you are an artist who is interested in submitting an application to show, contact her at jcherry62@hotmail.com for more information.

ÉCCHS name athletes of the year

By Murray Green

École Camrose Composite High School  (ÉCCHS) named its athletes of the year on June 13.

“We handed out all of our team awards as well as our Grade 9 and high school female and male athletes of the year. Our Grade 9 female athlete of the year is Lauryn Woodford and our male athlete of the year is Jayven Ilg,” said athletic director Graeme Thain.

Both Lauryn and Jayven started their athletics in Grade 9 on the cross-country running team and finished at the end of the year on the track and field team, as well they played most of the other sports in between.

“Not only are they multi-sport athletes, they both have really good leadership skills that they will bring to our high school athletics,” he noted.

“Our female and male high school athletes of the year are Jenelle Martens and Dawson Ferguson. Jenelle has played a prominent role in our athletic programs since coming here from Manitoba in Grade 10. She played an important role as a Grade 10 athlete on our 2022 senior girls’ provincial championship team and she’s been a central figure on our senior girls’ volleyball team for the last three years.  I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Jenelle for the past three years and she’s the type of athlete that will do anything for the team and she makes the players around her better. She will be continuing her volleyball career next year at Ambrose College, one of the top female volleyball programs in the province,” Thain explained.

“Dawson is a Grade 11 multi-sport athlete. He competed on our senior boys’ volleyball team as well as on our track and field team. He was our top male cross-country runner. Dawson was a big part of our 2023 provincial championship cross-country running team. This year he finished second at cross-country zones helping our team secure the 3A cross-country zone championship, and he was in the top 20 at the provincial championship. Similarly he was a big reason for Comp. being the top 3A team at the track and field zone championships and competed in both individual events and relays at this year’s track and field provincials. Dawson’s athleticism is one thing, but his leadership, as a Grade 11 student, speaks volumes on the success we have here at ÉCCHS.”
7 sheri krofsa 1948 willys

Krofsa owns a restored ’48 Willys truck

The 1948 Willys truck was built to go anywhere at any time. Besides going off-roading, this Willys was built to add some speed on the highway with a new 427 Chevrolet engine.

By Murray Green

Sheri Krofsa of Mirror owns a 1948 Willys four-wheel drive truck.

“My husband found this truck about eight or nine years ago. It didn’t look like this. He put a bunch of work into it,” said Sheri.
After the war, Willys did not resume production of its passenger-car models, choosing instead to concentrate on Jeeps and Jeep-branded vehicles, launching the Jeep Station Wagon in 1946, the Jeep Truck in 1947 and the Jeepster in 1948.

“It has a 427 Chevrolet engine in it and a 400 command shift transmission. It has all of the gauges including one on the transmission to show the transmission pressure,” she added.

Willys was a brand name used by Willys-Overland Motors, an American automobile company, founded by John North Willys. It was best known for its design and production of Second World War-era military jeeps (MBs), Willys M38 and M38A1 military jeeps, as well as civilian versions (Jeep CJs and branding the jeep military slang-word into the universal) Jeep marque.

“I think this was a mid-life crisis truck for us. I have never got along with this truck, so I’m going to sell it. The truck has been sitting in the quonset for three years now and it needs to be driven. It’s time for someone else to enjoy it,” Sheri said.

In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 1912 renamed it Willys–Overland Motor Company. From 1912 to 1918, Willys was the second-largest producer of automobiles in the United States after the Ford Motor Company.

“It has a 411 rear end with double winches, at both ends. It has nitrous, so you can get away in a hurry,” she laughed.
After several denials by the patent office and appeals by Willys-Overland, the trademark Jeep was finally awarded to the company on June 13, 1950.

“It was drivable when we got it. The motor and transmission were fixed and a lot of things were rebuilt. It has very few miles on it, about 12,000. The engine and transmission were brand new when it was restored,” she explained.

After the war, Willys did not resume production of its passenger-car models, choosing instead to concentrate on Jeeps and Jeep-based vehicles. The first postwar Willys product was the CJ-2A, an MB stripped of obviously military features, particularly the blackout lighting, and with the addition of a tailgate.

Willys initially struggled to find a market for the vehicle, first attempting to sell it primarily as an alternative to the farm tractor. Tractors were in short supply, having been out of production during the war. However, sales of the Agri-Jeep never took off, mainly because it was too light to provide adequate draft.

In 1948, under a contract from the US Army, Willys produced a small one-man four-wheeled utility vehicle called the Jungle Burden Carrier which evolved into the M274 Utility half-ton vehicle.

The Willys Jeep truck was made by Willys-Overland Motors from 1947 to 1965. The styling and engineering of the Jeep truck was based on Willys’ existing vehicles, the Willys Jeep Station Wagon and the Jeep CJ-2A. The Jeep truck was introduced in 1947 as a one ton four-wheel drive truck with a wheelbase of 118 inches (2,997 mm). It was available as a pickup truck, a platform stake truck, a chassis cab, or a bare chassis. A three-quarter ton two-wheel drive version became available by 1949.

The 1948 engine was a Willys L134 (nicknamed Go Devil) straight-four flathead automobile engine that was made famous in the Willys MB and Ford GPW Jeep produced during the Second World War. It powered nearly all the Jeep vehicles built for the allies. It was later used in a variety of civilian Jeep vehicles.
The Go Devil engine rated at 55 horsepower included a heavier transmission, a combination that proved to be beneficial for use in cross-country travel. The displacement was 134.2 cubic inch and an undersquare design with valves parallel with the cylinders.

CAFCL celebrates

By Lori Larsen
Camrose Association For Community Living (CAFCL) celebrated another year of providing much-needed programs and services to individuals in Camrose and surrounding area, during the annual Community Celebration held on June 12.

The annual report to the community and messages about the challenges and successes of the past year, were shared along with recognition of this year’s scholarship and bursary recipients, and the contributions of award winners.

CAFCL CEO Robin Good and board president Kristy Smith, shared messages about the important role CAFCL plays in serving rural communities and the sometimes significant barriers rural communities face. “Through serving the counties of Camrose, Beaver, Killam and the municipal districts of Wainwright and Provost, our goal is to connect families to vital services in their communities, thereby increasing resiliency and protective factors among participants.”

Good also reported on how the increase in financial challenges, experienced by CAFCL clientele, adds to increased physical and mental health concerns which makes it imperative for CAFCL to be able to provide adequate supports.

“Heading into the coming year, a key priority will be to pinpoint and secure sustainable funding streams for our Family Services Program.”

The Treasurer’s Report indicated that the total revenue for CAFCL, according to financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2024, was $6,338,041, 88 per cent of which came from government funding, 6 per cent generated internally, three per cent from grants and 3 per cent from fundraising.

Highlights from the year include a wage infusion supporting an adjustment to wage grids; acquisition of a new property (bringing the total of residential properties to five in addition to the Burgess Building); participation in the Rock the Runway fashion show fundraiser; and hosting the Let’s Talk event.

This year’s recipients of scholarships were: Kassandra Colp (Human Services Scholarship) and  Kristina Starr (Norris Bowen Scholarship).

The Volunteer Champion Award was presented to Jason Sharkey, one of the youngest volunteers to become involved in CAFCL.
This year’s Community Champion Award was Dr. Charley Boyd. Through collaboration with Dr. Boyd, CAFCL was able to effectively advocate for participant’s medical needs, ensuring they receive necessary care.

The Lifetime Membership Award for this year was bestowed upon Bayard Reesor.

Reesor became involved with CAFCL as a board member in 2021, serving two consecutive two-year terms as director of the board. Even after his service on the Board, Reesor continued to remain connected to CAFCL by attending the AGM’s and performing the election of new board members. His passion for the amazing work CAFCL does has been supported through not only his volunteerism, but financial commitment to supporting community causes close to his heart. In 2023, along with his wife Marian, Bayard established, along with a generous donation, the Reesor Barrier Reduction Fund.

Reesor is a shining example of the wonderful support CAFCL has and continues to receive from businesses, organizations and individuals in Camrose and surrounding area.

This year’s Signature Photo was inspired by a theme of Diversity Creates Strength and Beauty. Featured in the photo are Caitlyn Ledger, Henry Baird, Oluwabukola Joy Adekunle, Kristine Tarifa and Kory Andrew Osbak.

For complete details on all the services and programs offered by CAFCL, visit the website at www.cafcl.ca.
8 disc golf

Local disc golf players head to Oklahoma

Nolan Litvak

By Murray Green

Camrose disc golfers Nolan Terlesky and Nolan Litvak, both 17, are headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the North American championships on July 17 to 21.

“Two Christmas’s ago, my grandparents bought me a starter kit with three discs and we already had a course. It was fun to start from the short tees,” said Terlesky, on how he got started in the sport.

“I started when I was about 12. Our family has a private disc golf course, so that is pretty much where I learned and grew up playing it. Camrose installed this course in 2021, and now I have two main courses to play,” added Litvak.

Both say the Camrose course is a good beginner course, considering the limited space in Jubilee Park.

“Playing in competitions is a lot different than playing a casual round with your friends. It is a lot more pressure. There is a lot more riding on each of your shots on making them,” said Terlesky, on the move up to some tougher competition.

Disc golf can be played almost anywhere with small fees.

“I learned the game quicker than regular golf. You can get good results a lot faster if you practice,” he added.

“Disc golf is a lot more affordable. You don’t have to get expensive clubs or pay for rounds,” shared Litvak.

Alberta is ranked as the third best disc golf province in Canada with 153 courses. Among these are 59 courses which have 18 or more holes. Alberta is also home to 132 leagues and 33 stores that sell disc golf gear.

“My goal is to finish in the top 10 in my division, which I have done so far this year,” said Terlesky, of the Alberta tournaments.

“I’ve been to five tournaments this year and have won two of them. One win was the Alberta junior championships. I have three more tournaments left with a major in an A and a B tier. C is considered a casual tournament, B is higher and then A. There are five main categories with MA4 (MA is mixed amateur) as a beginner, MA3 is recreational, MA2 is intermediate, MA1 is advanced and MP0 is pro,” explained Litvak.

The now Grade 12 students are going to the Junior Worlds. “There are 144 competitors in the junior A category, nine of whom are from Canada. Four of those nine are from Alberta, so Alberta is representing Canada well. It will be good to see how we do against others from around the world,” said Litvak.

“There will be three different courses to play in Tulsa. It is going to be tough and it will push me to be better,” said Terlesky.

“We will be playing one round on each of July 16, 17, 18 and 19 dates. Then there is a cut and you have to make the cut to play on the fifth day (July 20),” shared Litvak. “Out of 144 competitors, that means you have to place in the top 58 to move on. The goal is to play on day five.”

The guys spend three days a week practicing on the course and a little extra on putting because it is the most challenging part of the game.

“About 90 per cent of the courses are free to play, so it is not an expensive sport to play. I encourage anyone who has free time to play a round and casually try it out,” outlined Litvak.

Camrose has a course in Jubilee Park known as Stoney Creek Disc Golf Course. Every Tuesday evening, people are welcome to join the Rose City Disc Golf League so you will have several new opponents to play against.

Housing sales strong in second quarter

By Murray Green
The data is in and overall the increase in market activity and market values have continued.

There were a total of 101 reported housing sales in 2024 Q2 (quarter two), which is 36 more sales than last quarter, but 14 less than the same time last year.

The average and median sale prices have all increased, while the average Days On Market has dropped, indicating strong demand.

“That being said, the second quarter of each year has historically been the most active quarter for real estate in the Camrose market and whether these trends will be sustained during the summer and fall months remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the latest statistics are encouraging and illustrate the resiliency of the Camrose market,” said Jacobus Slabbert, senior appraiser at HarrisonBowker Valuation Group in Camrose.

Housing sales in the second quarter in Camrose bounced back from the lows experienced in the first quarter.

“The average sale price in 2024 Q2 was $358,510, which is up 10.22 per cent from last quarter and up 3.55 per cent from the same time last year. The rolling 12-month average marginally increased by 0.95 per cent. The median sale price in 2024 Q2 was $358,000, which is up 10.15 per cent from last quarter and up 5.24 per cent from the same time last year. The rolling 12-month median increased by 1.39 per cent, explained Jacobus.

There were 31 sales over $400,000 in 2024 Q2, which is 17 more than last quarter, but the same number as reported in 2023 Q2.
The average Days on Market was 39 days, which is down 38 days from last quarter and down 19 days from the same time last year.

In Camrose County, there were 17 reported sales in 2024 Q2, which is up six sales compared to Q1 and seven less than last year. The average marketing time in 2024 Q2 was 74 days, which is down four days compared to last quarter, but up 14 days compared to 2023 Q2.

In Flagstaff County, there were three reported sales in 2024 Q2, which matches sales from 2024 Q1, but three less than 2023 Q2. The average marketing time was 61 days, which is a decrease of 123 days compared to last quarter, but 67 less days compared to the same time last year.

Learn about bats

By Lori Larsen
For one reason or another, perhaps because of fictional references to vampires supported by the fact that they generally only come out at night, live in dark caves and have somewhat of a rebarbative appearance, bats have gained a bit of a bad rap.

On July 11, come out to the Stoney Creek Centre (5320-39 Avenue) at 7 p.m. for the fifth in the series of  Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society, in partnership with the City of Camrose,  Environment Education Programs, Bats in Alberta.

Presenter Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) conservation coordinator Ciara Fraser, will focus on the bats of Alberta, including what they are, what they do and how everyone can help these endangered animals.

These odd-looking flying mammals are actually extremely important to our environment.

By consuming their body weight in insects (equating to approximately 1,000) nightly, bats help control insect populations which assists in protecting forests and crops. Their diet of insects also helps to control the spread of diseases such as West Nile Virus.

Bats are responsible for pollinating over 300 species of fruit plants including the cacao (main ingredient in chocolate) as well as plants responsible for producing over 80 medicines.

Fun fact – like cats, bats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Not only does this keep their fur sleek it helps to control parasites.

For more information on the CWSS Summer program, including the Thursday evening Environmental Education Programs, contact CWSS Summer coordinator Casey Elliott by email at wildlifestewardship@camrose.ca or visit the website at camrose.ca/en/recreation-and-leisure/wildlife-and-greenspace-stewardship.aspx.
13 kidsport

BRCF grants to Camrose KidSport

Battle River Community Foundation executive director Bobbi Way presents a cheque to KidSport Camrose directors Kristy Smith, Jessica Sellin and Carleen Nelson.

The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a $3,650 grant to KidSport Camrose.

KidSport Camrose provides grants to help cover the cost of registration fees for those 18 and under so that all kids in Camrose and the surrounding area can participate in a season of sport. The Camrose chapter of KidSport, a national organization, accepts applications and administers grants of up to $350 per kid/year.

The grant to KidSport Camrose is funded from income earned by the Max and Lois McLean Fund, the Fred and Donna Vanouck Youth Athletics Fund, the Troy Berg Memorial Fund, the Margaret and Bob Prestage Fund, and the Foundation’s Community Fund. These types of funds allow the Foundation Board to match annual grant applicants with the interests donors wish to support.

The Battle River Community Foundation exists to support organizations in east central Alberta that benefit the local communities and positively impact the future.

Grants from the Battle River Community Foundation are primarily made possible through the generosity of individual donors and organizations that have created endowment funds. The principal of these endowment funds is kept intact, and the income is made available annually to support local projects and organizations.

Since it was founded in 1995, the Battle River Community Foundation has granted over $9,308,006 to support charitable activities in the Battle River Region.


By Bonnie Hutchinson

A pound of dirt
“They say every child should have a pound of dirt a day.”

I heard my mom say that once and I couldn’t believe those words came out of her mouth. She never let us leave the house without making sure we were clean and tidy. She was finicky about washing fruits and vegetables. “Clean freak” would be overstating it, but cleanliness of people, houses and any food-serving location mattered to her.

A pound of dirt?

Later, I overheard Mom explaining the “pound of dirt” remark to another grown-up. Mom had been with a much younger mother who was fretting about her baby being on the floor where the baby might be exposed to germs.

In trying to help the young mom relax a bit, my mom had said, “Oh well, they say every child should have a pound of dirt a day.” Then she laughed.

Maybe not a pound of dirt, but some research suggests my mom may have been on to something.

According to researchers in New Zealand, children who either suck their thumbs or bite their nails between the ages of five and 11 are less likely to have allergies or asthma later in life. The study looked at a test group from ages five to 38.

The findings seem to support an older scientific theory called the hygiene hypothesis. This theory suggests that if young children are exposed to a cross section of germs in early childhood, they may be less likely to have certain allergies and illnesses later on.

One of the New Zealand researchers Robert Hancox, an associate professor in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Dunedin School of Medicine, told the New York Times: “The hygiene hypothesis is interesting because it suggests that lifestyle factors may be responsible for the rise in allergic diseases in recent decades. Obviously, hygiene has many benefits, but perhaps this is a downside. The hygiene hypothesis is still unproven and controversial, but this is another piece of evidence that it could be true.”

One of the elegant challenges of being a parent or caregiver of children is to know the balance between being protective enough to keep our children safe, but not so protective that they’re not able to manage the regular hazards of the real world.

I think of when I had young children. We didn’t have seat belts or bike helmets. Our kids went out to play for hours and we didn’t necessarily know exactly where they were or what they were doing. We weren’t worried. The neighbourhood was safe.
One of my wake-up calls happened at my son’s fortieth birthday party, attended by many of “the guys” with whom he grew up. I heard stories of things they’d done as boys and teenagers and was appalled.

As a parent, I thought I had a handle on what was going on. Turns out I was naïve. I didn’t know about the raft that nearly sank while they were fishing for minnows, the time they set fire to bales of hay and the fire got out of hand, driving a vehicle on the creek’s early ice…

I said, “How come I didn’t know about these things?”

My son said, “You would have just worried.”

He was right. I would have.
A nanosecond before I sank into retroactive fear of what might have happened, something useful occurred to me. He was forty years old. Obviously, he made it to adulthood in one piece, uninjured and unscathed as near as I could tell.

I’m not saying we should be irresponsible. But perhaps we could relax a bit about protecting our children and grandchildren from every possible danger. We have all done possibly dangerous things–sometimes on purpose and sometimes because we didn’t know any better–and we survived.

You’re reading this, so that means you made it to adulthood. Perhaps we can trust that our children and grandchildren will too.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, e-mail Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one day.