There is a new group of nature enthusiasts enjoying the more than 260 kms of beautiful trails and pathways in our city thanks to a unique partnership.
The Helen Schuler Nature Centre, the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO), and Nature Lethbridge have partnered to take residents for a walk in the park. Funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Summer Nature Walking Club explores a new City park every second Tuesday from June to September.
“The club is a great way for people to connect, get outside and learn about our local flora and fauna,” Curtis Goodman, Volunteer Coordinator, Helen Schuler Nature Centre. “Even if you’ve lived in Lethbridge your whole life, you’re bound to learn or see something new which is exciting.”
Resident and summer walking club participant, Pat McMullin, says she’s lived in Lethbridge since 1986 and had never been to Nicholas Sheran Park.
“I’ve been to the spray park with my grandkids before and around the area, but never to the park,” says McMullin. “We used to spend a lot of our summers down in Montana but since COVID, we sold our place down there and now I get to enjoy a lot of time in the city. It really is a beautiful place to explore in the summer.”
Each walk is led by a local nature enthusiast who will help walkers learn about what they see along their stroll. Penny Hopkins, Director-at-Large with Nature Lethbridge, says while her identifying birds is what initially piqued her interest, now her thirst for nature has blossomed exponentially.
“At first I thought, you can’t get much more exciting than birds but then I started learning to identify plants, then insects and now I’ve ended up being excited about fungus,” she laughs. “There is just so much out there to explore and learn and it’s all in our backyards!”
A bus takes the registered participants from the LSCO to the park de jour. The group then takes a guided tour through the park to learn more about their surroundings.
Lethbridge Senior Citizen Organization members, Allan and Kerry, enjoyed their walk by getting to greet old friends and meet new ones. Many different bird species made their calls, the turtles came out, mushrooms showed their varied caps and colourful plant life caught our attention. "We could just feel ourselves relaxing and benefitting from our time in nature’s abundance".
This is the first year the club has been active and it will be used to see if there is an appetite for further installments in years to come. To learn more or sign up for the remaining two walks this summer, click here.