MEGlobal has helped to make the vision of Ellis Bird Farm into a reality.
On Aug. 11 at the Ellis Bird Farm (EBF), MEGlobal, EBF’s chief supporter, announced they would be increasing their initial pledge toward building a new visitors’ centre at the Ellis Bird Farm.
It was unveiled recently that MEGlobal would be contributing $450,000 to the project rather than their initial pledge of $225,000.
Rocco Schurink, vice-president of operations at MEGlobal, said that, as EBF’s chief supporter, MEGlobal felt they had some responsibility to help make the new visitor centre a reality.
“Part of being a responsible care company is actually to return value to the Ellis Bird Farm community,” said Schurink. He added that Ellis Bird Farm is the first initiative MEGlobal supported when it started at the Prentiss site and so it holds a special significance to the company.
“It is very important for us to continue to support the bird farm and strengthen its future as well,” said Schurink.
In addition to that, he said it is clear just by looking that the Ellis Bird Farm is an important facility to keep around.
He said it is obvious from the hard work and passion that the board, EBF team and everyone else involved with Ellis Bird Farm puts into the place that it is a worthwhile initiative to invest in.
Schurink added there is clearly a need for it as well, as 12,000 visitors take advantage of the Ellis Bird Farms, displays, programming and information each year. He also said there is a need for nature conservancies such as this in Central Alberta.
Ken Wigmore, chair of the Ellis Bird Farm board, said that with a few other minor donations, EBF now has the full amount needed to begin the visitor information centre project. He added that MEGlobal has helped Ellis Bird Farm move closer to a goal that was set a long time ago, before Wigmore even got involved with the board three years ago.
“We have been working with this for quite a length of time,” said Wigmore. He added that, now that finances are in place, there is a long road and a lot of work still ahead for the Ellis Bird Farm to construct the visitor information centre it has been working towards for such a long time.
Wigmore said that the initial drawings of the new visitor information centre were graciously donated by George Berry of Berry Architecture & Associates and the next steps are to get some blueprints drawn up, find contractors and get shovels in the ground. Wigmore said he personally would like to see the project, or at least those steps of it, completed by April of next year.
Ellis Bird Farm’s new visitor centre would house more washrooms, offices, a staff room, a gift store and enough room to hold 100 people seated, said Wigmore.
He said that all these facilities are needed to improve Ellis Bird Farm’s utilization as it is lacking any kind of indoor facilities making it difficult to operate in rainy or other inclement weather.
“We want the place busy.”
Wigmore added that he hopes building this project will lead to further expansion of Ellis Bird Farm, something he personally is in favour of.
“I think this is an essential step for the future of Ellis Bird Farm to attract even more people to this beautiful site.”