Last years Annual Fall Walk: The annual event held at the JJ Collett Natural Area, about four kilometres south of Morningside off RR 261, saw around 45 people show up on a somewhat chilly Sept. 29. Everyone seemed to enjoy the time spent trekking around the numerous trails and the barbecue that followed. Charley and Laurence for leading the walks. The next big event will be the Spring Walk in May. Photos submitted

A walk with Charley Bird

The JJ Collett Provincial Natural Area Foundation is hosting their annual fall walk

On Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. the JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation is hosting their Annual Fall Walk. The walk will be led by naturalist Charley Bird.

“We’ll have two option, people can walk with Charley – he tends to do a shorter very informative walk – and then if someone wants to maybe go a little bit faster and a little bit further, we’ll have another walk available as well. Or people can go explore on their own,” said Nancy Giles, a volunteer board member with the JJ Collett Foundation.

Giles said the foundation is connected with the Medicine River Wildlife Centre. If the centre has a bird that is ready to be released, they will release it during the fall walk.

“If there is a bird that needs to be rehabilitated JJ Collett is a perfect area because it has everything that bird needs,” explained Giles. “It has that safety of being a large natural area.”

This is the first walk the foundation has hosted this year. The spring walk was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Giles said social distancing will be followed as per COVID rules. There will be refreshments and dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

“There is no registration or fee, but we will always encourage donations because we are a volunteer-run program,” said Giles. “We do have to upkeep the area, so we do need a little bit of funding for that.”

The JJ Collett Natural Area is located near Morningside. It features 18km of maintained trails and is 635 acres of Aspen Parkland with underlain ancient sand dunes.

“Some of the great things about the walk is just seeing, at this time of year, the beautiful colours and the wildlife … It’s a beautiful area and we just want people to be more aware of what is in our backyard,” said Giles.

The JJ Collet Foundation is hosting their AGM on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Ponoka Legion.

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