As I head out to the pond with Max…thought I would post a bit of a flash back. I found a wee video in my archive, that I had made in 2011, the first year I began picking litter at this location and got into the ritual of circling the pond. Beneath the video, some photographs taken during the past week.
The drainage of the pond began and the people I spoke with promised that lots of volume would be left for the healthy fledging of the young birds. The project was stopped for a day so that the biologist who worked for the contractor could assess my concerns regarding the nests and the fledge. Readers, look at the following photographs and tell me about volume.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
Over the past two days, ‘they’ve’ been draining the water from one of the smaller wetlands that neighbours the pond at Frank’s Flats. I’ve been holding a bit of a grudge, given that, of course, multiple families of geese and waterfowl have already done their romancing and settled in. Changes will be even more dramatic when the 22X (Stoney Trail) expansion requires ‘them’ to interfere with the wetlands on the west side of Macleod Trail. I know. I know. This infringement upon wildlife and plant life is a constant struggle as human beings lay down more and more pavement, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t cause a person grief as they are witness to the process. Where are the advocates for wild life and who is listening? I sometimes wonder.
I met ‘a guy’ in one of those bright orange vests. Don’t ask me his position. It was a complicated title. I just nodded. He seemed interested that I pick litter and that I know anything at all about the wetlands. He participates in the annual river clean up. hmmm
He was out on that fine day, checking that everything was staked out and assured me that the remaining large trees would be coming down, but that on the first rip down, because of a specific time line and government regulations, as well as the distance from wetlands, they were required to leave the big ones for the sake of the ecosystem and the nesting birds. I explained that the magpies and crows….murders of them…were so distraught that for days they gathered in a single tree, yelling at the land. And yes…I did cry over the crows.
Due to the construction of a heavy duty drainage system last season, Enmax has not been able to properly maintain/facilitate the Osprey Platform on the Sikome Lake side. As a result Mother Goose has been there for almost five weeks. I’m thinking the goslings will either starve or fall off the platform. In the meantime two pair of Osprey have had to take up residence on top of sign platforms both directions on the loud and dangerous roadway. I don’t know how they will all manage.
Follow Up to This: The Fish Creek Conservation Officer returned my call, inquiring about this. I was assured of a couple of things. First, it is offence to mess with wildlife in any form, in its natural circumstance in a Provincial Park. Second, if a bird is nesting ANYWHERE, then this is natural to that bird. This gentleman had a very calm voice and was telling me the facts. At this point, I need to grow in acceptance of some of these circumstances where I make observations of birds/animals.
Nature will have to take it’s course.
I know that for the entire extent of the Stoney Trail’s development, wildlife, wetlands and trees/natural plants have been impacted. I know that I need to accept ‘progress’ here and in our beautiful park lands, including the Bow Valley Parkway. It’s just that I don’t think the general population receives all of the information as some of these projects go ahead at warp speed and gather a momentum that becomes destructive and insensitive to a wilderness/natural environment that we, as citizens of Alberta, generally, treasure.
Maybe this is a cliche, but our human population needs to slow down. Not good for economic climate? Tourism? Well…things to think about.
Today’s pelican…a senior, just like me. On its own, but it took flight, just after this photo was taken…something about Max, I think.
My friend, Julie, let me in on the very public location where Mrs. Great Horned Owl and her offspring are hanging out these days. These owlets will likely fledge within the next week. In the meantime, Max and I took pause, some distance away and watched. Of course, I cried. I was in awe that edging on a bike path, a mama could tend to her babes…so vulnerable, so strong, so absolutely magical. We need to realize that the species we share this planet with require our advocacy. We need to stop…and watch, learn and cherish. This is my plea as I write tonight.
Species that I have observed in the path of Stoney Trail development, presently. The mammals; coyotes and deer, have already vacated the paths I take.
…it is a magical thing to land in a spectacular ‘arts dream’ first thing on a Saturday morning…hot coffee, home made coffee cake and Reid Henry, first President and CEO of cSPACE projects…a yummy combination! Thanks to Reid for giving his personal time to tour us about the cSPACE and for sharing ‘the vision’. There is an extensive and mind-blowing website that I think MUST be journeyed. Here, my readers will be able to see the trip that has brought Calgary arts and residential interests together, a unique explosion of concepts fired up in what used to be the King Edward School. A huge architectural undertaking, the concept of providing for new artistic vision in our city is of paramount importance to Reid Henry. That is obvious.
Our presenter has over 16 years of experience working at the intersection of urban, cultural and economic development, with a focus on non-profit real estate projects. Evidenced by his session, he clearly articulates his passion for a collaborative and multi-disciplinary practice. His vision, as a part of a collective of other equally-inspired partners, will redevelop this three acre, inner city site, including the 45,000 square foot King Edward School built in 1912, to serve and include a diverse and creative community.
Eventually, this facility will become a mixed use, multi-tenant arts hub and incubator. It was a delight to hear and watch reactions expressed by various members of the tour group. We were captivated by the presentation AND the concept, mouths dropping as we rounded each corner.
While I wasn’t fully prepared to write today, it had to be done…so, perhaps, more to follow. A huge event is just around the corner at the cSPACE in the form of Phantom Wing, an event that precedes the official demolition of a wing, one big step on the way to a whole journey of steps.
“Here’s the thing: when you’re offered a pre-demolition space to make art in, it’s extremely hard to say no, despite your best intentions. When Deeter asked us to create a WRECK CITY at cSPACE King Edward School – the future home of a massive Arts Hub & Incubator intending to unite many of Calgary’s Artist Run Centres into an uber-mecca in 2016 – my initial response was “that’s impossible. WRECK CITY was all about independence and anti-institutionalism. How could we possibly repeat it?” It became more complicated when we began to discuss our responsibility to counter-culture, the necessity of independence, and the importance of letting the seed we planted with WRECK CITY germinate and grow – ya know, become it’s own thing.
However, the allure of checking out the space was too much for myself and my colleagues, and so we bit the bullet and went to see it. Of course, that was our first mistake. Our second mistake was allowing Deeter, an extremely charming and thoughtful fellow, to be so damn convincing. But we still weren’t entirely committed…
Deeter Schurig (cSPACE Project Manager) showing me the King Edward School space
Shortly after exploring the abandoned wing of King Edward School with Deeter, the Artist-Curators sat down as a collective to discuss the prospects of the project. Almost immediately it became evident that another WRECK CITY wouldbe impossible… but a new project would be entirely within the realm of imagination. After all, to be frank, we’re essentially opportunists. Plus, WRECK CITY wasn’t our first pre-demolition project and it won’t be our last (see The Leona Drive Project and The House Project). PHANTOM WING will be its own thing, with a healthy awareness of its origins and a mischievous/playful relationship with The King Edward’s institutional background. In the spirit of the future Arts Incubator, PHANTOM WING will work as an intimate, process-oriented opportunity, allowing a small selection of Artists/Curators a vast amount of space to think and work and build. And if it faintly echoes some of WRECK CITY’s awesome sense of community, then hey, who can complain?”
I wish to thank Reid Henry for his generous introduction of this space. I was overcome with a nostalgic feeling as we traveled the empty school hallways, but also filled with a feeling of anticipation and excitement at such a glorious development in our city. I am so grateful to the residents and the City of Calgary who have lived this process and made things happen, along with the initiatives of the visionaries. Thanks to Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary who seems to unbutton and reveal to us new and exciting things in the city all of the time!
Looking forward to attending Phantom Wing and other exciting projects. Following, some images that I hope will capture a sense of the unbuttoning…an art space to be watching as its development unfolds over the coming years.