Prince’s Island Park: Constructed Wetland

It was such a pleasure to discover a constructed wetland in the heart of Calgary, Canada. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it was even there until I finally walked to the far side of Prince’s Island Park the other day. I used to work beside the entrance to Prince’s Island Park so I am amazed that I never knew about the wetland. Obviously, if you are close to the river at all in Calgary, you will notice the large population of Canada Geese and various duck species but you would never guess that there is a wetland tucked into the park. The wetland was created to treat storm water before it enters the Bow River, but it also acts as a new habitat for lots of species and increases the biodiversity of the area.

This amazing work has been carried out by the Alberta Conservation Association. By artificially damming water and planting carefully selected plants like Wood’s Rose, Balsam Poplar and Slender Wheatgrass, they have developed a very impressive constructed wetland.

After the initial construction, it is up to nature to take over and that is definitely what has happened here. Whilst walking around the wetland area, you are surrounded by waterfowl, mostly Canada Goose, Mallard and the American Widgeon and the trees that line the pathway are filled with birds. I was treated to a sighting of my first North American Water Vole which was swimming between the banks of the wetland.

North American Water Vole (Microtus richardsoni)

Wetlands are an extremely important and useful ecosystem that we need to preserve and learn more about. I love that the pathway takes you all around the wetland banks on Prince’s Island and is filled with information signage to help teach people more about the importance of the flora and fauna of this special habitat. Constructed wetlands are a concept that other large cities should be thinking about; they increase biodiversity, improve water quality and can act as a buffer zone against floods, storms and other extreme weather events, especially along coastlines.

Calgary New Central Library

I visited the new Calgary Public Library located downtown at the weekend and was I amazed to see large crowds filled all four floors. As I arrived at the steps to the entrance I was overwhelmed by the amazing architecture that stood before me. The wooden infrastructure is a beautiful addition to such an urban space.

As soon as I walked in the door I just felt excitement, I wanted to explore every inch of the building. The building was bustling and I was eager to scale the stairs to see as much as possible. The large windows throughout the building give a great view of the surrounding city. If like me, you like a view with your coffee and a book then this is the perfect place. Yes, there is a coffee shop so you can enjoy a nice latte when you visit.

We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story while we’re here; you, me, us, together… we change the world one story at a time.

Richard Wagamese

It was inspiring to see the children’s section full and how the kids were enjoying the culture, art, education, games and overall fun offered at the library. We need to make these types of educational spaces a place that the younger generation want to visit and I feel that this has been accomplished here.

It is safe to say that I am a geography nerd so when I spotted a cartography section, I was very excited. There are both modern and historical maps of Calgary and widespread Canada which offer lots of interesting information. There are so many things other than books that you can explore here.

We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth

John Lubbock

I can’t wait to take another trip to the library and hope people will keep visiting in such large numbers.