Vernon's Allan Brooks Nature Centre to reopen on 20th anniversary - InfoNews

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Vernon's Allan Brooks Nature Centre to reopen on 20th anniversary

The new wood log playground at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Allan Brooks Nature Centre
June 30, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Three months later than usual, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre is reopening its doors on Canada Day – 20 years to the day since it first opened.

The pandemic delayed the nature centre from its normal springtime opening but is now open Tuesday to Saturday for the rest of the summer.

While there are changes - a maximum of 50 people can be on-site at one time, and things are less hands-on than usual - the centre is reopening with a brand new wood log playground, new viewpoint signs and a readjusted interpretive centre.

"It's a place to come and have fun and play and learn," Allan Brooks Nature Centre manager Cheryl Hood told "People can come up and just enjoy being outside in nature... it's a great place to have a picnic."

The centre's new wood log playground is sure to be a hit with children, and while COVID-19 has made the centre's interpretive centre less hands-on than previously, there's still lots to see, from birds eggs to live salamander newts.

Perched on a hill just outside Vernon, the nine-acre site boast 360 degrees views of Okanagan, Kalamalka and Swan Lakes, and looks out onto five different ecosystems. It's a success story that opened on July 1, 2000.

The late Ken Barton, together with a group of naturalists saw a possible chance to establish a centre at the site, where an old Environment Canada weather station had closed down a few years early.

"They had this idea... to bring people and get them to learn about the Okanagan Valley and its biosphere and flora, its floral, because we're so unique in all of Canada," Hood said. "We go from the desert all the way up to alpine all within 20 mins."

The Centre was named after Mayor Allan Brooks, a naturalist who lived in Vernon in the early 1900s and had his work published in National Geographic, and whose 1,800 painting sit in private and public collections around the world.

Over the last 20 years, the nature centre has had a very strong focus on education, bringing programs to school children all over the region.

While this year maybe a little different Hood encourages people to come out and enjoy the site and what it has to offer. On a recent walk, she spotted 23 different species of birds. If your "lucky" she says you may spot a great basin gopher snake.

"You do feel like you're out of the city when you're up here," she said. "It gets you back into nature."

The Allan Brooke Nature Centre is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Entry is by donation.

For more information go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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