The Kerry Wood Nature Centre has recently added a new addition, the Red Deer River aquarium. The aquarium gives visitors the chance to see and understand what is going on beneath the surface of the river, something people wouldn’t often see due to the murkiness of the rushing water.

“The new aquarium is a 150-gallon look into the Red Deer River and specifically the section of the Red Deer River that the people of Red Deer are familiar with. It is representative from the Dickson Dam to the Content Bridge,” explained Todd Nivens, Executive Director for the Waskasoo Environmental Society.

The Aquarium had been planned and even built to be incorporated in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre’s 2015 renovations, but the project was left unfinished due to lack of funding. However, this year they were able to finish the tank all thanks to Dow Chemical who provided the funding to finish the display and additional educational programming.

“When we were awarded the Dow Gives Community grant that was the kick start we needed. That grant funded the tank, filtration, the consultant that came and put it all together for us, all the supplies that go along with running the fish tank, the permitting costs, and project management costs. It really took us a long way and without Dow, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Nivens.

The fish included in the aquarium are fish that can most commonly be found in the Red Deer River including burbot, two goldeyes, and a small walleye. In a sense, each fish explains some sort of story about the Red Deer River. The eel-like burbot showcases the hidden often less explored part of the river, the goldeyes make up a large population of the Red Deer River, and finally, the walleye is representative of populations in threat.

So far, the tank has already been used by a few of the Nature Centre’s day camps and is expected to be put to use by schools during the school year.

“It lets us run education programming around making sure that we’re stewarding our waste as effectively as we can and as positively as we can.”

By being able to actually see the wildlife living in the Red Deer River, the Nature Centre hopes to inspire a sense of responsibility in the tanks visitors to consider their waste management and think of ways that we might be able to protect the river and the aquatic friends we might find there.

Additionally, if you are interested in protecting and maintaining the Red Deer River the Kerry Wood Nature Centre will be hosting Shoreline Cleanup on September 8, 2019.