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Nature First to host inaugural gala event

Celebrating nature
Members of Nature First Airdrie and Rocky View Foundation gathered Aug. 23, 2018, to celebrate the group receiving not-for-profit society status and to unveil its new logo. The organization is hosting a gala April 5 to provide an update about the project and its goals.

Nature First Airdrie and the Rocky View Foundation will be hosting a gala event April 5 to allow residents to learn more about what the Nature First non-profit society hopes to accomplish.

“We want to introduce our foundation to Airdrie and to our members, and just share what we’re all about,” said Nature First president Liz Wood. “It’s an opportunity to bring us forward into the community so people can find out more about us.”

The foundation’s Imagine Beyond 2019 event will feature a cash bar with cocktails and mingling starting at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Bert Church LIVE Theatre, she said, followed by a brief presentation at 7:30 p.m. and the action of artworks created by local painters Glen Collin and Cindy Zampa at 8:30 p.m.

“One of our local artists, Glen Collin, will be doing one original painting right on site, so people can watch him paint throughout the event and we’ll be auctioning that off at the end of the evening,” Wood said.

Nature First was given non-profit society status in August 2018, she said, and is currently waiting to receive its charitable status. According to Wood, the process has been time-consuming, but the organization is excited to move forward and grow its membership.

“We really need to get the word out that, with all the building happening around us, it’s important to preserve our lifestyle with wildlife habitat,” she said. “There are animals out there that need to grow in their own natural habitats, and I think we can sometimes forget about that.”

The society works in co-operation with community partners to support local development that respects this concept, Wood said – development that ensures sufficient natural habitat will be set aside and incorporated into growth planning.

"This will allow our natural species to flourish, so they might remain in the area to thrive and grow in a sustainable manner and provide educational opportunities well into the future,” she said. “I think we need to think about that, what we will have to show our children years from now.”

Once the organization receives its charitable status, Wood said, it will move forward with pursuing available grants and fundraising opportunities to support legacy projects for the conservation of wildlife habitat.

"I know there are people out there who enjoy hiking and enjoying nature, like taking pictures of birds,” she said. “But a lot of our species are slowly becoming extinct. And at the end of the day, if we want this for our future, we need to preserve that beauty – but right now, it’s getting run over by roads and buildings.”

This gala event will be the foundation’s first-ever event of its own. While Wood said the organization participated in AirdrieFEST in September 2018, this is the first initiative hosted by Nature First. According to Wood, the event is an opportunity to invite the community out to support the project and preserve valuable conservation land within Airdrie.

“A lot of people don’t recognize us, yet, as a non-profit society,” she said. “We’re trying to get the word out there – the more the word is out there, the more people will hear our passion for this, and they may share that same passion and hop on board.”

The event is offered free of charge, but Wood said anyone interested in attending should email [email protected] in advance. For more information about Nature First, visit

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