By Mabell, Dave on January 9, 2020.
Spectacular birds, plants and habitats will be among highlights of a five-event travel series over the coming months.
Opening Jan. 20, the annual Travel Adventures series provides an opportunity for southern Alberta’s “world travellers” to share their adventures and photographs.
Botanist Lyndon Penner will open the series at 7 p.m. with “Spectacular Birds of Australia and New Zealand,” two destinations that have long fascinated naturalists, botanists, and bird watchers.
With their wildlife and flora evolving largely in isolation, he notes, the two nations are home to some of the world’s most incredible species and some of the world’s most beautiful birds.
Having lived and travelled in these places, Penner will bring a colourful, lively presentation about some of these countries’ most spectacular and wonderful birds. They include parakeets that work as pollinators, improbable fairy wrens, flightless emus and kiwi birds.
Joanna Fraser will share her explorations of Pantanal and Iguazu National Park in Brazil at 2 p.m. on Jan. 31. The Pantanal is a UNESCO World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve – and the largest floodable plain on the planet.
It’s also home to over 625 species of birds, and adventure traveller Fraser will include many in highlights of her “off the beaten path” visit last November. She will also show Iguazu Falls on a trip to this spectacle of 275 falls she made during the rainy season in November 2015.
Carol Leriger and Rick Andrews will offer a visual tour of Lima and Cusco, Peru during a 2 p.m. presentation on Feb. 28. Their story will continue with a visit through the Inca Sacred Valley to the archaeological sites of Chinchero and Ollantaytambo.
Next, they’ll show their ascent into the Andes Mountains and the 15th century Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, before closing with more images of the Iguazu Falls straddling the borders of Argentina and Brazil.
Best-selling “Birds of Alberta” author Chris Fisher will take guests on a worldwide visual journey at 2 p.m. on March 27, seeking birds and meaning. For more than five years, he worked as lecturer on ships in which he explored every continent and more than 160 ports around the world.
From Alaska to the Antarctic and Stockholm to Samoa, Fisher found birds and other wildlife were a constant but ever-changing companion on his voyages. His presentation is meant to be not only a natural history showcase, but an opportunity to show how wildlife encounters enrich human lives and have become meaningful symbols for cultures past and present.
Closer to home, an exploration of the Kootenay Plains will conclude the series at 2 p.m. on April 24. Derry Armstrong and Jessica Deacon-Rogers will profile the unique grassland and forest mosaic, shielded within the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
It’s home to many species of rare plants, it provides important habitat for wildlife and it has been a culturally significant area for thousands of years. Their presentation aims to provide a unique perspective about the importance of connecting to place.
Each presentation is open to all interested, with admission by donation in support of the centre’s Growing the Grassroots Endowment Fund.
Reserved seating is available online by donating to the Friends of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre Society by visiting https://naturecentre.ca/news/travel2020.
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