JJNC Tegler 2
JJNC Tegler

John Janzen Nature Centre Wins National Education Program Design Award

The John Janzen Nature Centre was recently announced as the winner of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums’ Eleanore Oakes Award for Education Program Design. This award recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design that enhances conservation knowledge and/or promotes positive conservation attitudes and behavior. Successful submissions will demonstrate creativity, innovation, goal setting and include a means to measure success.

The John Janzen Nature Centre was closed for nearly two years, initially due to pandemic-related health restrictions and then for a significant exhibit replacement. During the closure period, Nature Centre staff, in funding partnership with the Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation, took the opportunity to refresh and reimagine both the indoor and outdoor public spaces of the facility.

A key goal of the exhibit replacement was to reframe and rebrand the John Janzen Nature Centre and better align with the newly adopted vision that John Janzen Nature Centre is a Stepping Stone to our local nature that inspires lasting impressions.  The completion of these projects, especially the Edmonton Urban Ecology exhibit room, goal was to offer additional animation and support to the interpretive story of the Nature Centre, helping to encourage visitors and school groups to value the natural environment in their own lives.

Edmonton boasts a diverse and extensive urban wildlife corridor with the North Saskatchewan River forming the backbone of this natural space. But even beyond this extensive network, urban wildlife exists all around us in areas such as backyards and planters to school yards, skyscraper rooftops and industrial areas.  Enhancements to the facility brought large scale representations of Edmonton’s seasonal beauty, bringing colour and vibrancy to some of the under-utilized spaces within the facility. The Edmonton Urban Ecology’s exhibit  introduces the local Edmonton ecoregion and the diverse wildlife that lives in it. It encourages visitors and school groups to explore Edmonton, our spaces and our consciousness to learn more and be better stewards.

Congratulations to the JJNC team and the Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation who funded the project. The project team was also a finalist for this year’s Charles Labatiuk Environmental Excellence Award.