Parks Canada had planned “Explore Dragonfly Life” at Eptek Art and Culture Centre on Sunday to enhance the current exhibit “Canada’s Waterscapes: Yours to Enjoy, Explore and Protect”, but the varied forecast of storm conditions resulted in a postponement until next month.
Nonetheless, Eptek Centre was open, and visitors who came to see the presentation got the opportunity to spend more time exploring the travelling exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
“Canada’s Waterscapes: Yours to Enjoy, Explore and Protect” is set up in a series of kiosks detailing each of the various types of water environments found in Canada, from headwaters to oceans, and the connections between.
In addition to reconstructions of the various natural habitats, the kiosks feature information booklets that engage the viewer to explore details. Tips on plant and animal identification are enlivened by multi-sensory aids.
Kathy Stuart decided to fit the exhibition into her schedule during a visit from Meadowbank. As a retired teacher of Island Studies at UPEI, she has a strong interest in educating the public about waterscapes, especially as they affect P.E.I.
“It’s just a fabulous, interactive exhibit; lots to do, educational, fun and everybody should see it,” she assessed.
Stuart earned a master of arts degree in Island Studies from UPEI — which underlines her professional interest — but she is also a landowner, adding a personal viewpoint.
“I’m very interested in marshes and woodlands and all the environmental concerns that we have on the Island. Because it’s an island we don’t have a hinterland but we have a lot of rivers and estuaries that are very important to us.”
She is pleased with the range of information offered by the compact exhibit, such as how climate change may affect the St. Lawrence River system or how changing waterscapes may influence migration patterns of birds and sea life.
“It gets you thinking about our own environment. There’s things here for everyone across Canada, and we can learn from this, but there are things that are specific to us,” she said about the scope of the exhibit.
“For the whooping crane, there is a diary of the bird leaving Florida and going up north, so that makes you really think about what the animals are dealing with as they (migrate). That could be applied to any of our marine birds and animals.”
Stuart tries to raise awareness about the issues with friends but admits many don’t have a clue about the intricacies of the environment.
She knows visitors will take what they want from an exhibit like this, but appreciates that it highlights important issues that can be explored further.
Stuart noted that the exhibit is timely, with the 7th Canadian River Heritage Conference scheduled to take place in Charlottetown June 16 to 19.
That event is expected to attract nearly 500 international participants, including river managers and advocates, as well as representatives of First Nations, government, industry, science research and education.
“Canada’s Waterscapes: Yours to Enjoy, Explore and Protect” is open at the Eptek Centre Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays 12 to 4. Admission is by donation.
The dragonfly presentation has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 24, in French at 1 p.m. and in English at 2 p.m.