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John Janzen Nature Centre Expansion is Naturally Fun

New John Janzen Nature Center

September 07, 2011

Young Edmontonians are buzzing like bees and scampering like squirrels at the newly opened and expanded John Janzen Nature Centre.
The renovated facility includes the new Tegler Discovery Zone, an interpretive play space where children under the age of 11 can experience the habitats of river valley wildlife from the point of view of a squirrel, a beaver or even a bee.

In late September, Edmontonians will be able to climb the stairs to the top of the building to learn about roof top planting and gardening. Interpretive information will be available to help visitors learn how they can use select plant species in their gardens to support local wildlife and encourage the use of green roofs on new building projects.
“The John Janzen Nature Centre is a unique and special place in our city,” said Linda Cochrane, General Manager, Community Services. “In the midst of Edmonton’s urban environment, this is a place where children, and adults, gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of nature.”
“Facilities like this are transforming Edmonton and reflect City Council’s commitment to building a vibrant city that is welcoming to all and offers residents a variety of opportunities to enjoy a high quality of life,” said Councillor Bryan Anderson.

“The Government of Canada is proud to have contributed towards the expansion of the John Janzen Nature Centre,” said James Rajotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton–Leduc, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “With the completion of this important initiative, both residents and visitors alike can more fully experience and learn about our city’s natural environment, as well as benefit from enhanced programs, events, exhibits and educational opportunities for years to come.”

“The indoor play structures were designed to allow children inside habitats they can’t normally have safe access to in the wild – looking up through ice from below, crawling through a squirrel’s underground home, or peeking inside a beaver lodge,” said Dave McInnes, Past President of the Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation. “It is our hope that parents, teachers and interpretive staff can help children draw connections between what they see and explore in the Tegler Discovery Zone to what they see in parks and their own back yards in Edmonton.”
The total budget for the expansion project was $2.7 million. Other renovations included landscaping, improvements to make the building more accessible, a family washroom and upgraded heating and cooling systems.

Funding for the project came from the City of Edmonton ($1.1 million), the Government of Canada’s Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program ($801,000) and the Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation ($800,000), which received generous contributions from the Tegler Trust, the Allard Foundation, The Edmonton Community Foundation, Joyce Mustard Family, the Government of Alberta’s Community Facilities Enhancement Program and Alberta Gaming. 
The official opening also recognized the contribution of Edmonton artist Genevieve Simms to the project. Her painting depicts former City of Edmonton Parks and Recreation Superintendent John Janzen. The design uses symbols of nature – plants, animals and water – and breaks them down into shapes, colours and patterns to create a fitting tribute to the Nature Centre’s namesake.
The City of Edmonton supports public art as a way of enhancing the experience of living in Edmonton. Public artworks are funded through the City’s Percent for Art policy, which devotes one percent of funds from City capital projects to art. The program is administered by the Edmonton Arts Council.
The John Janzen Nature Centre is open from 10am to 6pm on weekdays, and from 11am to 5pm on weekends and holidays. It is located next to Fort Edmonton Park. Admission to the Nature Centre is $5 per person (ages two and older) or $10 per family (two adults and all children under 18 years old living in the same household). Admission is free for each adult accompanying a child and for children under two years of age. 
To learn more about the John Janzen Nature Centre visit www.edmonton.ca/naturecentre