April 25th, 2024

Alberta Wildlife Federation conference opens at Medalta

By Medicine Hat News on February 24, 2024.

022424- Attendees within Medalta at the opening of the AWF conference on Thursday night. -- News Photo Anna Smith

@MedicineHatNews

Hunters, conservationists, and nature enthusiasts alike gathered at Medalta Thursday to open the Alberta Wildlife Federation conference and general meeting.

This year boasts a turnout of roughly 200 people over the course of the three-day event. It’s the second year they have been able to host the event since the pandemic.

“We have representation from numerous clubs from across the province. And there’ll be educational sessions and speakers talking all day tomorrow,” said Kelly Carter, the CEO of the Alberta Wildlife Federation at the opening.

“And then we’ll be doing our annual conference or annual general meeting on Saturday. And then we’ll kind of cap it off with the President’s dinner and award ceremony that evening.”

The federation is pleased with the turnout, which exceeds last year’s 160 attendees at the Renaissance Hotel in Edmonton. Keller acknowledged that the location also makes the higher number of registered attendees impressive.

“It’s always difficult when you’re going to different corners of the province because it’s a lot further for people to drive,” said Carter. “One person drove 10 hours today just to get here, over 1,000 kilometres.

“But a lot of our members are very dedicated and supportive of our mission and our mandate, and they see the importance of being here.”

Some of the highlights of the educational sessions include the Executive Director of the BC Wildlife Federation giving a lesson on the effect of fires on wildlife and habitats, as well as people.

Carter notes that this session will be particularly relevant with the fire season in Alberta being declared early this year.

“We also have updates on chronic wasting disease,” said Carter. “And that’s something that I know is on top of mind for a number of people; we’ve been dealing with it in Alberta for quite a while.

“And so to get an update from the leading expert in Alberta is going to be fantastic for people to hear.”

Medicine Hat Mayor Linnsie Clark gave the opening address at 7 p.m, welcoming locals and visitors alike to the city and the conference.

“I just want to express how grateful I am for each and every one of you I know it’s not easy, but the balance of our ecosystem is critical to human health, human life, human enjoyment, and the enjoyment of our communities,” said Clark.

“Growing up on a ranch, being able to go down to the pond to catch frogs. There’s a sense of peace associated with it,” said Clark.

“There’s something so special about it and I wish every child could experience that. So for all the work you do you have my undying gratitude.”

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