Wagner Natural Area (Photo by NCC)

Wagner Natural Area (Photo by NCC)

Wagner Natural Area searching for stewardship volunteers

Wagner Natural Area (Photo by NCC)

Wagner Natural Area (Photo by NCC)

To many of its visitors, Wagner Natural Area (WNA) provides a place for spiritual nourishment. The 620-acre (251-hectare) property is easily accessible from Edmonton, located west of the city along Highway 16 in Parkland County.

Once owned by William Wagner, this area was protected in 1971 because of its outstanding natural features.

Among those features are fens — a special type of wetland. The fens may be open, with islands of low vegetation lying within shallow, whitish ponds known as marl ponds, or they may be forested with coniferous trees such as spruce and tamarack.

In WNA, groundwater carried through underground layers of sand and gravel, called aquifers, surfaces as natural springs. This groundwater is critical to the continued existence of WNA.

Over the years, considerable development has taken place around the site, which can affect the water quality entering the area. Because water is the lifeblood of WNA, not only must its land base be protect but also its water supply.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been involved with the WNA since its inception and continues to remain invested in securing land to increase the size of WNA and to stay involved in the interests of the area.

WNA is home to several unique and threatened plants. It is an area where one can take a leisurely stroll on the one-and-a-half kilometre Marl Pond Trail loop and enjoy the beauty, peace and varied natural habitats.

Since 1983, the area has been managed by a volunteer steward group, called the Wagner Natural Area Society (WNAS), which holds a recreational lease on the land through Alberta Environment and Parks. The objectives of the society are to preserve the area’s ecological integrity, ensure the preservation of the character and biological diversity of the area, promote its appreciation by the public and maintain the area as a resource for nature education and research.

The society’s members volunteer their time to manage the natural area, and from this group a board of directors, as well as an executive, handle the administrative and society responsibilities. There are regular board meetings, an annual general meeting, an open house and events during the year.

WNAS provides many different opportunities for those who love to be in nature, have a desire to protect natural areas and want to give of their time to help maintain the area. WNAS would like to increase their membership base and volunteers. Volunteers can help with monthly monitoring, promotion and protection activities, special projects, educational activities, leading walks and working at the group's spring and fall site cleanups.

The Wagner Natural Area Society depends on its membership to consider serving on the board after first helping in other capacities and getting to know what’s involved in managing the area.

Please consider becoming a member (only $10) and volunteering at the Wagner Natural Area. For more information, email info@wagnerfen.ca  and check out the website.

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