Children play with virtual reality nature during a field trip at NCC's Escape into Nature event. (Photo by Mark Taylor)

Children play with virtual reality nature during a field trip at NCC's Escape into Nature event. (Photo by Mark Taylor)

Nature lovers escape Canadian winter in an NCC art gallery nature set-up

The week-long celebration of NCC’s new securement was a combination of museum, art, and nature

NCC President and CEO John Lounds views NCC nature sites in virtual reality with the Honourable Ralph Goodale. (Photo by Mark Taylor)

NCC President and CEO John Lounds views NCC nature sites in virtual reality with the Honourable Ralph Goodale. (Photo by Mark Taylor)

It was a week-long celebration of conservation that moved the great outdoors into a Regina neighbourhood. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) filled the Art Gallery of Regina with the sounds of birds and projections of NCC’s nature sites on the walls surrounded visitors.

Native plant species were on display, an interactive map let children learn where different animals could be found, and the public could experience NCC’s nature sites from across Saskatchewan through virtual reality goggles.

“Very lovely,” said Sheldon Krug, who visited after hearing about the space on the news. “What a nice escape from dreary winter. The bird song was especially uplifting.”

The event was a way of celebrating NCC’s recent securement in southwest Saskatchewan — Wideview. It’s a place of rolling hills and temperate grasslands, the most endangered ecosystem in the world.

The Hounorable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and MP for Regina-Wascana, joined in the announcement. The Government of Canada contributed substantial funding for the project through the Natural Areas Conservation Program.

“Supporting this important wildlife habitat conservation initiative through the Natural Areas Conservation Program will also help provide great spaces for families to explore by foot and enjoy the natural wonders of this area,” Goodale said.

The public was given a chance to not only escape the cold and experience nature, but to also learn about the importance of conservation. Children came to the Art Gallery for field trips throughout the week, many who had never had the opportunity to see those grasslands areas except through virtual reality at the event.

At the end of the week, several visitors announced they would visit the new Wideview property as soon as the warm weather hits.

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