Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society
Our Story Why We Exist
I remember swimming at Sikome Aquatic Facility when I was 10 years old, watching the trucks drive over the bridge across the Bow River along Highway 22X, and thinking that Fish Creek Provincial Park really was on the edge of the city. That was long before neighborhoods like McKenzie Towne, Cranston, Auburn Bay, Chapparal and Silverado were developed - and Shawnessy and Evergreen were under construction. Growing up in Deer Ridge, I was always thankful to live so close to this park and enjoyed many visits to Sikome, Mallard Point and the vast grassland area along the Bow River. I always had the impression that the park was a wild place, far away from the stresses of school, parents and city life, a place where I could be alone and relax, or spend time with friends without grownups around. In the past 20 years the city of Calgary has grown and literally engulfed the park. Each year more people enjoy the park, but the potential impact on this area also increases. Fish Creek is a truly unique and amazing area that all Calgarians are fortunate to have as an extension of our own backyard. The Friends of Fish Creek exists so that people can enjoy the park and all it has to offer, and work to raise awareness about preserving this valuable natural resource so future generations will enjoy it as much we do today.
Our Impact What We Do
Fish Creek Provincial Park is one of the largest urban parks in Canada and is an extensive protected natural area with much to offer. The park is a place to appreciate and experience nature close to home, be active, spend time with family, and relax and unwind in this beautiful, unique setting.
Fish Creek Provincial Park receives over 3 million visitors a year. It is a major recreational facility for the surrounding communities and has been a mainstay of family recreation for close to 40 years. The park’s ecosystems need to be protected. Financial and voluntary contributions to the Friends of Fish Creek are reinvested into the park and the majority of volunteer programs the Friends offer have measurable and visible impacts.
HISTORY - The Friends of Fish Creek was incorporated as a Registered Charity in 1994 and for the past 20 years we have been dedicated to preserving this park for the benefit of the people who depend on it. We collaborate with park management, volunteers, community organizations and Society members, the majority of whom live within the nearby communities.
The Friends of Fish Creek office is located at the Cookhouse in the historical Bow Valley Ranch area of Fish Creek Provincial Park. We started as volunteer-run non-profit organization and now have 4 staff members, additional support staff, over 700 Society members, approx. 400 volunteers, many of whom are high-skilled volunteers with a wealth of knowledge to share, over 100 community partners throughout the city and province, including local businesses, community associations, non-profit groups and local media outlets.
The Friends create informed park users by engaging community members through public awareness and encouraging the responsible use and enjoyment of Fish Creek Provincial Park. Through environmental education and the fostering of ecological literacy, the Friends inspire stewards to respect the park as an amazing natural resource for the community to enjoy.
MISSON - To engage the community through education and awareness to conserve a truly unique naturalized urban park.
VISION - A sustainable Fish Creek Provincial Park that improves the quality of life for present and future generations.
Our Programs How We Do It
The Friends collaborate with volunteers to deliver programs, courses, events and activities throughout the year to help create informed users and preserve the ecological integrity of the park. New Wellness programs such as Yoga, Guided Meditation and Running Clinics provide innovative ways for people to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with nature in Fish Creek.
PARK TOURS - In the Summer of 2014 we expanded on the Minibus program to include tours of the park that focus on the unique geology of this area, the wetlands, natural features, unique history, nature photography as well as private tours. Minibus tours provide people with accessibility issues and mobility problems a means to experience Fish Creek Provincial Park. Participation at community outreach events in the nearby communities enable the Friends to connect with and engage people about who we are, what we do and how they can help preserve the park.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS - Long standing educational programs like Speaker Series and the Birding Courses are primarily volunteer-run and attract hundreds of people a year to the park. These programs help inform community members about the wonders of the natural world both in and around Fish Creek Provincial Park, strengthen our message of environmental conservation and appreciation, and help increase the Society’s reach and the number of members we have.
YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR PARK - The majority of our educational programs receive little or no funding but are made possible by our skilled staff and dedicated volunteers. You can support the Friends by volunteering, making a donation, joining our new Park Protector monthly donor program, or by joining us as a member.
In the 2012– 13 school year 3,678 students between grades K—6 were provided with an unforgettable learning experience in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Through the TD Learning Naturally program, children from 31 economically disadvantaged schools learned firsthand about the wonders of the natural world through programs like Insect Intrigue, Wildlife Cycles, Plant Communities, Wetlands, Tree Tales, the Fish Creek Family, Fish Creek Land Histories and Stories, and more.
This essential program has never been funded by the Provincial Government and its continuation is in jeopardy. The Friends of Fish Creek need your support in helping this program continue. Each programming day costs approx. $500 and enables 50 kids to learn about nature in Fish Creek Provincial Park. You can now support this program with a onetime donation of $20, $50, $100, $125, $250, $500 or another amount. Please consider this opportunity to enrich the life of a young person who otherwise would not have been afforded this opportunity. 100% of your generous donation will go directly to funding Learning Naturally and encouraging environmental stewardship in the next generation. You will receive a valuable tax receipt for your donation.
Volunteers help the Friends every single day in an endless number of ways. Volunteers help with special event planning and delivery (both in and outside of the park), Park Watch, Trail Care, Weed Whackers, Tree Wrapping, office help and many more programs throughout the year.
Our main goals are to:
- Raise awareness about environmental sustainability issues in Fish Creek by strengthening and enhancing our approaches to public awareness.
- Expand network of high-skilled volunteers, and improve and broaden partnerships with community organizations.
- Make the park more accessible to a wider range of people through education and community engagement.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Become a Park Protector and Help Protect and Preserve Fish Creek Provincial Park!
- Park Protectors help keep administrative costs to a minimum, which means more of your donation will go to support our programs, courses and events in Fish Creek and local communities.
- You will receive regular updates on how your donation is making a difference as well as a valuable tax receipt.
- To become a Park Protector click here.
Dedicate a Bench in Fish Creek
- Have you seen Friends of Fish Creek benches in the park? These beautiful cedar and steel structures provide park visitors with a place to sit and enjoy nature.
- A personalized plaque on the bench will express the affection and support you or the person to whom the bench is dedicated have for this amazing area.
- To dedicate a bench in Fish Creek click here.
Estate Planning – Leave a Lasting Legacy
- Legacy (Planned Giving) gifts allow you to make a future donation to the Friends of Fish Creek without affecting your current financial circumstances.
- Regardless of the size of your planned gift you can be sure that your gift will continue to make a lasting and Vital impact on the park that you care for.
- Your legacy will help ensure that the important programs operated or sponsored by the Friends of Fish Creek can continue to be maintained and expand, thanks to your generosity.
- To include Fish Creek in your estate planning click here.