FTLComm - Tisdale - April 8, 1999  

There are times when doing a story and pictures for Ensign is more then just enjoyable, instead there is a satisfaction in sharing with others a special moment. Earlier this year I attempted to see this Wildlife Sanctuary but the road was blocked, but on Wednesday with dazzling sunlight and the temperature around +12, I went out to see what this place was all about. Within minutes I discovered it is going to take years to find out what the Jones Sanctuary is about, perhaps even a lifetime.

A half section of land has been donated as a wildlife sanctuary and already has three well developed and marked nature trails.

My visit is in that wistful time of year between winter and the growth that accompanies spring. My goal in visiting the site was to get some idea about the work the Tisdale Wildlife Federation has put into the project and get some idea of the potential of the sanctuary.
Though that seems like a reasonable set of objectives it was a mistake. Apparently nature, though tuned right into the changes in seasons goes right along and there was far more to see and experience then just getting the lay of the land.

The three developed trails are well marked with sign posts indicating the points of interest and each trail is easy to follow and places little demands on bush skills. The placing of benches along the routes means that people of all ages can enjoy this experience and sit down and take in the environment with a sense of leisure and let the stillness sock in. The signs shown hear mark the layout for each trail and give the visitor an idea about how long it will take and the sort of thing they can be watching for. I took these in then simply made the assumption that this was for other times and for right now I will just get some pictures of the area.

The original farm yard is the focus of the park with
several stands of outstanding spruce trees almost
forty feet tall. The stand on the left run along an
area that was once a garden and part of this project
is to have a "species garden" in this large plot.

The old farm house is still standing amidst the trees
and helps to remind the visitor that this was once a
working farm and the family who for generations
lived here made the decision to share this land and
what lives on and around it with others. For this I
personally am grateful.

Beside the parking area are a number of picnic tables
that will provide visitors with a place to rest and reflect
on the things they have seen on the trails.

I decided to begin by looking over the water fowl trail and headed North to the large pond where the trail follows along the shore offering the visitor a view of a great marsh and with this well developed blind to observe the birds. At the end of the trail is a look out tower to get a better view. I strolled down to the blind and snapped the pictures you see, the one below is from inside the blind, which gives you some idea of the view from this vantage point. As I headed back I was surprised to hear the sound of geese and behind me the sky was covered with a large flock of geese that had been peacefully observing me from the pond while I took my pictures, it never crossed my mind that already this marsh was full of life and the new year cycle of life had already begun.

On my way back up from the pond I was aware of the complete indifference I was being given by a very industrious and single minded squirrel. Somewhere in the bramble on the right is the squirrel. I asked him what he was doing and though he did move away from me, he did not give me any satisfaction about the business he was in.

The Tisdale Wildlife Federation have been as busy as the squirrel as they have set out all around the sanctuary a wide variety of bird houses designed for specific species. Most are marked with so the visitor and check them off on the guide pamphlets available from the Tisdale Tourist Booth.
Because this is the shortest trail I decided I should walk it and get some idea of what the trails show. I was almost immediately overwhelmed with the beauty of the place even without any foliage as it is a dramatic old stand of aspen trees. The first butterfly that fluttered by me I mistook for a reflection on my glasses, the second stopped me cold, black with indigo and yellow markings and my camera in its bag.

The trail markers point out the important things to observer and they only get the highlights, there is much more.
With a digital camera you don't run out of film you
run out of memory and that's what happened to me.
So many great scenes, images that need to be recorded experiences to be cherished. This place is five miles
from Tisdale (two miles West, two miles South and
about a half mile West).

Clearly my spring visit was just an appetiser, a little
taste of what is to come and next time I am bringing
my long lens film camera and video camera.

What a treasure, the Jones family for many generations
had the luxury of this setting and now we too can
share in this tranquil and remarkable location.