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ACAD Students Create One-of-a-Kind Designs for Nature Centre

A series of illustrations created by design students at the Alberta College of Art + Design are on display at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

Wings of Change
Interpretive panel 'Wings of Change' by Michelle Morean

The artwork highlights all the different types of bird species, wildlife and nature people may see while visiting the sanctuary. Many of the birds and wildlife depicted in the artwork, though, are not just limited to the sanctuary, they can also be seen in many of Calgary’s other parks.

“Visitors will now be able to make better connections with what they see out at the park,” says Kym McCulley, Environmental & Education Initiatives Lead, City of Calgary Parks.

“For instance, people may now be more aware of why a particular species of bird is at the sanctuary even though it’s the middle of January or why it’s important to keep natural areas intact and untouched.”

Mixed grass and prairie planter wrap
Portion of the mixed grass and prairie planter wrap by Christer Guillergan

The artwork is an important element in helping to make people’s experience at the park educational, fun and memorable.

Iris Wong, one of the student designers, couldn’t agree more.

“It was a fun challenge and a great experience to design for the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, attempting to present wildlife in a fun and appealing way. It challenged me to think creatively and put what I’ve learned from class into practice, and also reminded me that nature has immense value.”

Wong says she hopes people not only appreciate the illustrations, but are also introduced to learning more about the sanctuary – just like she was.

About the Artwork

Interpretive panel
Interpretive panel 'Seasoned Travellers' by Ryan Pearse

The artwork includes three interpretive panels, four planter wraps, a wall mural, and a painting.

The panels, which are displayed in the Nature Centre, highlight birds found at the sanctuary along with their migratory paths, as well as other species of wildlife visitors may see while out and about.

The planter wraps, which are displayed on the four planters located behind the Centre, illustrate the four eco regions surrounding Calgary – aspen parkland, montane, foothills grassland, mixed grass and prairie. They promote the use of native plants and the importance of native habitats.

The wall mural depicts a male and female deer to help visitors easily locate and find their way to the restrooms.

The painting shows animals in their natural habitats at the sanctuary and welcomes visitors to explore the park.

Restroom mural and painting
Mural of male and female deer by Adrienne Tollas. 'Not Just for Birds' painting by Mila Pestova

You can visit the Nature Centre Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 3:30 p.m. to view the artwork. Or, check it out on Flickr.

A Promising Partnership

The ACAD students created the artwork as part of a partnership program between The City of Calgary and the college. The partnership, which started in 2011, offers third year students the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in school to a real-world design project. If there’s a good fit between the students and The City, future employment for the students is a possibility.

"The partnership between The City of Calgary and ACAD is a natural fit considering most of The City's Creative Services design staff are former ACAD grads," says Ken Richardson, Creative Services Manager, The City of Calgary.

“It's all about future talent development, relationship building and demonstration that public service can be a great career choice.”

To date, 28 ACAD students have participated in the partnership.

Karl Geist, Full Time Faculty in the School of Communication Design says, “The partnership has strengthened the visibility of the exceptional quality of our students and college to the broader community.”

Parks is proud to host these beautiful works of art in the Nature Centre and would like to thank the following individuals at ACAD for their contributions:

  • Karl Geist, Full Time Faculty in the School of Communication Design
  • Adrienne Tollas, mural of a male and female deer
  • Mila Pestova, Pickering Room artwork
  • Adrian Taylor, Beyond Birds interpretive panel
  • Ryan Pearse, Seasoned Travellers interpretive panel
  • Michelle Morean, Wings of Change interpretive panel
  • Iris Wong, Planter wrap Aspen Parkland
  • Serena Malyon, Planter wrap foothill montane
  • Samantha Haslam, Planter wrap Foothills grassland
  • Christer Guillergan, Planter wrap mixed grass and prairie