[vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”5240,5241″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text]by Tamara Botting


It was a day of celebration in Dunnville, one that Dan McKay wasn’t sure he’d ever see.

Over 20 years ago, McKay was part of a group that included representatives from Ducks Unlimited, the Dunnville Horticultural Society and the Grand River Conservation Authority; they worked together to rehabilitate 20 acres of land behind Grandview Lodge along Thompson Creek.

“It was not in very good shape. There wasn’t much life here,” McKay said.

Now, however, after countless volunteer hours and financial support from various sources, the Thompson Creek Eco Centre is thriving.

Wildlife, including birds, turtles, snakes and more, has returned.

“It’s just amazing,” McKay said on Sept. 25 as the ribbon was officially cut on the rejuvenated park.

A crowd of volunteers who had worked on the project, as well as interested community members, gathered for the special day.

Jeff Krete, conservation program specialist with Ducks Unlimited, spoke to the audience about the work his group had done and would continue to do in helping to restore the wetlands.

“It’s an ongoing responsibility that we have,” he said.

Debbie Thomas, co-chair of the project and past president of the Dunnville Horticultural Society, said, “Our vision is that all of the schools in this area will use this park.” McKay agreed.

“The big reason I’ve done this, why I’ve stuck with this for so long … is for the children,” he said, adding that he wants area students to learn about nature so that they will not only take joy in it, but also work to preserve it as they grow older.

The celebration included the official recognition of a heritage tree in the park by Forests Ontario.

Photo 1: Many area residents, and past and present volunteers on the Thompson Creek Eco-Centre project came to the park on Sept. 25 for the dedication. – Tamara Botting/Torstar
Photo 2: The new Thompson Creek Eco-Centre includes signage to let visitors learn more about the park and its features. – Tamara Botting/Torstar


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