LETHBRIDGE, AB – A former hayfield outside of Vauxhall is now home to several species of shrubs as part of a “re-wilding project.”

Lethbridge College staff and alumni joined the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) earlier this month to plant the first 250 trees out of more than 2,500 that are planned for the space.

Volunteers planted Saskatoon berry bushes, choke cherry, thorny buffaloberry and roses as well as other non-native species that are drought and wind-resistant.

ACA biologist and Lethbridge College alumni, Tyler Johns says the purpose of this project is twofold. “First, we want to get structure on the site that will benefit wildlife like birds and deer who can use those shrubs for cover, for food or as a windbreak. The other reason is to get people onto the site for berry picking, wildlife spotting, hunting and fishing. This particular site is connected to some native habitat downstream on the Bow River, so there’s also good connectivity between the uplands around the site and the river.”

The land was purchased by the ACA from a local farmer who wanted it restored to a natural state.