The Redberry Lake Biosphere Region is building a new interpretive and research centre where Saskatchewan residents can meet for land-based learning experiences, reconciliation and knowledge sharing.

“We have to find a way to build a sustainable, economic system that provides for the people here and provides for the natural resources here that we have,” said Larry Hawrysh, vice-chair of the biosphere region.

In a release, the Redberry Lake region said that it sees humans as an integral part of the biosphere — a narrow zone on the surface of the earth where soil, water, and air combine to sustain life.

Hawrysh said the biosphere “movement” began in the mid 1970s. Redberry Lake is one of 19 biosphere reserves in the country and only one in Saskatchewan.

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“It’s trying to reconcile sustainable land use in populated areas. It isn’t all doom and gloom out there. There are ways that we can live in harmony.”

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The Redberry reserve has been in the making since the 2000s.

Visitors will be able to see over 200 hundred species of birds from domes at the Redberry region, overlooking the mineral waters of the lake. A bird-banding station will help conservation efforts.

The team is also opening a Native Tree and Plant Nursery this spring in Hafford.

“It’s based on scientific research, education, cultural values and reconciliation,” Hawrysh said.

He said the project’s team has partnered with universities, First Nations and local governments. It is hoping to open the centre within the next two years, but Hawrysh said the date depends on funding.

Tourism Saskatchewan is in on the opportunity, helping develop some of the experiences and purchasing some of the equipment.

“They have got some really cool ideas about geodesic domes for people to view over 200 bird species in the area from those domes and eventually be able to stay overnight,” said Jonathan Potts, CEO of Tourism Saskatchewan.

“It will really provide a focus for birding activity and drawing tourists from far and wide to come explore the area.”

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