Essex – The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation, which made the lead donation to the Heritage and Conservation Centre at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area, has made another significant contribution to create The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation Creative Commons.
The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation Creative Commons is the main interior learning space at the Homestead. It triples the site’s current teaching capacity, and offers an important, modern, indoor space to assist in the delivery of programs where specialty equipment, such as microscopes, light tables and scientific specimens, is utilized. The Creative Commons also provides an exhibit area where educational displays and sensitive historical artifacts can be exhibited in a secured and climate-controlled environment.
The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation Creative Commons will also be used to interpret the Western Basin of Lake Erie and the significance of the natural coastal processes on our local environment. The space will also function as a centralized hub for flood forecasting operations so that ERCA may continue to deliver on the important Flood Advisory Program on behalf of the Province of Ontario. “In particular, this teaching space, with a vista of the western basin of Lake Erie, will help guests learn about flooding, erosion and watershed management in our region and beyond,” explains Tim Byrne, Essex Region Conservation Authority CAO. The Creative Commons also offers a myriad of additional opportunities ranging from artisan-led workshops to providing quiet, calming spaces for students who may be experiencing sensory overload or stress.
“The Essex Region Conservation Foundation is incredibly grateful to The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation for its leadership in supporting the children of our region,” said Claire Wales, President of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation. “Their generosity provides a fulsome educational experience for all. From entering into The Stephanie & Barry Zekelman Foundation Welcome Centre, where new and expanded exhibits will convey the stories of the Park family’s role in our local history, through to The Stephanie & Barry Zekelman Creative Commons, where engaging watershed and environmental education programs will be offered. The convergence of watershed knowledge, conservation and heritage will truly come alive in this unique learning space for visitors of all ages.”
The John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area is a well-known destination for student field trips and tourists, and has been recognized with Best of Windsor Essex Awards for the past three years. The new heritage and conservation centre will provide an equitable and accessible educational experience, enhanced exhibit and interpretive space, and serve as a Tourism Hub.
For more than 40 years, the Essex Region Conservation Foundation has been raising funds to enrich our region as the Place for Life. essexregionconservation.ca/conservation-foundation