- To operate and maintain a selective bird conservation program designed primarily to encourage the nesting and propagation of Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows.
- To operate and maintain a bird farm including a winter bird feeding program.
- To sponsor and/or conduct scientific studies relative to the ecology of these two principle bird species. These studies are to include investigation of the long term effects of the operation of a petrochemical plant and related human activities.
- To develop materials for educational programs (including visual aids, lectures, and other items deemed appropriate by the Company) relating to bird conservation, the preservation and development of both natural and man-made habitats, and the benefits accruing to mankind from such activities, and to carry these programs forward to young people and adults.
To accomplish these objectives, The Company would enter into contractual arrangements with individuals, land owners and others as deemed desirable by the Board of directors, and would finance operations from donations, gifts, grants, legacies and bequests.
The mandate of Ellis Bird Farm is fourfold: to carry out a summer nesting program; to carry out a winter bird feeding program; to conduct and support scientific research; and to develop and deliver public education programs. Ellis Bird Farm has been internationally recognized for its education programs, and they have published several popular books (Winter Bird Feeding – An Alberta Guide; Nestboxes for Prairie Birds; Water Gardening – A Prairie Guide).
Today, Ellis Bird Farm continues to operate as a viable working farm. A long-term conservation farming program which emulates and expands the techniques practiced by Charlie Ellis is being implemented, with wildlife habitat enhancement as a top priority.
The Prentiss plant (now owned by MEGLobal) sits on one corner of the original Ellis homestead. The rest of the Ellis farm continues to raise cattle, crops and bluebirds.
In an effort to educate, inspire and encourage both city and rural dwellers to make their backyards more environmentally friendly, the farm yard is becoming established as a demonstration backyard wildlife habitat area. Water gardens, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, bat boxes and bird nest boxes now complement the orchards and natural areas. Walking trails link points of interest around the farm, and a delightful Tea House is open to serve visitors during the summer.
Henry David Thoreau once said that the bluebirds “carry the sky on their back.” Undoubtedly one of the best loved birds on the continent, bluebirds have long symbolized peace and hope. And since they will readily accept nest boxes, they have become the focus of one of the most widespread and successful conservation efforts in North America.
Charlie and Winnie retired from active farming in 1980, selling the farm to Union Carbide. The sale agreement included provision for continuation and enhancement of Charlie’s pioneer work with the Mountain Bluebird. To this end, Union Carbide, working closely with the Red Deer River Naturalist Society, established and funded a non-profit charitable company titled Ellis Bird Farm Ltd. MEGlobal Canada, which currently operates the Prentiss site, is now the major funding partner of Ellis Bird Farm. We are pleased to announce that new, 20-year funding agreement was signed in August, 2007.