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Zoo Replicating Northern Landscape for ‘Journey to Churchill’

June 26, 2014 10:37 AM | Entertainment

Journey to Churchill Landscape

Part of the landscape in the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo. (ASSINIBOINE PARK CONSERVANCY)

Journey to Churchill Landscape

The Churchill coast landscape recreation inside Assiniboine Park Zoo. (ASSINIBOINE PARK CONSERVANCY)

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is putting the final landscaping touches on the new Journey to Churchill exhibit.

When the 10-acre exhibit opens on July 3, more than 3,000 trees will have been planted on the tundra landscape.

“This is not your typical groomed landscape,” said Don Peterkin, chief operations officer at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “We want to recreate what would be found growing naturally surrounding Churchill, which is located right at the transition zone from the Boreal Forest to the tundra. That means you’ll see a lot of willows and shrubs, as opposed to large trees, and you’ll see plenty of wildflowers and grasses growing throughout the exhibit.”

The zoo says the plant material in the exhibit differs from what staff normally groom and manicure in other areas of Assiniboine Park. The plant material, which is mostly short and low to the ground in nature, is intended to take on a life of its own and evolve over time.

Visitors can expect to see a changing landscape with each visit depending on how the animals impact the space over time.