Happenings in Rotary
Over the past two years, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has had the pleasure of donating reconditioned bicycles to people needing mobility, through Saamis Immigration and other organizations – thanks to Terry Cooper, Peter Mueller and others involved in Team Freewheels.
We are delighted to be developing an even closer relationship with Saamis Immigration, through recent discussions with the Executive Director, Marijana Agicic, Rotarian Emilia Dirk (Settlement Outreach Worker), Aide Hilsendeger (Community Connections Coordinator) and Mihaela Craciun (Manager of Programming).
On August 11, clients from Saamis’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and their children are invited to participate in a family event at Echodale Park. Busses will be leaving Saamis Immigration at 09:00 and returning at 13:00. Rotarians are invited to come out to Echodale for a ‘meet and greet’, bring chairs and a snack/lunch. Clients are keen to meet local residents and to practice their English language skills.
Our Club and the RC of MH Sunrise are sponsoring two Sunshine Trolley tours of refugees connected to Saamis, due to take place on August 22 and 23. Five to seven Rotarians are invited to join each of the tours, to accompany the 30+ newcomers to Medicine Hat. The tours will both end at the Visitor’s Centre at the Tourism office, where refreshments will be provided by Saamis and Rotarians will have the opportunity to have 45 minutes to chat with the newcomers – again, helping them network and develop their English language skills.
The Rotary Clubs of Medicine Hat and Sunrise are also contributing towards the cost of a ‘movie in the park’ family event – on September 8 in Kin Coulee. We are invited to mingle and connect with the Saamis Immigration clients, volunteers and staff for an hour prior to the showing of the movie at 20:00.
 
The ‘ask’ from the Board and the Community Services Committee of our Club?
Please use these opportunities to reach out to newcomers to Medicine Hat – to make them feel welcome, to help them make connections, to give them the opportunity to practice their English language conversation skills – and for us to learn more about the challenges of emigration and settling in Medicine Hat. These will be wonderful opportunities to make a difference, albeit small, in the lives of newcomers to our city.
 
We will keep you updated at meetings and through the Weekly News.
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to welcome the "new" base commander of CFB Suffield, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Burke.
LCol. Burke (who preferred to be addressed as Stephen), began by giving us a short bio of his more than 20 years serving in the Canadian military and some of his recent assignments.  He has been the base commander at Suffield for just under a year and now that we are coming out of our COVID hibernation, he is happy to be out in the community and rebuilding the relationship between the base and its surrounding neighbors.
 
He gave a brief history of the base, from its inception during the Second World War, to its role in the issues around the Cold War and the more recent rise of regional insurgency's.  The base is a large isolated area, and as Stephen described, an incredibly rare and valuable asset for military training.  He presented some fascinating aerial photos of the base, and how it has changed over the years.  Only the hanger is the same (sort of).
 
CFB Suffield main purpose is support DRDC/BATUS and CAF.  There are approximately 225 military personnel and 590 civilians who are employed at the base, which makes the facility a large (if not the largest) employer in the area.  Staffing is a key issue with them, and they support a payroll of over $58 million dollars annually.
LCol. Stephen spoke about the relationship between the property and other stakeholders, such as the oil and gas industry, wildlife management and recreational area's.  He spoke about the future, which is certainly subject to change but has many upsides for the area.  He answered a few questions and was thanked by President Melanie.
 
A great talk, we wish Stephan and his staff all the best in the future.
 
The fact that 70% of the Native Grasslands ecosystem and 80% of the Aspen Parkland ecosystem in the foothills near Black Diamond have been destroyed, with a loss of up to 90% of the wildlife, has motivated Ben and Steph Campbell to rise to the challenge of developing a vibrant, healthy ecosystem on their ranch.
The aim is to raise and feed cattle in a sustainable way that benefits the land, the soil, and conserves the wildlife, there being a symbiotic relationship between them.
Wasps, bugs, ducks, native bumble bees, and brown bats are all being conserved and are thriving on the ranch - and predators like badgers, coyotes, bears and mountain lions are not eliminated. In Ben’s experience, “A healthy ecosystem manages and balances itself”.
Ben projected photographs which evidenced the difference between the green, fertile land on his ranch and the adjacent overgrazed land of a neighbour which was clearly not part of a healthy ecosystem.
Ben touched on climate change and how what he is doing on his ranch is designed to fight it.
The essence of Ben’s message is that on the Grasslands of North America, cattle can fill an ecological role and make the environment stronger, healthier, more diverse and more climate change resistant.
Ending off his lively, impassioned presentation and the subsequent question time, Ben reminded the audience of the inextricable relationship between people and the natural environment – when nature suffers, we suffer. The environment is critical because it supports the ‘family of humans’.
Here’s the link for the full recording of this presentation, which we hope you will view:
Upcoming Events
Medicine Hat

We meet In Person & Online
Mondays at 11:45 AM
Medicine Hat Lodge
1051 Ross Glen Dr SE
Medicine Hat, AB T1B 3T8
Canada
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has returned to meeting in person, face-to-face meetings as of Monday March 21. A ZOOM link will still be available for those who are cautious, ill or are away on vacation.
Club Contact Info
Rotary Club of Medicine Hat
PO Box 1058
Medicine Hat, AB, T1A 7H1
 
mhrotary@gmail.com