The Western Oasis is renowned for its one-of-a-kind art, peaceful ambiance and lush greenery. It’s truly an oasis at the heart of Stampede Park!

Photo Credit: Tye Carson / Calgary Stampede
Photo Credit: Tye Carson / Calgary Stampede

Illuminated by more than 2,000 soft lights, the sound of trickling water and the beautiful scents of more than 1,600 flowers and shrubs, as well as dozens of trees, Western Oasis is a welcome sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Stampede Park.

While it would be wonderful treat to keep Western Oasis as a permanent fixture inside BMO Centre, we are excited for these trees to become part of the Calgary Board of Education’s (CBE) outdoor learning areas. All 68 Western Oasis trees, Brandon Elms, Dropmore Lindens, Sargent’s Poplars and Witchita Blue Junipers, have been donated to the CBE.

Keith Brady, CBE horticultural program, says of this green gift:

“We get all kinds of requests from schools that want to build outdoor learning areas.

These gardens are as diverse in their designs as you can imagine. When a school embarks on a school based naturalization project, or outdoor classroom, they are responsible to raise the funds necessary to pay for its installation.

Different communities, different ideas, different goals. But, one of the problems we see, is the difference at the community level to raise money for these projects.
Some schools have trouble raising those funds. Some schools don’t. We here at CBE don’t think that just because a school is in a lower income neighbourhoods and has trouble raising the money, they should go without. We try to do what we can to help these schools.

These trees will be used to help some of the lower income schools realize their wishes of an outdoor learning space. Some will be used to replace some of the trees lost in last year’s snow storm.”

Trees help to increase  biodiversity in our communities. As part of an outdoor learning area, trees are important teaching tools for children– planting the trees, watching them grow, seeing how wildlife interacts and charting the changing seasons and weather, all provide different perspectives for urban dwellers. We hope that this donation will enhance the education and experiences of many generations of Calgarians.