Discovery Centre

Here is an idea of some of the progress to date related to the development of a new Discovery Centre…


Information Gathering

Our plan for the development of the new Centre began with research conducted by an architectural – environmental collaborative [1] in 2014 at the request of a community stakeholder committee.  The researchers summarized their findings and recommendations in a memorandum to the stakeholder committee.  Of particular significance to us was the researchers’ acknowledgment of the value of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the Environmental Ecosystem Research Foundation publication Handbook on the Best Practices for the Planning, Design and Operation of Wetland Education Centres (the Handbook) [2].  The Handbook resulted from an examination of wetland centres worldwide and is intended for professional developers (architects, governments, consultants, etc) and organizations like ours.


At the conclusion of the research, KCDCS was born.


In addition to the locally funded research and the Handbook, we have also welcomed the support of the Creston Valley Wildlife Authority, the organization that manages the wetlands and for almost 40 years, managed the former Interpretive Centre.  The Authority’s financial and statistical records largely informed our understanding of the past performance of the Interpretive Centre. The Authority’s Head of Conservation Programs, Marc-Andre Beaucher, has been a great resource and friend to our Board.


We also gathered information from a variety of sources including local non-profit organizations and businesses, individuals who share our interests (at public gatherings and during presentations) and from other environmental education centres in Canada and the United States.


Finally, we are fortunate to have a professional, environmental educator with more than 12 years of experience in the field, as our Senior Manager.



We reached out to our Members in the summer of 2021 with a survey.  We wanted to know what our Members thoughts were on the development of a new centre under the subjects of: space and design, programs, displays/exhibits and outdoor space. We had a healthy 317 responses.  Here are some of the key findings:

  • On average, people want to see a new centre with a similar footprint to the original centre only much `greener`.
  • Keep the focus on hands-on school programs. Work with schools to see if you can become a formal part of their curricula.
  • Indigenous knowledge and cultural teachings provide an excellent mechanism for youth learning: the Lower Kootenay Band should be involved in the design process (see below).
  • Do it in phases: don’t bite off more than you can chew.


A more detailed report on the survey findings can be found below.


Discovery Centre Questionnaire Results Summary


Creating a Masterplan

A “Masterplan” is the plan that encompasses all aspects of the development process. When the Masterplan is finalized, it will be our guide through the stages of future development.   It describes:

  • Constraints and opportunities for development
  • Stakeholders and their involvement
  • Displays, exhibits, programs including the required technology
  • The interpretation/teaching components and schedules
  • The architectural plan
  • The management strategy
  • Cost estimates for construction and operation
  • The revenue model [3]


As you can see, creating a Masterplan is no small task.  It is not simply a wish list.  To coin a phrase:  “It takes a community to make a Masterplan”.  The community we speak of includes local and regional residents, governments, First Nations and experts in fields like architecture, engineering, construction project development, and display and exhibit design.


The Directors of KCDCS have developed the ‘bones’ of a Masterplan.  We are at the stage where we need professional help to review our work, fill any gaps and give us advice on best practices and procedures to move forward.  In order to raise funds to finance this professional assistance, we developed marketing and fundraising plans that will go into effect this fall, if not sooner.


Want to help us?  Go here!


Check out additional information on progress of Plans & Design.



[1] Conservation by Design, Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc., Nelson, B.C.
[2] Ramsar Secretariat (2014)
[3] See the Handbook, pp. 18-23