Lorna Smith Nature Reserve

This protected prairie hilltop above the Boissevain reservoir is often covered with prairie flowers. It is a peaceful spot to observer the surrounding wildlife.

Established in 1983

The Nature Centre

The Lorna Smith Nature Centre just southeast of Boissevain was established in 1983 by the Turtle Mountain Conservation District as part of the reservoir project. The reserved land includes the uplands surrounding the reservoir – land that was owned by the Smith family who had their family farm a short distance to the north. The nature reserve was named in honour of Lorna Smith who grew up on the farm and became a very well known in the hearts and mind of the Boissevain community.

The Woman Lorna Smith

Lorna Smith was five years old when she became a diabetic, and when she was 18 the condition left her totally blind. Though she never learned how to read Braille, Lorna Smith did learn how to type and became a free-lance writer. Born, raised and educated in Boissevain, Lorna's favourite subject to cover was sports, with stories featuring human interests coming in closely for second place. She would sit at hockey games with her parents who described every moment of play to her.

lornasmith
The Lorna Smith Reserve is a peaceful and reflective place to observe the seasonal flora and fauna surrounding the Boissevain Reservoir. CREDIT: Teyana Neufeld, TM-SPHA

Lorna Smith's articulate, friendly and straightforward writing style was enjoyed by thousands, and her articles were often carried by publications near and far. She was reputed to take the problems she faced in stride and with a smile. Along with a charming personality, she exhibited great courage and fortitude amid the challenges she faced. Lorna Smith died at the age of 29 due to complications with her diabetes (October 20th, 1948 – July 3rd, 1978).

A Place of Quiet

The Lorna Smith Nature Centre has a wide variety of plants and wildlife indigenous to this part of the prairies can be observed in the nature reserve. During the spring, the reservoir provides a safe stop for waterfowl during their migrations. With the coming of summer wildflowers the uplands surrounding the reservoir become blanketed with spots of colour. Broods of ducklings mature until the fall when the area becomes alive with resting birds preparing for the autumn migration.

The Lorna Smith Nature Reserve provides a quiet and serene place for students and outdoor enthusiasts to observe and learn about prairie plants and wildlife.

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Author: Teyana Neufeld

Sources:

“2001-138-31.” Heritage Sign Fonds MG15 / D15. Boissevain Community Archives.

Lorna Smith Collection. MG16 / A2 File 1. Boissevain Community Archives.