Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, AB

ISL teamed with Manasc Isaac Architects to prepare detailed design and contract documents for construction of the new Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation, a worldclass education and research facility located in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park in northern Alberta.


The complex included an eco-cabin designed to support eco-tourism and provide on-site accommodation for researchers. The design was required to function within the natural environment and minimize development disturbance within the provincial park.


The area has no access to the municipal water supply, wastewater collection or disposal systems, so ISL designed a private, on-site sewage disposal system to treat and dispose of the effluent. To help manage stormwater run-off, all roads and parking areas were gravel surfaced and included road-side ditches or bioswales.

Bird-shaped Roof

As an innovative solution to the lack of water supply, the architects designed the building to look like a bird, incorporating an inverted roof which collects rain and snowfall and directs it to a 28,000 litre raw water storage tank in the basement of the Centre. ISL designed an innovative economical, low maintenance, slow sand, ultra filtration system to then treat the harvested rainwater and snowmelt to potable water quality.

LEED Gold Certified

The Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation opened its doors in June 2006. The work of ISL’s landscape architecture and civil engineering team for sustainable sites, stormwater management, water efficiency and innovative design helped the project achieve LEED® Gold certification in 2009.

Click photos to view larger image