A commemorative wood sculpture is in the works to help mark the silver anniversary of the Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society (CHAPS).

Last night, representatives of CHAPS sought the endorsement of town council for the 25th anniversary project. It not only represents a bit of Cochrane's rich heritage but has its own origin story.

CHAPS wood sculptureArtist concept of the commemorative wood sculpture in the works.

In 2022, an old established trees located on the southeast side of the Cochrane Historical Musuem was knocked down during a windstorm. After the damaged debris was removed, a large stump remained.

CHAPS received several inquiries from visitors about the future of the 8- to 9-inch-tall stump.

"It is something that we've been thinking about for a while, but it kind of came from a loss that occurred on the garden area and so it was something that just kind of came up around what could we do with it," explains Lynn Ferguson, chair of CHAPS museum committee. "And then we thought about it and thought, hey, you know what? We have an anniversary to celebrate, so how could we combo the two things? 

The design features a Great Horned Owl, the official bird of Alberta, on a post with some Cochrane bricks, a cream can and quarry tools clustered at the base. A nesting pair of owls have been raising their families for the past few years at the Cochrane Ranche historic site.

"The statue will have full-paint details and sealed for the outdoors," explains Ferguson. "It will be maintained by reseals in the next three to five years."

Artist Brian Widahl, of Widahl Woodcraft, has been commissioned to designed and create the public art.

Cochrane museum winterThe stump remaining from the fallen tree is clearly marked. The wood sculpture will be attached to it.

Ferguson says they hope to have it carved by the midsummer in time for a 25th anniversary celebration, but there are some factors to consider. 

"It was a tree that had actually been growing and so there are some processes around drying the log stump," she explains, "So we're hoping that it will be carved sometime in mid-summer so that we will have an opportunity to put it in place and celebrate."

Some fund raising remains for the $6,500 projects. They may be reaching out for grants to assist. Those interested in contributing can also reach out to CHAPS here

Town council had no questions and instead praised the project and the work on CHAPS in the community. Because last night was a committee-of-the-whole meeting, it will need to come back for formal approval at a regular meeting of town council.

A presentation was previously made to the town's parks and recreation committee.

CHAPS is holding their annual general meeting on Mar. 24 that will include speakers and a museum report. Its spring fundraiser dinner is being held on Apr. 20 at the Royal Canadian Legion.