Edgar Allardyce "Kerry" Wood came to Red Deer in 1918 as a youngster from New York. He spent his free moments wandering through the sanctuary, looking at and learning from the wildlife he encountered. His interminable questions were answered by friendly librarians, by the native people he met in his wanderings and by friends in the Alberta Natural History Society.
In his mid-teens, Kerry Wood decided to stay in Red Deer and make his own way as a writer while his parents moved to British Columbia. His first winter was a lean one, depending upon fish he could catch in the river, animals he could snare, edible wild plants, and gifts from friends. The hardships of that winter, his experiences as a scout and scout leader, and his many years as the volunteer warden for the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary provided Kerry Wood with the stories that he set on paper. During his career, Kerry Wood wrote 6,200 short stories, 8,000 articles, 9,000 newspaper columns and hundreds of television and radio programs.
In 1986, a Nature Centre named after Kerry Wood was opened in the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary. It was constructed with funds from the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund as part of the Urban Parks Program.
The Kerry Wood Nature Centre is an approximately 1,036 sq. metre (11,154 sq. ft.) nature centre adjacent to the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, a municipally-owned 118 hectare park and federal migratory bird sanctuary. The Nature Centre is open year-round, and is closed only on Christmas Day.
The Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Fort Normandeau offer an extensive program of natural and human history interpretation, major special events, school and youth group and public programs, sleepovers, and day camps.
Kerry "Nobby" Wood passed away peacefully at home on July 25, 1998 after a lengthy struggle with heart problems and cancer. His beloved Marjorie passed away from cancer on Sept. 21, 2002. His stories live on in 24 books and numerous children's readers.
Among his many honours were the Order of Canada, the Order of the Bighorn, the Alberta Achievement Award, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta and numerous life memberships in a variety of organizations with which he was connected.