Calgary Herald

Response to ostrich snafu earns awards for Taber

- STEPHEN TIPPER — With files from Michael Rodriguez

The Town of Taber didn't bury its head in the sand last year when about 20 ostriches got loose in the southern Alberta town, and a year later the municipali­ty has won three awards for its response to the bizarre incident.

The ostriches ran loose in the town's streets Nov. 24, 2022 after escaping from a local farm early that morning, evading police officers and the animals' owner. All of the large, flightless birds, which can run up to 70 kilometres per hour were captured by early afternoon, though one died after being struck by a vehicle.

After the incident, the municipali­ty decided to recognize the efforts that went into apprehendi­ng the ostriches by donating 20 turkeys to the local food bank and challengin­g people to donate to their local food banks.

As the Town of Taber noted in a news release on Monday, the reaction was overwhelmi­ngly positive and attracted internatio­nal attention for the community of about 9,000 residents roughly 250 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

The town said its innovative Flightless Birds for Foodbanks campaign earned three awards from the Associatio­n of Marketing and Communicat­ions Profession­als.

“I don't believe I'll ever see an event like this again in my career, but I'm thankful for the opportunit­y my team granted me to let my birdbraine­d idea take flight to offer a little levity to the situation,” said Meghan Brennan, the town's communicat­ions and projects co-ordinator.

“While the awards are a true honour to receive, my fondest achievemen­t has been witnessing the public's positive reaction and engagement with their local government.”

Brennan has been recognized with the associatio­n's Gold Hermes Creative Award, which “honours the messengers and creators of the informatio­n revolution.” The municipali­ty also earned a Communitas Award for Excellence in Community Service: Making a Difference, given to “exceptiona­l businesses ... who are changing how they do business to benefit their communitie­s” and a

Platinum Marcom Award, which honours excellence in marketing and communicat­ion.

Since the ostrich incident, the municipali­ty has made an effort to make its communicat­ions with the public more fun and relatable, said Brennan.

“Our citizens' response to our funnier informatio­n posts has been overwhelmi­ngly positive and we're thrilled to be continuing that trend in the future — where appropriat­e, of course,” she said.

The strange incident showed Taber is willing to laugh at itself, no matter how absurd the situation, said Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop.

“This very bizarre ostrich western rodeo roundup was very unique, challengin­g, entertaini­ng and involved many individual­s trying to help recapture the escaped birds,” said Prokop.

 ?? TABER POLICE SERVICE. ?? The Town of Taber's reaction to ostriches escaping from a local farm a year ago has earned the community three awards.
TABER POLICE SERVICE. The Town of Taber's reaction to ostriches escaping from a local farm a year ago has earned the community three awards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada