Local historian Sheila Willis was honoured for her work to preserve and share the stories of our province at the 2018 Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Heritage Awards.
The biennial awards honour the contributions of individuals, organizations, businesses, Indigenous communities and municipalities engaged in heritage preservation and appreciation in the following categories: Outstanding Achievement, Heritage Conservation, Heritage Awareness, Indigenous Heritage and Youth Heritage. Ms. Willis was one of only three award recipients in the Outstanding Achievement category.
“Thanks to the contributions of individual Albertans, heritage organizations, business and community leaders, the stories of our province’s past will continue to be shared with generations to come," stated Ricardo Miranda, Alberta's Minister of Culture and Tourism. "Recipients of the 2018 heritage awards are leading the way – helping to strengthen the cultural fabric of Alberta and inspiring others to get involved in preserving our rich history and heritage.”
Sheila Willis is the executive director of Friends of Historical Northern Alberta Society (FHNAS), the nonprofit group behind the ever-evolving History Check mobile app and website. Nominated earlier this year by MD Reeve Murray Kerik, Ms. Willis was granted this award in recognition of her exemplary contribution to the preservation and presentation of Alberta’s heritage. She was honoured at the Heritage Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 25 at the Government House in Edmonton.
The MD wishes to congratulate Ms. Willis for her well-deserved achievement, and thanks her for the role she continues to play in curating the rich history of our northern Alberta region.
About History Check
Touted as "Alberta's Ultimate Heritage & Travel Companion App," the recently-launched History Check app for Android & iOS includes thousands of geographic data points that inform users about their surroundings when they travel throughout the Lesser Slave River area. In addition to location-based history snippets, the app will pinpoint the locations of parks, golf courses, campgrounds, hotels, and other leisure and tourism-related goods and services.
The driving force behind the History Check app, Sheila Willis is the Executive Director of Friends of Historical Northern Alberta Society (FHNAS) – a not-for-profit group whose mission is to "Preserve & Promote the History of Northern Alberta." The History Check app is the organization’s first major project, and is designed to chronicle the stories of northern Alberta's history, characters and events through the use of geographically specific, pop-up icons and related information. Other events and collaborations will be created within the app and its website counterpart to bring historical tourism to our area.
With her unique app loaded with points of interest both past and present, Ms. Willis hopes to attract greater numbers of adventurous souls to the Lesser Slave River region. It is also likely that those who live here will be surprised and enthralled by the rugged richness of the local history.
Additionally, FHNAS has created a History Check Gofundme page to help support the project as it continues to add more points of interest. More information can also be found on the History Check Facebook page.