Tom Graham and Jeanne Lambert with Aleta Karstad and Fred Schueler at the NatureMatch launch. [Photo provided by Aleta Karstad]

Local artist and naturalist, Aleta Karstad, officially celebrated the launch of her new NatureMatch game on Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1. NatureMatch is a memory game that features 36 of Aleta’s original watercolour paintings of Canadian wildlife. The first order of NatureMatch cards was funded by a very successful Indigogo crowd funding campaign earlier this year. With 145 backers, the game reached across Canada and internationally, with orders from the U.S., U.K., Kenya, and Sweden. Aleta expressed her gratitude to all: “I am very grateful to all our backers”.

NatureMatch is now available to the general public, and Aleta marked the launch with an outdoor celebration at her home in Bishops Mills. There was a tent canopy to shield them from the elements, a fire pit, live music courtesy of musician Larry Pegg from Ottawa, lots of food and hot apple cider that was generously donated by Jim Beveridge from B&H Grocer. “He said local in support of local,” Aleta remarked.

Aleta is thrilled with this new way of sharing her art with the world. She has never been very good at advertising her paintings; but she feels that NatureMatch is a great way to promote it in a fun and affordable way.

“It’s a lively and playful way of enjoying my art. It will be interesting to see if that’s the way my art gets more well known.”

Not only is Nature-Match a great game for all ages, it is also a wonderful way to learn more about Canadian wildlife. Each game comes with a
little booklet that explains a little bit about each of the animals on the cards. Aleta is also in the process of including more about each of the animals on the NatureMatch website, making the game even more of an educational tool. “People can correspond with us about the species as well. There is a depth of knowledge and information that we can provide along with the game.”

NatureMatch was conceived, designed, and manufactured in Canada, out of all ethically-sourced Canadian material. The cover graphics were designed by COBA Studios in Merrickville, and the game is produced by The Playing Card Factory in Mississauga. Aleta is thrilled with the quality of the game, with its sturdy, glossy cards that are easy to flip over on a table. “It pulls people away from their computers and pulls families together. It’s a nice after dinner game.”

She is very pleased that they were able to coincide the launch with the start of the holiday shopping season. NatureMatch is now available at To Be Continued in Kemptville, and can also be purchased through NatureMatch website. Aleta is trying to get the game into stores across Canada, and has already had success in getting it into the Robert Bateman Foundation gift shop in Victoria, B.C. and the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John. “We’re gradually getting it into more shops,” Aleta says.

Games ordered through the NatureMatch website are shipped directly from The Playing Card Factory, freeing up time for Aleta to start working on future versions of the game, which will include Canadian flowers, birds, and insects. “I can get busy doing watercolours for the next edition. People will be able to have a whole row of these on their bookshelf, or in their games cupboard.”

For more information or to purchase NatureMatch visit www.naturematch.ca.

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