The following awards were presented at the Nature Vancouver Annual General Meeting in April 2016:
Photos by Bengül Kurtar
Kaye and Charles Ney Award
This award was established in 1975 in memory of Kaye Ney by her husband (and then President) Charles Ney, and it was renamed after his death. It is the premier award of the Society for “lifetime” exemplary service and dedication to the Society.
Since joining Nature Vancouver in 2001 David has become an essential part of many aspects of its activities. He was elected to the Board in 2004 and he continues as a director to this day. He became one of the two co-chairs of the Botany Section in 2006 and took over as the full chair in 2007. He has been the indefatigable chair of that Section ever since. David has also been an enthusiastic advocate for restoring geology as an active discipline within the Society. He is familiar with the former activities of the Society's Geology Section under the guidance of such notable geologists as Charles Ney and Ross Beaty. At one time, before he joined the Society, David actually participated in one of Charles Ney's field trips! David has successfully organized a number of very interesting and popular field trips with a geological theme.
David Cook accepting the Ney Award, presented by Daphne Nagorsen.
Beyond his generous contributions to the Society, David has made an extraordinary contribution towards community outreach and public education. David gives presentations and leads walks with either a natural history or a conservation theme for many different groups, including the Stanley Park Ecology Society, the Lighthouse Park Preservation Society, the Friends of Cypress Provincial Park and the Ancient Forest Alliance. He has also conducted bear walks on the North Shore and geology walks in various places in the Sea to Sky corridor. He contributes to Salmonberry Days, a series of activities organized by the Dunbar Community during May. And David is currently one of the Society's members conducting nature walks for the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC. He has also presented display tables at events such as Night Quest in Pacific Spirit Park. Mycology is a special interest.
David maintains an extensive e-mail list of the people who have participated in his field trips and talks so that he can keep them informed about upcoming event. In this way he has brought the programs of Nature Vancouver to the attention of many members of the general public and he has no doubt encouraged a number of people to become members.
Besides his considerable efforts with nature education and community outreach David has been a force to be reckoned with in conservation, particularly with respect to Bald Eagles and old growth forests. His interest in Bald Eagles began in 2000 and he presently coordinates the monitoring of up to 25 Bald Eagle nesting sites on the North Shore. His efforts extended to arranging for the relocation of a threatened site in conjunction with David Hancock when it was threatened by the relocation of the lower road near the grain terminals in North Vancouver. David has been a strong advocate for the old growth trees and flora of Mosquito Creek in North Vancouver, having led many field trips into the watershed, and he has worked with Terry Taylor to conduct plant surveys in the Old Growth Conservancy on Hollyburn Ridge. David has also conducted walks along the top of the escarpment in Pacific Spirit Regional Park (off SW Marine Drive) to increase public awareness of its old growth trees and especially the Grand Fir.
When there was a proposal to build a walkway along the Kitsilano foreshore several years ago which would have destroyed the foreshore, David provided valuable input into foreshore preservation and gave a presentation to Vancouver City Council. The proposal did not go ahead.
David Cook has been very generous with sharing his time and knowledge over many years. He well deserves the Kaye and Charles Ney Award; the award is especially fitting given David’s interest in geology.
Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education
This award was established in 1995 in honour of Dr. Katherine (Kay) Beamish, a long-time member, President from 1965 to 1967, and a botanist of distinction. It is awarded to recognize achievements by the Society’s members in the field of nature education, or contributions in promoting the aims of the Society.
John and Wendy Morton
For more than twenty-five years John and Wendy Morton have welcomed birders of all levels and interests to their Wild Birds Unlimited shops. From the beginning, the stores, one in Vancouver and one in North Vancouver, were places that brought people and nature together. This included supplying high quality bird goods, nature gardening, optics as well as an excellent selection of books and reference material, such as what to do for hummingbirds.
John Morton, Al Grass, Wendy Morton, Jude Grass with the Beamish award.
For many years John and Wendy provided funding for Nature Vancouver’s Bird Alert phone number. They took many calls, and later emails, regarding bird identification and how to attract birds, always directing people to Nature Vancouver as the club to join if you want to get out on field trips and get involved in nature. John also served on Nature Vancouver’s Finance Committee for many years.
John and Wendy made space at their stores available for community groups, like Nature Vancouver, on their Customer Appreciation days – always popular events. Through their stores, John and Wendy sponsored monthly Bird Walks in many locations which were open to all. Many Nature Vancouver members attended these walks. Participants in the walks were always encouraged to contact Nature Vancouver about its programs and events. Store space was provided to promote Children’s (NatureKids) programs. Their outreach to other nature and community groups were extensive.
The Mortons provided a major financial donation to the George Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary through the Pathways to Nature Program. Nest boxes, feeders, and bird food were provided to sanctuaries and bird banding groups, including the Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats and Vancouver Avian Research Centre. Optics were donated to community groups like the Stanley Park Ecology Society for bird studies and public programs. Funds from such donations helped to finance the guide, “Discover Nature in the Tri-cities Area” for families by the Burke Mountain Naturalists. They made many TV appearances and talks to schools, garden clubs and community groups all on the theme of “bringing people and nature together”.
John and Wendy have helped many people to appreciate nature and publicized the work of Nature Vancouver.
Frank Sanford Award for Community Service
This award was established in 1995 to honour Frank Sanford who was VNHS Treasurer for 35 years and President from 1958 to 1960. An active member of many of the VNHS sections, Mr. Sanford represented the VNHS at many other organizations’ and community groups’ activities.
The Sanford Award is presented by this Society to any member of the community in recognition of service and activities supporting the objectives of Nature Vancouver.
Ken Wu is Executive Director of the Ancient Forest Alliance, a non-profit based in Victoria, B.C. currently with 13,000 supporters. This award is given to acknowledge Ken’s exceptional work in helping to preserve what remains of pristine rain forests, old-growth groves and individual veteran trees in British Columbia.
Ken Wu (centre) accepting the Sanford Award, presented by Daphne Nagorsen and David Cook
With some friends concerned about the conservation of ancient trees and forests, Ken was prompted to form the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) in 2010 to focus on establishing the legislated protection of BC's endangered old-growth forests and to ensure a sustainable second-growth forest industry.
Previously he worked for 10 years as the executive director and campaign director of the Wilderness Committee's Victoria chapter, primarily focusing on protecting endangered old-growth forests and working on climate change related issues. Ken graduated from the UBC's ecological science department and has also worked as a flying squirrel researcher and tree planter.
By not obtaining charitable status the Ancient Forest Alliance could speak and act with greater freedom politically while pushing for stronger forest policies. Their ultimate plan is to ensure that the BC government protects all of BC's endangered old-growth forests and ensures a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry instead
While working with businesses, unions, faith groups, First Nations and politicians to save old-growth forests, Ken spends a lot of his time giving guided tours and talks to the interested public. These are conducted with impressive skill and convey well the need for protection of the Province’s remaining old-growth forests.
A sampling of the many projects Ken and his team have been involved with have been:
• Central and Upper Walbran Valley old-growth which had been left out when the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park was established,
• The Avatar Grove in the same area,
• Cameron Valley Firebreak near Cathedral Grove,
• Edinburgh Grove, Gordon River valley,
• Cortes Island old-growth,
• Echo Lake old-growth, an eagle roost near Agassiz,
• Horne Mountain and McLaughlin Ridge old-growth near Port Alberni.
Garibaldi Service Award
Established in 1993, these awards are given to members who have performed a significant service to the Society over several years.
Since Helen Aqua took over the responsibilities of Membership Secretary in 2014 she has worked tirelessly to improve the procedures for renewing memberships and accepting applications from new members. She has not only made changes to improve efficiency of record keeping, but she personally attends all Section meetings to staff the membership table. Her efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in overdue membership renewals with a corresponding improvement in the receipt of membership dues. Helen’ friendly, cheerful and energetic manner as Membership Secretary are greatly appreciated by the Society.
Helen Aqua accepting the Garibaldi award, presented by Daphne Nagorsen
Denis is well known as the sender of the Nature Vancouver weekly emails with the timely reminders of upcoming talks, walks and other events. Denis organizes the events and programs included in the emails in a reader-friendly manner. He is consistent with his organizational layout and distribution dates, and is willing to correct mistakes when they (rarely) arise to ensure that Nature Vancouver members receive the correct information in a timely manner. Denis’ ongoing service to Nature Vancouver members is greatly appreciated.
Denis Laplante accepting the Garibaldi award, presented by Daphne Nagorsen