The following awards were presented at the 2014 Annual General meeting in April.
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.
Tonight Hugh is being recognized for his extraordinary contributions to our society; most notably with planning and organization of summer camps as a member of the Camp Committee between 2003 and 2011 and as Camp Manager between 2006 and 2009 which are indeed lengthy tenures. Since that time he has taken on the role of mentor for succeeding camp managers.
Over his eight years serving on the camp committee Hugh contributed to camp reports published in the Societies journal Discovery. These included geological observations during the Cinnabar Basin Camp, and natural history observations during the Monica Meadows, Blowdown Creek and Oyster River camps.
A paragraph by Kitty Castle in a recent article in Discovery (Volume 41, 2012) entitled “Hugh Hamilton: Forester, streamkeeper and volunteer extraordinaire” by John Barker, Katharine Steig and Kitty Castle encapsulates the Hugh that we know.
And I quote:
“Despite being one of the more senior members at camp there is no stopping Hugh. He continues to do strenuous camp chores, which include digging biffies and setting up the camp. He encourages participation and always volunteers to be a hiking trip leader. His hikes are always popular because of his relaxed style and knowledge of the environment from trees to butterflies.”
In addition to his contributions to Nature Vancouver, Hugh has been extensively involved with hands on conservation work in his municipality and providing liaison to Nature Vancouver when required through such organizations as the West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society, the West Vancouver Shoreline Preservation Society, Old Growth Conservancy Society and the Invasive Plants Strategy Working Group. The District awarded him a Heritage Achievement Award in 2009.
Hugh served as President of West Vancouver’s Old Growth Conservancy Society for 2012 and 2013. He continues to play a major role in that Society’s work, including leading snowshoe trips. He also assists the Lighthouse Park Preservation Society with invasive plants removal and monthly bird counts.
Hugh is a keen birder and contributes to Nature Vancouver’s birding activities, including coordinating the British Properties area for Nature Vancouver’s Christmas Bird Counts. He also contributes to the Howe Sound Christmas Bird Count through coordinating counts in the Lighthouse Park area.
Hugh truly demonstrates extensive education contributions through Summer camps, major conservation achievements and extraordinary dedication to the aims of Nature Vancouver.
Davidson Award for Conservation
John Coope is the epitome of a naturalist who has given countless hours to the conservation and re-building of native habitat in the most urban area of British Columbia – Vancouver. Within the boundaries of the city, he has chosen to dedicate his time, his energy and his very considerable expertise to encouraging the return of native vegetation to Jericho Beach Park.
In 2004 the Jericho Stewardship Group was formed with purpose of restoring and enhancing natural habitat. John volunteered to serve as a representative of Nature Vancouver and has been the most active member ever since.
The Jericho Stewardship Group organizes work parties of enthusiastic volunteers one Sunday a month, and these work parties rely heavily on John’s guidance. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the plant life in the park, and is quick to spot a new menace or a new opportunity. His day to day observations and botanical knowledge guide the targets for these work parties through the year.
For the past ten years there can be few who visit Jericho Park who have not seen John’s tall figure tirelessly attacking broom, Japanese Knotweed, ivy, bramble, yellow flag and loosestrife, in good weather and bad.
As people walk through the park and see John at work, they of course ask him what he is doing, and he takes time to explain the why and what of his endeavours. There must now be hundreds of people who know something about native versus non-native species and understand the movement throughout the province to restore native vegetation wherever possible. Bringing this awareness to an urban population is an enormously important endeavour for conservation minded naturalists, and for this reason John Coope is a most worthy recipient of the Davidson Award for Conservation.
Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education
Ron Long is a steadfast naturalist who has dedicated much of his life to increasing awareness of the wonders around us. Enthusiasm combined with a positive attitude, high energy, strong work ethics and goal setting, produce tangible achievements.
Ron has made many contributions to Nature Vancouver: coordinating the fun annual members’ photography competition, setting up evening speaker’s technical equipment, presenting at Botany evenings, leading photography workshops, and in 2013 organizing the exciting VanDusen Gardens Art Gallery exhibit of Nature Vancouver’s prized photographers. The latter was a considerable contribution through the jurying, organizing presentation, then printing, matting and framing, labeling, and finally, hanging the group show in a most successful manner. Ron continues to coordinate Nature Vancouver’s photography competition, with another successful and beautiful showing in 2014.
Where there’s botany – there’s Ron! He contributes to several other organizations through education about botany and nature photography. At VanDusen Botanical Gardens, besides conducting recent workshops and classes, Ron participates on the Speakers Committee. He is very involved with the Native Plant Society of BC, and presently serves on its Board.
Ron is so passionately committed to both the promotion of nature education and causes for the conservation of nature, that he appears tireless in his goals. The prime example is his work to educate the public about Pink Mountain, and the reasons to conserve this unique habitat in northeastern BC near Ft. St. John. Over four years he has given evening presentations to several natural history clubs, colourfully illustrated with the beauties of Pink Mountain. He has written articles for BCnature magazine and Menziesia publication. He supported Burke Mountain Naturalists and Delta Naturalists in writing a resolution to protect Pink Mountain, adopted by BC Nature in 2011. He involved other organizations in this cause, including the BC Field Ornithologists, the Friends of Ecological Reserves, the Alpine Garden Club and the Native Plant Society of BC. His activities include: organizing and conducting research on site in conjunction with UBC Botanical Gardens and graduate students, raising funds for this research, and encouraging establishment of the Pink Mountain website.
Education matters, conservation too; raising awareness to educate us about our natural world -- that’s Ron.
Frank Sanford Award for Community Service
Nature Vancouver recognizes the outstanding contributions to community awareness about environmental issues provided by Larry Pynn, as The Vancouver Sun’s Environment and Special Projects Reporter. In his journalist career, Larry has been received more than 15 journalism awards, including the 2010 Jack Webster Award for best print reporting, and the Michener Award (2011) for outstanding journalism and dedication to the environment.
From Nature Vancouver’s perspective, Larry has increased public awareness for the protection of the environment and its many native species, both in the Lower Mainland and throughout the Province. Nature Vancouver members well remember his several articles from past decades drawing attention to efforts to protect the South Chilcotin Mountains as a provincial park. Another recent example is in March, when Larry wrote a double page Sun newspaper feature titled, “In an oil tanker’s shadow”. He describes the oil tanker routes and danger points with existing tanker traffic (5 tankers a month) and the proposed increased traffic (to 34 tankers a month) which would result from Kinder Morgan’s expanded pipeline to tanker traffic at Burnaby’s Westridge Marine Terminal. His articles are well researched and take into account the various perspectives around critical issues.
Larry is very approachable when new issues arise and can be contacted by naturalists who wish to increase public awareness on an issue. He will often contact local naturalists when looking for input or contacts on the topic. It is our pleasure to present the Sanford Award for Community Service to Larry Pynn, with thanks for his extensive contributions to raise public awareness about environmental issues.
Garibaldi Awards for Service to Nature Vancouver
Three Garibaldi awards were presented.
Nature Vancouver members’ interest in Cape Roger Curtis goes back to the 1920s. Members were aware of its special botanical features, resulting from its southern exposure in the shadow of the Coast Mountains, and made many trips to the Cape over the decades. Although the land was privately owned, public access was permitted and the Cape remained remarkably pristine. Both Dr. Bert Brink and Terry Taylor provided reports in 1991 on its great ecological importance. But in 2004 the land was sold to a private developer, who planned to divide it into 64 10-acre lots.
In 2003 Pam Dicer, a NV member since 1983, moved to Bowen Island, and became a strong advocate for the Cape’s protection as a Director of the recently established Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society. She also became the main contact for NV as the Conservation Section wrote letters to municipal councils and park boards, and worked with other organizations to try to obtain as much protection as possible for the Cape’s scarce, ecologically sensitive habitat. She solicited help from well-known NV naturalists in the production of plant and bird lists for the Cape. A report of their findings, with a preface by Pam, was included in NV’s Spring 2005 Discovery Journal.
Despite all the efforts made by those seeking protection, development began on the Cape. Meanwhile an attempt was being made to establish a national park reserve on Bowen. Pam worked hard with park advocates to obtain the best protection for Bowen’s natural environment in this drawn-out and contentious issue, and again served as advisor to NV’s Conservation Section. The national park proposal came to end in the November 2011 municipal election when 54.7% of Bowen voters expressed opposition. (There are rumors that the proposal may still have some life in it.)
Most recently In 2012 Pam brought to NV’s attention the Cape Roger Curtis developers’ plans for private moorage off the Cape, which would have a serious negative impact on the area’s sea life, birds, and beach access. NV’s Conservation Section has just sent a letter to Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, opposing the proposal. Regrettably Bowen Island Municipal Council passed a bylaw in November 2013, allowing the building of large docks off private property near public beaches, despite considerable public opposition.
Pam has now spent over eleven difficult years as advocate for Bowen’s natural environment. She deserves NV members’ great thanks for all she has done and continues to do to protect this valued Greater Vancouver area.
David Boyd and Colin Clark
In 2002 Vancouver Parks Board officials requested assistance from Nature Vancouver to survey the birds of its three public golf courses (Langara, McCleery, and Fraserview) in order to apply for Audubon accreditation as sustainable wildlife habitats. Accreditation was granted and the bird surveys initiated at that time have continued to the present day, with David Boyd and Colin Clark and the assistance of many other birders from Nature Vancouver.
Over the years David helped developed a series of bird posters with information that showed seasonal specialties seen at the golf courses. Members of the golf clubs do appreciate the information and often share their own observations with the surveyors.
David and Colin continue to lead the monthly golf course surveys. Both are also long time contributors on the Vancouver Christmas Bird Counts. David has also served many years on the Birding Section Committee.
Nature Vancouver is pleased to recognize David and Colin’s many hours of service over the past twelve years for the golf course surveys and to the Birding Section.
Further on the bird surveys, the Awards Committee want to recognize June Ryder’s contributions to bird surveys. However June has previously received a Nature Vancouver award, so not tonight. But we do want to acknowledge and thank her for her ongoing efforts and continuing contributions with the SICA (Sea Island Conservation Area) bird surveys (since 2002), helping with the Golf Course Bird Surveys, as well as the Heronry Surveys at UBC for the three years the herons nested there.