2020 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

2020 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

Announced on 28th May, 2020 at the AGM

Garibaldi Awards for Club Services

Maureen Collier

Posted on Blog
Maureen at 2015 Summer Camp – Photo by Kelly Sekhon

Maureen Collier joined Nature Vancouver in 2009 for the camp at Cinnabar Basin. Maureen and Jim enjoyed their first camp, particularly as the second camp had to be cancelled due to forest fires.

Subsequent camps included – 2010 where Maureen called a country dance on a grassy slope of Meadow Mountain, 2011 Waterton Lakes, 2012 Butler Lake and 2015 Mount Renshaw camps. Maureen and Jim always volunteered for various camp chores. 

In 2019 Maureen offered to fill the membership volunteer position at Birding Nights, something she has done in a friendly, welcoming and extremely competent fashion.

Maureen Collier in addition to being a fantastic country dance caller, is a keen birder, a trip leader at some of the NV Camps and an extremely organized manager. It is my pleasure to nominate Maureen for a Garibaldi Award to recognize her volunteer activities with Nature Vancouver. 

By Nigel Peck

Harvey Dueck

Harvey at 2013 Summer Camp – Photo courtesy of Harvey Dueck

Harvey Dueck has helped Nature Vancouver to transition from our old website which had several shortcomings, to the current one. He used his technical expertise to get the new website up and running with latest features and software, and trained several members on to how update the content. He spends considerable amount of time making sure that the website is working smoothly. He is always available to answer any questions or solve any problems related to the website. Harvey is a valuable member of Nature Vancouver and it is a pleasure to work with him.

By Kelly Sekhon

Diane Fast

Diane Fast participated, for the first time, in the 2012 summer camp at Butler Lake in the Niut Range. Later that year she joined the camp committee and has been an active member of the committee, and is a co-chair now. She has attended all camps from that first year and took part in the recce to Mount Renshaw in 2015 just weeks before the camp.

Diane Fast, Janet Snell, Peg Neilon and Nigel Peck

After the cancellation of the McGillivray Pass camp in 2016, Diane stepped forward to coordinate local resource participation and the return to camps in 2017 at Driftwood Lodge near Smithers. Diane overwhelmed participants of both weeks, with not only an abundance of resource people every night, but also with trips virtually every day of the two weeks of camps.

In 2018 she assumed the responsibility for trip coordination in the second week, hiking in early with the camp manager, Peg Neilon. Needless to say, the coordination of Niut hikes was flawless. Diane continues to excel in her camp committee contributions with planning for future camp.

It is my pleasure to acknowledge Diane’s huge contributions to NV camps and to the society as a whole.  Diane is a wonderful person with quick intelligence and a dry wonderful sense of humor.  

by Nigel Peck

Sally McDermott

I am very pleased that Sally McDermott has received the Garibaldi Award for her volunteer work with our summer camps. Sally was already an avid outdoors person before she joined Nature Vancouver. She met her husband, Brian, while working as a tree planter. Sally and Brian ran a tree planting operation together for some years and also completed an intensive five-month backcountry recreation leadership course, which included glacier crossings, route planning and advanced guiding skills, all while backpacking and living in the wilderness. While they were raising their children, Sally was again outside with her own gardening business. She now spends her spare time as a volunteer for NV Camps, as a director for the Friends of Lighthouse Park, and as a coordinator for tracking eagle sightings for the David Hancock Foundation. 

Sally at Kokanee Lake – Photo by Peg Neilon

Sally attended her first NV summer camp in 2012 at Butler Lake in the Niut Range. There she met Janet Snell, immediately becoming hiking buddies and friends. At Butler Lake Sally assisted, Art Winkers, hiking coordinator, with planning the hikes and later joined the Camp Committee. At the 2015 Mt. Renshaw camp she again coordinated hikes along with Art Winkers. 

Sally has been our Camp Hiking Coordinator through Smithers 2017, McGillivray 2018, Niut Lakes 2019 and has done all the planning and prep for Big Bar 2020, which will now take place in 2021. At the camps, Sally keeps the library of reference books and maps current, coordinates the records of the flora and fauna seen at each of our camps, plans hikes, finds hike leaders, and still has lots of energy to participate in our evening talent shows and dancing – the Floss Dance! 

It has been my pleasure to work with Sally, both on the camp committee and at the camps. During this time, I have learned that Sally has two super powers – one, she can read a topo map like no one else I know, and two, she can climb the steepest of pitches while carrying on a normal conversation! She is knowledgeable, approachable and friendly so she excels at gathering lots of good information from the locals and our campers. I have been impressed in the last year as Sally stepped up to join forces with Janet Snell and Dianne Fast to act as co-chair for the NV Camp Committee. So, thank you Sally, from the camp committee, from the NV campers and from the NV board. We appreciate everything that you do for us and look forward to continuing to have the pleasure of your company on the trails and back in camp. 

By Peg Neilon 

Janet Snell

Janet has been a member of Nature Vancouver since 2012 and has made many contributions during these years. She has turned up as a field trip  leader, joined the Board Of Directors a couple of years ago and is now also part manager of the Summer Camp Committee. Janet is a thoughtful, and pleasant person to have on around. She is patient and even took on the budget calculations for this year’s camp, which unfortunately was cancelled. She can now just plug in the new figures for 2021! 

Janet at 2019 Camp – Photo by Melanie Marchand

We are happy to present Janet with The Garibaldi award for helping Nature Vancouver to be what it is………A great club to belong to.

By Elly Brok

Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education

The Beamish award recognizes achievements by the Society’s members in the field of nature education or promoting the aims of the Society.

Abby Schwarz

Dr. Abby Schwarz is a Marine Biologist specializing in the behavioural ecology of fishes. She joined the Marine Biology Section Committee in 2010 and currently is the committee’s Field Trip Coordinator. Abby has a long history of educating people about the natural world. She was a much-loved professor of Marine Biology at Langara College from 1992 – 2006. While at Langara, she developed an upper-level undergraduate university course in wetland biology, focusing on conservation and enhancement. She has been actively involved in public outreach, especially to immigrant groups, and has supported many citizen science initiatives. One such initiative for the Stanley Park Ecology Society spanned several years of documenting the intertidal flora and fauna inhabiting transact plots at three locations around the Park.

One of Abby’s favourite fish is the Pacific herring. She has written articles for the National Observer about herring stocks, although she is equally concerned about the loss of habitat for many of BC’s forage fishes. She has presented her research on how fishes use sound to communicate for the MBS evening public talks and has strongly expressed her concern about the increasing impact of noise levels on fishes due to ships transiting in and out of the Burrard Inlet Harbour. She is also a regular educator and guide with the Wonders of the Salish Sea program and is a co-founder of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST). Along with her dedication to protecting the environment through community engagement, advocacy and education, she is a musician and is currently writing a song about barnacles!

Abby Schwarz (second from left) leading a survey of intertidal biodiversity at Stanley Park.

Abby is passionate about education, believing that we only protect what we love, and we only love what we understand. Her lifetime of dedication to conserving and protecting the natural world through education over many decades makes Abby so well deserving of the 2020 Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education.

By Sheila Byers & Deborah Simpson

Charles & Kaye Ney Award for Extraordinary Service

The Ney award is the premier award of the Society for “lifetime” exemplary service and dedication to the Society.   

Stephen Partington

Photo by Heidi Back

It was my pleasure to nominate Stephen Partington for the 2020 Kaye and Charles Ney Award. Stephen has played an important role in Nature Vancouver since 1988, and in the protection of Cypress Provincial Park’s natural environment for the last 30 years.

I was one of the founders of Friends of Cypress Provincial Park Society (FCPP) in 1990, established to protect the park’s natural environment, including prevention of downhill ski development on Hollyburn Mountain.  

I first met Stephen in late 1991 at a Greater Vancouver Green Zone conference. I was speaking on the need to protect Cypress Park, but I knew I couldn’t say more. Stephen (whom I didn’t know – nor did I know of Nature Vancouver) spoke up and said exactly what I would have said on behalf of Cypress. 

Stephen invited me to attend Nature Vancouver’s Christmas party where I met Laura Parkinson and other members and I became a member as well. Connecting with Nature Vancouver through Stephen was a key factor in FCPP’s success in preventing downhill ski development on Hollyburn Mountain and in continuing to protect Cypress Park.

Stephen served as an FCPP Director for 3 years (2011 to 2013). He wrote numerous articles for Discovery on the highly contentious Park Master Plan, which was also discussed regularly at the Nature Vancouver Conservation Section meetings, co-chaired by Stephen. He worked with Rosemary Taylor on the 2012 production of FCPP’s Flowering Plants in Cypress Provincial Park brochure and with Mike Castle on the 2013 Cypress Park Hiking Map.  He continues to be an important figure for FCPP and Cypress Park.

The editorial that Stephen wrote for the 2018 volume of Discovery indicates that he became an enthusiastic naturalist at a very young age.  As he wrote in his Grade 11 essay: “Birds are so beautiful! Birds are so interesting!”  I believe that one of the most important roles that Stephen plays for Nature Vancouver is sharing his love of nature and its joys in such a contagious way, causing others to feel as he does and want to experience and protect our natural world.  An example is his description of Niut Lakes Camp in the 2019 DiscoverySpectacular Niut Lakes Camp a Smashing Success.  Stephen takes on many tasks for Nature Vancouver (like writing articles and editing the 2018 Discovery). But his role as an ambassador for Nature Vancouver should also be acknowledged. That’s how I became involved all those years ago.

By Katharine Steig

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