2021 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

2021 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

This year’s volunteer awards were announced on 27th May, 2021 at the AGM. The AGM was held via Zoom Video Conferencing. The award plaques will be presented later.

Garibaldi Awards for Club Services

The Garibaldi awards recognize members who have performed significant service to the Society over several years. Up to four Garibaldi awards are presented each year. These awards were established in 1993.

Angela Bond

Angela Bond has been a Member of Nature Vancouver since 2014. She joined the Board in 2018, immediately assuming the role of recording secretary. At Board meetings we all appreciate her sense of humour and her precision to detail, which has become a joke at times that we can all strive to be ‘persnickety’. Angela keeps us all on track not only with her accurate minutes, but especially the ‘Action Items’ review at the start of each meeting to ensure people did what they agreed to the previous month.

Angela is also the Secretary of the Birding Committee, and a member of Botany Committee. She helps and volunteers at evening meetings and field trips for both sections. She presented a challenging and fun quiz at the post count gathering and dinner at the 2019 Christmas Bird Count. 

In addition to her active role in Nature Vancouver, Angela is a member and President of WildResearch, and helps us connect our two organizations.

Nature Vancouver is lucky to benefit from the enthusiasm, knowledge, practical experience, and competency she brings to all her endeavours. It a pleasure to present her with a Garibaldi Award, in appreciation of all her contributions to the society.

by Donna Underhill

Adele Liu

Adele Liu has been a Member of Nature Vancouver since 2013.  She joined NV Board in May 2018 and immediately had the daunting challenge of assuming the role of Treasurer with the sad passing of Jeremy McCall.

With a huge amount of work, Adele stewarded Nature Vancouver’s financial structure through challenging times of organizing financial records to best account for our Societies Operations and our Endowment Fund.  Since then, Adele has worked steadily to rationalize and streamline NV’s financial structure, taking great effort to work collaboratively with the Finance Committee and the Board.

She has also led the Finance Committee and Board in a much-needed review of the By-laws of our Society related to Finances, resulting in the proposed revisions presented at this year’s AGM.

In addition to Adele’s Treasurer role, she has helped with financial administration for the Wonders of the Salish Sea program that was co-sponsored by Nature Vancouver.  

On the conservation side, she has demonstrated her strong environmental and conservation ethic by lobbying for environmental protection and conservation with local MPs.  

Adele is passionate, eloquent and committed, and it is a great honour to be able to award her with a Nature Vancouver Garibaldi Award for Service.

by Fred Hornby

Daniel Overmyer

Dan has been a member of N.V. from 1996. He has served as a Board Member, and as President from 2011-2013. Dan has taken on several tasks in the Society, but the one I would like to highlight tonight is his work on Discovery magazine.

Dan was asked by the Board to spearhead a working group as Editor for the 2019 Discovery. He assembled a group and Volume 47 was published. We met up in Dan’s apartment.

He was asked to carry on as Editor for the 2020 Discovery, and again, he readily agreed. But along came the pandemic, and how would we meet up?  Daniel at that time didn’t have ZOOM, so as soon as it was possible, we began meeting in his apartment’s carport, socially distancing amongst the cars. We had the distinction of probably being the only committee this side of the Rockies that didn’t meet on ZOOM, and (I speak for myself) were the happier for it. Nothing beats seeing your fellow committee members in person. And along came Volume 48. Our Pandemic Edition.

It was a pleasure to work on Discovery with Dan. He encouraged us, and the magazine speaks for itself and It is great pleasure to present Dan a Garibaldi Award.

by Cynthia Crampton

Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education

The Beamish award recognizes achievements by Society members in the area of nature education and/or contributions in promoting the aims of the Society. This award was established in 1995 in honour of Katherine (Kay) Beamish, a distinguished botanist and long-time member of this Society.

Laura Cottle, Denis Laplante and Kelly Sekhon

This year the Kay Beamish award is presented to a very special trio who have worked closely together in the past year.

In March of last year, with the Provincial Health Officer’s restrictions on social gatherings, Nature Vancouver’s Thursday meeting schedule was effectively shut down. It is astounding to know that within three days of that order, Nature Vancouver’s first ever Zoom meeting was held with an audience of twelve viewers. Denis Laplante announced on the March 24th e-News, which he coordinates, that he was working with other sections to put other presentations online, and also asked for ideas from members. At this time, he also encouraged members to post photographs or poems to the e-News; a touching addition to the weekly communications in a stressful time.

In the March 30,2020 issue of e-News, Denis announced the second online Zoom presentation along with instructions on how to use this new and for many, un-tried technology. That next presentation saw 57 computers along with their rapt users. Since then, Nature Vancouver has hosted 49 ongoing presentations hosted primarily by Denis Laplante and Laura Cottle. Over the last year, Laura has been instrumental in brainstorming ideas for speakers and organizing presentations for the fourth Thursday nights. She has also been active in hosting and helping the other sections with their Zoom presentations on many other Thursdays. This is in the midst of many other activities that she is busy with including the scholarship and camp committees.

Attendance at these presentations has been as high as one hundred viewers including members who may not have been otherwise able to attend an in-person meeting. Most presentations have been saved for later viewing on YouTube; a process initiated by Denis which will preserve a valuable record. 

Complementing the Zoom component of Nature Vancouver’s presence has been the steady development and refinement of the Nature Vancouver communications by Kelly Sekhon. Working closely with Denis and Laura, and many others, Kelly has ensured smooth coordination and a troubleshooting response to changing conditions. Kelly is an absolutely key person in his involvement of all aspects of NV communications. These range from collaborating with the website, to helping members entering the Zoom platform late, to working behind the scenes to manage crucial operational and communication aspects.

Nature Vancouver’s online presence over the last year of Covid restrictions can be attributed to a great communal effort of people helping with technology; from section leaders contacting and arranging speakers and regular members making suggestions for ideas for presentations and speakers. We would like to thank all those contributors who have helped us weather this storm.

In particular though, with this year’s Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education we would like to honour the three key organizers of Nature Vancouver’s on-line presence, also known as the Zoom Team:  Denis Laplante, Kelly Sekhon and Laura Cottle. We are immensely grateful for their initiative and competency that has allowed Nature Vancouver to survive and thrive in these difficult times.

by Janet Snell

Frank Sanford Award for Community Service

The Sanford award recognizes the achievements of the wider community that support the aims and objectives of Nature Vancouver. This award may be presented to any member of the community or another organization but is not usually presented to a member of Nature Vancouver. In general, only one Sanford award is presented per year. This award was established in 1995 in honour of Frank Sanford, Society Treasurer for 35 years.

Doug Cooper

The Hastings Park Sanctuary, one of the City’s best kept secrets, is a human-made wetland, created in the late 1990’s during the initial phases of the former Hastings Park Restoration Plan which was superseded in 2010 by the Hastings Park /PNE Master Plan.  The Hastings Park Conservancy, a volunteer-run organization, was established in June 2000 to represent the community and work with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board during the re-greening process.  

Since 1999, when it was officially opened, more than 149 bird species have been recorded in the Sanctuary, which is designated as a Hotspot by eBird Canada (https:// ebird.org/hotspots).  

Doug Cooper and his family moved to Hastings Sunrise about 12 years ago.  As a new resident, one of the first things Doug did was join the Hasting Park Conservancy’s Environmental Committee.  Early on, he assumed an energetic, leadership role in guiding nature walks through the Sanctuary, and often the area inside the Hastings Park Racecourse.  

Although a Nature Vancouver member, I now live on Salt Spring Island.  For many years prior to my move to the island in August 2018, I enjoyed co-leading monthly Sanctuary walks, as well as walks on special occasions, such as International Migratory Bird Day and Hastings Park Day celebrations, with Doug.  

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Doug continued to promote and lead the monthly walks, warmly welcoming both regulars and newcomers.  The walks drew participants from throughout the lower mainland and occasionally farther afield, often serving as a first introduction to the green miracle that is the Hastings Park Sanctuary, even for nearby residents.  His easy going, positive, non-judgemental approach makes the interpretive information that he conveys feel more like a sharing than a telling, he’s never in a hurry, and he’s a good listener, all of which puts people at ease.  The walks are conducted at a leisurely, low-key, inclusive pace.  Along the way, Doug helps people recognize and appreciate the amazing biodiversity and everyday wonders that exist all around them, including in their own neighbourhoods and backyards. His enthusiasm, breadth of knowledge, and encouragement open the door to Nature enjoyment and exploration, and inevitably, to increased environmental awareness, care and engagement.

Doug is a Nature Vancouver member and a frequent contributor to Nature Vancouver’s website blog where his beautiful photos of birds and plants, as well as his friendly, conversational writing voice enable him to reach an even wider audience.  These blogs felt like a special gift throughout 2020 and into 2021 when, in line with COVID protocols, organized nature walks were cancelled, and we all stayed close to home.  I know that Doug intends to resume the monthly Sanctuary walks as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

In addition to his involvement at Hastings Park, each year in mid December, Doug brings his organizational and birding strengths to bear during Nature Vancouver’s Christmas Bird Count, taking a lead role in Area P, which includes the Vancouver waterfront from Coal Harbour to the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge.  Doug also serves as an area leader in the Surrey / White Rock count and regularly participates in Abbotsford / Mission counts.   

I am incredibly pleased to announce that Nature Vancouver is awarding Doug the 2021 Frank Sanford Award for Community Service. Congratulations Doug!

by Pat Miller

Davidson Award for Nature Conservation

The Davidson award recognizes achievements by Society members in the area of conservation. This award was established in 1993 in honour of Society founder Professor John Davidson, a vocal conservation advocate.

Sheila Byers

Sheila Byers is a Registered Professional Biologist and marine biologist. She is employed as a Museum Interpreter at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC. 

She is the Past President and a current Director of the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society (MLSS), since 2007. Her Conservation efforts, especially through MLSS, have focused on protection of the Glass Sponge Reefs of Howe Sound. She contributed extensively to conservation efforts that resulted in the dedication, by the federal government, of eight Marine Refuges in Howe Sound to protect glass sponge reefs. These were designated by DFO in 2019, adding to the Rockfish Conservation areas which had been previously protected. She continues to work for fuller protection of the glass sponge reefs as Marine Sanctuaries, as well as increasing public awareness of regulations, and the need for increased staffing to patrol and enforce regulations. 

Sheila is a member of Nature Vancouver and on the Marine Biology Section Planning Committee since 2002, including several years as the Chair. She researches a topic in depth and presents educational materials with great accuracy, as can be seen in her articles in the past three issues of Nature Vancouver’s journal, Discovery, on: Glass Sponge Reefs, Conservation of Rock Fish, Sea Stars and Wasting Disease. She also wrote and published a pamphlet “Exploring the Rocky Shore at Stanley Park”, which she later published as a booklet. Sheila has presented evening talks to Nature Vancouver on topics such as Zombie Worms and Glass Sponge Reefs. She has led and co-led numerous beach walks for the Marine Biology Section. She is also a very thoughtful listener and often raises questions at the end of a talk which allows the speaker, in response, to delve deeper into their topic. 

Sheila is also on the planning committee for the Wonders of the Salish Sea educational program. She has been involved with their field trips and has been a presenter for the program, most recently providing an excellent and thorough talk on BC Shellfish. 

It is a great pleasure to honour Sheila with Davidson Award.

by Joan Lopez

Charles & Kaye Ney Award for Extraordinary Service

The premier award of the Society for “lifetime” exemplary service and dedication to the Society. Active Directors of the Society are not eligible for this award until they have served more than 10 years as a Director. This award was established in 1975 in memory of Kaye Ney by her husband and renamed after his death

Bev Ramey

This year’s recipient of Kaye & Charles Ney Award, Bev Ramey, is an accomplished birder, botanist, and conservationist who has transposed her passions into action to benefit BC and its environment.

Bev’s professional accomplishments including the planning for two Metro Vancouver regional parks is equalled by decades of volunteer service for key nature education and conservation organizations such as BC Nature, BC Naturalists’ Foundation, Pacific Spirit Park Society, the Elders’ Council, and of course Nature Vancouver. 

In most of these organizations, Bev has served in key roles, often as board member, sometime as president and always offered invaluable practical experience, political insights and encouraged and exemplified collaborative interactions within groups. Nature Vancouver has now had the benefit of Bev’s abilities and wisdom as a board member for the last ten years.

Bev represents Nature Vancouver at various other groups – such as Jericho Stewardship Group to clean out nest boxes, Queen Mary School, where she helps teachers with field trips, and is very kind and welcoming – the sort of person who makes newcomers to Nature Vancouver feel that they have discovered a group of kindred spirits.

Bev is one of the most capable, principled and effective guardians of Metro Vancouver’s and British Columbia’s environment I have ever had the honor to know. Personally, I have gone to Bev time and time again over the years for advice on a range of issues and always been impressed and thankful for the quality of her counsel.

by Nigel Peck

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