2023 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

2023 Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Awards

This year’s volunteer awards were announced on 27th April, 2023 at the AGM. The AGM was held via Zoom Video Conferencing. The award plaques will be presented later.

Garibaldi Award 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.

Peter Cawsey

A member since 1987, Peter has been participating in Christmas Bird Counts from at least 2002 when he was noted in the list of volunteers and for many years was a highly valued participant in the summer camps both for how much he helped out and his buoyant personality.

When we first started New Brighton, the challenge was hauling out six-to-eight feet high Scotch Broom plants which required a lot of effort. In those first days, one of our go-to persons was Peter Cawsey who wrestled the broom magnificently. As we cleared all the broom, Peter moved on to digging out thickets of blackberry cane and roots, then digging large holes to plant gallon sized roses and shrubs and most recently digging networks of blackberry cane and roots from two hundred metres of shoreline. Peter has helped a lot at New Brighton – in fact 17 times so far. It is a great pleasure to honour Peter with a well-deserved Garibaldi Award.

Photo and Citation by Nigel Peck

Jeff Prowse

Although a more recent Nature Vancouver member, Jeff has made up for it by becoming a major worker and resource person for the New Brighton project. Quiet by nature but a very hard worker, it was not for several work parties that we realized that Jeff’s profession is restoration work and he is an incredible resource of practical knowledge of how to do things best. 

Jeff has helped out at 12 work parties but his contribution goes far beyond the invasives he has pulled and native perennials and shrubs he has planted. As the project coordinator I have asked Jeff many times for advice which he provided quickly allowing us to make better decisions.  New Brighton is far more successful due to his contributions and for that we would like to honour him with a Garibaldi. 

Photo and Citation by Nigel Peck

Vicky Earle

Vicky Earle has loved nature since her childhood. Nature remained the main focus of her long career in Art and Scientific / Medical Illustration. In 1985 she received a degree in Medical Illustration and Biocommunications at the University of Toronto. She then had a successful career working for UBC and it’s affiliated teaching hospitals. She went on to earn her Master’s in Education Technology at UBC to enhance her understanding of teaching online and has contributed widely to scientific and medical journals, textbooks, animation, websites and videos. Travels to Asia and Central America kindled her passion for tropical rainforests and botanical illustrations. Her work has been featured in numerous shows and exhibitions. In 2018 she was selected as a Signature Member for Artists for Conservation.

Vicky is a Member of the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association, served on their board for a decade and was a Founding member and Director of Friends of the Bloedel Association that saved the Bloedel Conservatory from closure in 2009.

Over the past year Vicky has led monthly Sketchbook Journaling workshops for Nature Vancouver members. These have been held in various outdoor sites, including Fraser Foreshore Park, Pacific Spirit Park, Camosun Bog, and Charleson Park at False Creek. This winter the group met in the VanDusen Gardens Library. Vicky encouraged us to slow down, to observe and pay attention to the natural world around us, to be curious and to ask questions. She shared her beautiful Sketchbook Journals which were an inspiration for all and she gave tips on shading, lighting, and various types of artistic media from pencils to water pens, inks and paints etc. She gave us many online resources for journaling and some beautiful Botanical Art references from the VanDusen Library. In our recent session we learned about the three different types of twilight according to how far the sun has dipped below the horizon.

Vicky’s gentle and generous manner, her profound love of Nature and Conservation and her exquisite Journal artwork have been an inspiration to our members who were fortunate enough to attend.  For her dedication, time and teaching about Nature and Art, Vicky is very worthy of a 2023 Nature Vancouver Garibaldi award.

Photo and Citation by Caroline Penn

Selina Wong

Selina Wong joined Nature Vancouver just two years ago, because of her interest in nature. She started attending our zoom presentations. At one of the presentations she generously jumped in to assist the presenter who was had some difficulty with the Zoom. This kind advice helped get the presentation to proceed and it was really appreciated by everyone who had signed on to watch it. Soon after that she began volunteering to host some of the meetings, which was a huge help to Denis, who had been host of most of the Zoom presentations since they had begun with the onset of Covid restrictions. The rest of us who attend really appreciate Denis, and Selina’s contribution as well! Selina brings a natural curiosity and enthusiasm to everything she does, and it is very kind of her to help out by hosting as needed with a number of our presentations. 

Photo by Anne Chong

In April 2021, Selina came out to assist with the removal of Scotch Broom from New Brighton Park. Nigel Peck and volunteers had just begun taking on this huge restoration project. She had a take-charge attitude and helped with loading the truck, and organizing the removal.

Her enthusiasm was noticed, and Selina was invited to join the Nature Vancouver Board in May of 2022. She agreed, and we are so happy she did as she brings a bright, thoughtful approach to our Board. This commitment to monthly Board meetings also involves lobbying, writing letters, and Selina has helped out in a myriad of ways. She has submitted photos to the Photo Contest and joined the Camp Committee. She has recorded the Minutes for Board meetings on multiple occasions, including our AGM in April, and made sense of the often-confusing Board discussions. It is not an easy job. Selina comes prepared to the meetings and contributes with regular and thoughtful common-sense approach to problems or issues. She has a fine head for numbers and assisted with drawing up the 2023 Big Bar Camp budget.

We thank Selina for her dedication to Nature Vancouver, and for giving of her time and energy to Nature Vancouver. It is nice to take this opportunity to honour Selina for volunteering in such a generous manner. We appreciate that she has shared her many abilities with us.

Citation by Donna Underhill

Adam Wang

Over the past year Adam Wang has twice stepped forward to share his expertise and provide much needed support for key club activities. In April 2022, NV organized its first in person and via Zoom ‘Hybrid’ presentation, and while members liked the flexibility it offered, the more complex arrangements put a real strain on the small team of existing Zoom support volunteers.  Adam proffered his services as a host, and has been invaluable in allowing us to continue to provide this option.

Photo by Adele Liu

In January of 2023, an ad-hoc Photography Section committee met to try to organize an annual photo event, on short notice and with limited information on past procedures. The participants were able to agree on the framework and date for a 2023 Photo Show, but without committed individuals to carry out critical tasks the project was in danger of floundering. Adam volunteered to take on the complex task of managing photo submissions and skillfully developed a sophisticated computer routine to assign numbers, anonymize the photos, extract other useful information, and collate it all in a convenient spreadsheet. He then created a shared folder where critic Michael Wheatley could review them. When that was complete, he re-sorted the photos, restored the titles and photographers names and created a PowerPoint presentation that included clever collages at the beginning of each section, and a fascinating graph of the various types of cameras used. After the show he created a new folder of anonymized photos for the Members’ Choice voting. 

Adam’s calm and easygoing nature, combined with his initiative and attention to detail make him a delight to work with in any capacity, and a worthy recipient of the Garibaldi Award.

Citation by Teresa Gagné

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.

Harvey Dueck

This year’s Kay Beamish Award for Nature Education recipient, Harvey Dueck exemplifies the generosity of time, ability and spirit that Kay Beamish engendered. This is of increased importance in the modern word of the digital life and the internet and even more so with the restrictions of Covid.  Harvey has had two major impacts in communication in the modern world which is the key to Nature Education. 

Harvey Dueck plays a key role in supporting Nature Vancouver communications. Since 2018, he has been Nature Vancouver’s webmaster. His role as webmaster is to maintain and develop the infrastructure that runs Nature Vancouver’s website. This involves almost daily work to answer questions, plan and perform platform upgrades, research options for improvements, implement features/tweaks, reset passwords, and deal with any website issues that arise.

Harvey in Mexico. Photo by Michelle Baudais

Harvey introduced Nature Vancouver to Meetup.com. Now more than 3200 people follow Nature Vancouver on Meetup, bringing our weekly meetings (and the occasional birding walk) to an entirely new audience.

After a number of traditional leaders of bird walks took a step back from leading during COVID, Harvey and his partner, Michelle stepped up.  Although they have only co-led 5 walks to date, they’ve supported and inspired at least one other NV member to do the same! Their philosophy is that you don’t have to be ‘the expert’ to bring people together, is an example to everyone in the society of how we can all contribute to everyone’s benefit.

Harvey also has created and delivered two talks to fill gaps in the NV weekly meeting schedule, sharing his photos and experiences from personal trips to Tanzania / Kenya and Mexico.

As a regular recipient of Harvey’s assistance, I would like to testify to Harvey’s thoughtful and considerate help with often repeated web challenges.

In summation, Harvey embodies the multifaceted aspects of providing nature education in today’s modern world. He is extremely talented, thoughtful, committed and on top of all that, an incredibly nice person. Thank you, Harvey, for all you contribute!

Citation by Nigel Peck

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.

Sally Hocking and Stephen Deedes-Vincke

I am delighted to nominate Sally Hocking and Stephen Deedes-Vincke for the Frank Sanford Award for Community Service.  

I first came across Stephen when I saw his photo in the North Shore News in 2018 in the Blueridge Days parade. He was surrounded by others sporting butterfly wings to promote the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project which was then in its infancy in BC. I got involved with Butterflyway Project because of that photo. Together this, husband and wife team have become a mainstay with that Project. They have built up the Dollarton Lane Butterflyway in North Vancouver, which is near Maplewood Conservation Area, to now include 15 neighboring homes along that Lane with pollinator friendly plantings of both host and nectar plants for butterflies, native bees and hummingbirds. This includes a nettle patch. This has involved very practical help for neighbours including fence building and soil preparation and planting choices. This Laneway also has Halloween and Christmas events and weddings and so is a very important community hub.  Stephen has delivered native plants for the Foundation to other Rangers and he even brought his Telus team of managers to place soil on my Butterflyway in 2019! Sally is the expert gardener with a background as a landscape architect from the UK.

Sally and Stephen did a Zoom presentation to Nature Vancouver on 27 August 2020. Their talk included butterfly identification, citizen science with iNaturalist, plants that attract butterflies (both host and nectar) and community building. The Plants and Butterfly section of their talk was recorded and available on Nature Vancouver YouTube channel. I often refer new Rangers to check out that presentation.

Winnie Hwo who is the Senior Public Engagement Specialist told me that Sally and Stephen are model rangers for us all to look up, and learn from. They are always ready to help new Rangers. Now they have added the Butterflies in my Backyard or BIMBY Citizen Science project. Stephen, a self-described “computer geek” supports the Foundation with technical advice for the Citizen Science work using iNaturalist as means of recording and analysing yearly butterfly populations across BC. Stephen also trains others about iNatualist. Winnie added that “it wasn’t just the Butterflyway project and BIMBY Citizen Science Project that got lucky by having Stephen and Sally, it is also the David Suzuki Foundation that had the good fortune of inviting and including these two as part of the family.” 

Sally has also been involved with the City of North Vancouver in developing and planting the Butterflyway Garden on Grand Blvd in 2022 and I understand soon there to be a 2nd garden nearby. Sally has also been Chair of the Deep Cove Garden Club and does wonderful paintings on rocks of local butterflies.  They have also planted 2 large neglected slopes near their home with wildflowers and pollinator friendly plantings. 

In addition, Stephen is also the the Block Watch Liaison for South Seymour, and they have also helped with the New Brighton Project.  

I am not sure how they have enough hours in the day for all these volunteer activities as well as earning a living, but we all benefit from their expertise and enthusiasm! 

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.

Kitty Castle

The Davidson Conservation Award for this year goes to Kitty Castle, a determined and steadfast conservationist who inspires by example and gentle persuasion and by the breadth of her advocacy and commitments.

As a good friend of Kitty’s commented: “One can’t think of Kitty the person without thinking about her commitment to the natural world around her”.

Kitty has committed to many organizations focussed on the conservation and understanding of the nature around us, some of which include:

The North Shore Black Bear Network  Now well-known and respected but needing much education and promotion at the beginning. Kitty was an early member and worked tirelessly to bring about a better understanding of bear management and conservation in North Shore neighbourhoods. She recruited and fundraised, she delivered leaflets, she volunteered at information booths. 

Friends of Cypress Provincial Park – Kitty and husband Mike have been intensely involved with Friends of Cypress. They have each served on the board, they have worked on trails, they have spoken with hikers, they know the park and the importance of working to maintain conservation in a beautiful park that is also home to a major ski resort.  Kitty leads interpretive hikes herself and with Mike, sharing her knowledge about flowers, birds, the history of the park.

Kitty has also been active in other groups The Old Growth Conservancy, the West Vancouver Eagle Watch to name a few.

Kitty is a member of the David Suzuki sponsored BIMBY – Butterflies In My Backyard Project and on her own initiative created a Butterfly Walk Way in her neighbourhood.

Another North Shore undertaking was a trillium conservation project on a local North Shore Creek where people, including dog walkers, unaware of trilliums surfacing in spring, splashed through shallow waters not noticing the emerging trilliums and causing damage generally. Kitty began by talking to people, showing them how to look for emerging trillium, making them more aware of their surroundings. 

Kitty then suggested to the District of North Vancouver that a bridge was needed to further prevent people and dogs smashing through the creek. Kitty received the materials from North Van District but needed a bridge builder. Kitty then proceeded to build a bridge by herself with the assistance of a friend. The bridge worked. People no longer waded through the creek and the trilliums emerged and multiplied.

Kitty has been active with Nature Vancouver since joining in 1996. In 2003 Kitty assumed the chair of the Summer Camp committee and steered it for six years, always with a high priority being the conservation aspects of the camps.

Most recently Kitty has been involved with and committed to Nature Vancouver’s New Brighton Park Restoration project. Along with other committed Nature Vancouver volunteers Kitty has volunteered 8 separate days since her first day planting native perennials in April of 2022.

Everything Kitty does exudes conservation in one way or another and she encourages everyone she meets in a wonderful, uplifting way to celebrate and champion the environment. Kitty is a superbly deserving recipient of the 2023 John Davidson Award for Conservation.

Citation by Lyn Grants / Photo by Nigel Peck

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