Ralph Bird Award: Barb and Rob Stewart
Their dedication as volunteers to the Chimney Swift Project and numerous contributions to it over the past decade have been truly outstanding.
The Project started off in 1997 thinking that they could build artificial towers to help swifts as had been done in Texas and other southern locations, only to discover that these towers didn’t work in the Manitoba climate. When the going got tough, the Stewarts got going to research the whys and wherefores and come up with an alternative strategy to maintain habitat for the swifts.
Their activities include: organising volunteers and volunteer-liaison activities; maintaining a database of chimneys & their use by the swifts; inspiring the whole community of St. Adolphe & beyond to get behind the project and the birds; stepping in to save many a chimney under the threat of demolition through stellar community engagement; preparing content for outreach on webpages and fact sheets; informing mitigation strategies including the design of replacement towers and faux-chimneys; informing and organising the Manitoba participation in the national roost-monitoring protocol, and publishing the results of very detailed monitoring and meticulous collection of data such as temperature profiles inside chimneys and other key findings relating to the biology of the species at northern latitudes in peer-reviewed journals such as Blue Jay).
Service Award: Roger Turenne
Roger has been actively volunteering his time and talents for Nature Manitoba for over 25 years. Few members have had a greater impact on our Society. He has served on the board for nine years and counting, three of them as President. More importantly, he provided leadership and vision on this board at a critical time. He restructured the way the board functioned, including our committee structure, and masterminded the change in our visual identity with a new logo and slogan. He modernized our communications, from website to newsletter to social media. For nine years he has chaired the newsletter Editorial Committee and the Communications and Promotions Committee, both of which he established.
He has written more articles and columns for the newsletter than any other member except Gordon Grieef. His popular “Roger’s Rant” column was often the first thing people read in the newsletter, both those who agreed with his views and those who didn’t. He has made more Discovery Evening presentations than anyone in recent history, at least 10 to my knowledge, and they have always been well attended. Proceeds of sales of DVDs made from some of these presentations were donated entirely to Nature Manitoba. Over the years he has led numerous trips for the Outdoor Program and the Grey Hares.
Perhaps most importantly for nature, Roger has also been a respected voice on environmental issues on behalf of Nature Manitoba, with advice both sought and listened to by government. Roger’s passion for nature and his loyalty to Nature Manitoba make him a fitting recipient for a Service Award.
Service Award: Dianne Beaven
From 2009 to 2015, Dianne Beaven was the “public face” of one of Nature Manitoba’s flagship programs, the Discovery Evenings. As a key member of the Indoor Programs Committee during this time, she was the main person involved in contacting our presenters and working with the staff at CCFM to ensure our programs went smoothly.
Because of her administrative and organizational expertise, communications from Dianne were always clear and complete, and her attention to detail enabled her to anticipate and fix any problems that might arise. Her friendly and cheerful manner was felt by all, from other committee members to presenters to our audiences. Dianne was also instrumental in helping to establish a procedures manual for the Discovery Evening program, an invaluable tool for future volunteers.
While she officially retired from the Indoor Programs Committee last year, she is continuing to serve Nature Manitoba this year through the Garden Tour Committee. For the past few years, Dianne has looked after ticket sales at our retail vendors – the garden centres and other outlets around the city that sell the majority of tickets for our tour. She has maintained excellent relations with these vendors, ensuring their continued interest in helping Nature Manitoba with this important fund-raiser.
President's Award: Marc Leclair
A big thank you to Marc for one to Marc Leclair for his hard work and leadership as chair of the Mantario Committee this past year, particularly in running a successful summer program without paid staff and replacing the cabin roof. We appreciate his time and dedication.
President's Award: Amanda San Fillipo
Amanda built our partner program, Bridging the Gap, and we would like to thank her for her hard work for the past several years in making this program such a success.