2017 was a very successful year for Nature Manitoba. We averaged more than two outdoor trips every week of the year, including those for general members and those under the auspices of the Grey Hares. These trips ranged from urban hikes and birding outings, to canoe trips in our province and other parts of Canada. Many thanks to our volunteer leaders who make this wonderful program possible.
The Mantario Committee ran a successful summer program that introduced many newbies to the joys of canoeing, from our cabin in the wilderness zone of Whiteshell Provincial Park (with support from our partners at Manitoba Sustainable Development). I would like to thank the members of the committee for their hard work, not only in running the summer program, but also maintaining the cabin throughout the year. Committee members are: Marc Leclair, Alain Louer, Dale Brown, Lee Cullen, Dale Brown, Brian Hydesmith, and Katrina Froese (a small group, but each has their unique abilities which makes them a great team).
The Discovery Program of indoor talks was quite varied and interesting, as evidenced by how very well-attended these sessions were. Thanks to Sandy Hayglass and her committee: Joe Leven, Patty Lapkin, Junny Kuchta, Les McCann, Alain Louer, Cindy Louer, Julia Schoen, Katharine Schultz and John Schultz for their efforts in securing such fascinating speakers. I am already looking forward to next winter's program.
For more specific natural history information, of course we have our Workshop Program, run with great energy and enthusiasm by Julia Schoen. These workshops invariably fill up soon after they are posted on our website, and often have long waiting lists - a testimony to Julia and the presenters, and I thank them very much.
We continue to host the Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBA) program, with support from Bird Studies Canada and the Winnipeg Foundation. Tim Poole's energy and enthusiasm for this program is infectious, and he has managed to recruit a large cadre of volunteers to inventory and assess established IBAs, as well as candidate areas.
I would like to thank the office staff who are the backbone of our organization: Susan McLarty, Deanna Dodgson and Lynsay Perkins. They make my job much easier, while acting as a terrific resource for all members. I would also like to thank my fellow Board members for helping keep this excellent organization operating so successfully - particularly André Laberge, our Treasurer, and Alain Louer, Board Secretary.
Finally, I would just like to say that Nature Manitoba has a very sound finincial footing. Our many dedicated funds are doing very well, but annual operating funds are a little tighter. You may have noticed that we increased the fee for the Discovery Evening events, and the resulting revenue has helped. Your donations to the semi-annual fundraising appeals also assist measurably in continuing to deliver the vast array of programs and activities I have touched on above.
Have a great summer, and I hope you get out to enjoy all our wonderful province has to offer.
President, Nature Manitoba