Volunteer Recognition

Nature Calgary sincerely appreciates the efforts of all our volunteers, who make our organization viable and vital. We have eight current members recognized as Honorary Life Members. At our annual general meeting in December, we announce an annual President’s Award to a valued volunteer. Every year we have a volunteer appreciation event in the spring where the current year’s volunteers can mingle over refreshments.  


Honorary Life Members

Nature Calgary’s Honorary Life Members have made a significant and sustained contribution to Nature Calgary and its goals. Kay Morck (d. 1998) Beryl Hallworth (d. 2000) Jim Posey (d. 2013) Michael Battrum Mary Lore Ian Halladay Jean Maudsley John McFaul Don Stiles Suzanne Visser  


Volunteer Appreciation

April 2018
Thank you to our team of volunteers who contribute to the ongoing efforts of Nature Calgary. A volunteer recognition event was held at Hotel Blackfoot on April 22, 2018. Thanks to everyone who attended and a special thanks to your volunteers.

May 2016
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped promote Nature Calgary at the Calgary Horticultural Garden Show, the Climb for Wilderness, and International Migratory Bird Day, as well as leading walks with the Junior Forest Wardens. We had great coverage and exposure. Lots of people were interested in learning about birds in their backyard, nature as well as Nature Calgary in general. Keep spreading the word with like-minded people, and promoting Nature Calgary!

March 2016
Thanks to Ian Ross for doing seven nature talks for Calgary elementary schools in Jan and Feb. There were three sessions given on Owls for the grade 1 classes of Altadore School, and four sessions about the birds of Alberta to the grade 4 and 3/4 of Louis Riel school. “Mr Carburn”, Nature Calgary’s stuffed great horned owl, was a big hit with all of the children.

December 2015
At our AGM, the President’s Award was given to Lynne Colborne and to John Laurence.  Lynne has served on the Board for 4 years and organized 4 successful bus trips, helped research and coordinate a change of meeting venue, and contributed to publicity efforts.   John Laurence has been our Membership Secretary for 5 years, diligently tracking our membership database, payments, and mailbox, and putting up with a new web-based system.  The society would not function without these unsung heroes working in the background.  Thank you to Lynne and John!

John McFaul presents one of the President’s Awards to Lynne Colborne, Dec/2015.

John McFaul presents one of the President’s Awards to John Laurence, Jan/2015.

November 2015 Nature Calgary Annual Banquet
On Nov 7, a great success, with dynamic speaker Kevin van Tighem. Our thanks to Penny Smith for once again organizing the annual Nature Calgary Banquet.  Considerable time and effort goes into organizing events such as this, including arranging a location, a caterer and a speaker, not to mention all of the little details that are required to make for a successful evening.   Thanks also to all of the other volunteers who helped on the evening, including John McFaul, Shirley Frazer, Janet Gill, Darren Batke, Bernie Debolt, Joerg Gueldenpfennig, Cathy Cush, and Ian Halladay.  Also thanks to Dianne Swinton, Susan Wooding, Val Price, Jan Roseneder and Laura Taylor for donating items for the door prizes.  Apologies to those whose names may have been overlooked.

Star Night at FCPP 
For a second year, Nature Calgary had a table at the fall Star Night at FCPP on October 24th.  Despite being a cloudy evening, the event was a success, and a large number of people, including a high ratio of children, visited the Nature Calgary table.  The theme for the evening was “Creatures of the Night” with a focus on Tiger Salamanders.  Volunteers for the evening were Karel Bergmann, Sue Konopnicki, Joan and Wayne Walker and Ian Ross.  A special thanks to Shalane DeGruyter of FCPP, who gave us the use of owl artifacts, life sized photos of owls — and treats and beverages.

Nature Alberta awards the Frank & Alice Harper Award to Nature Calgary’s John McFaul 
John has been on the NC Board for over 30 years, most of that time as Program Director, and has organized nearly 300 speakers for our monthly meetings. His lengthy tenure with NC makes him the “go to guy” for background history of the society. John unselfishly gives his time to represent NC at local meetings on environmental and wildlife issues, and volunteers enthusiastically for coordinating bird counts, field trips and other excursions. John has contributed to several books and field guides with information, photos, and articles about nature activities. Congratulations, John! Read more.

October 2015
Our Membership Secretary John Laurence is retiring after 5 years of keeping track of our membership list. Many thanks to John for helping our members so patiently! Val Pritchard has graciously agreed to take on this key volunteer role.

August 2015
We would like to thank Cory Olson for leading an excellent evening with the bats at Fish Creek park on August 11.  You may remember that Cory gave a talk about local bats at the October 2014 General Meeting.   Cory brought along technology which allowed participants to listen in to bat navigation and feeding sounds. Over 30 people came out for the evening, which was perfect for watching bats, warm, dry and calm. Thanks very much Cory. As in last year, Nature Calgary assisted the Shawnessy YMCA by providing nature walks to children attending the YMCA day camp on July 8.  Despite having more children than counted on, and a very hot day, Lenora & Dick Flynn, Jack Shier, Stephen & Dorothy Spring, Cassiano Porto, Katie Donohue, Ruth Gentry, Elizabeth Millham and Bryan Simpson provided an excellent experience for the kids.  Feedback from the Nature Calgary volunteers was very positive, and some volunteers have requested they be put on the list for next year.

May 2015
International Migratory Bird Day was held at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary on May 10th, with Nature Calgary having a presence.  There were a large number of children at the event, with the big attractions at the Nature Calgary table being the “Whose Poo?” and “What Bird’?”  guessing games.  Thanks to Sue Konopnicki, Andrew Hart and Ian Ross for making this a successful event.

April 2015
Many thanks to the volunteers who helped with our booth at the Garden Show, April 11-12.  We appreciate the time (and long drive) taken by: Shirley  Fraser, Don Stiles, John McFaul, Val Scholefield, Laura Taylor, Alberta DeFrancesco, Susan Wooding, Marje Wing, Annemarie Mayer, Susan Wooding, Gayle Linden, Darlene Shymkiw, Ian Ross, Patrick  Bulman, Leslie Nicholls, Sue Konopnicki, Nimali Seneviratne.

March 2015 Star Night
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and FCPP invited Nature Calgary to have a booth and give a presentation at their spring star night on March 28. Ian Halladay, Cassiano Porto, Sue Konopnicki, Dick and Lenora Flynn participated in this event, and based upon their experience it was a worthwhile night. Thanks to those who represented Nature Calgary at the event, and thanks also to Anne K. Elliott, Jeff Thompson, Linda Vaxvick, Lynne Colborne, Stephen Spring, Bob Harper, and others who assisted with providing photos and material for this evening.

December 2014
The annual President’s award was given to John Stewart, who has held a number of Board positions over several years, including that of Secretary and FAN (Nature Alberta) representative.

December 2014
In November and December Nature Calgary volunteers participated in two local events, the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival and the Ecology at Ambrose Poster Session at Ambrose University.  Thanks go to Don Stiles and Sue Konopnicki for manning the table at the Film Festival, and John McFaul for being at Ambrose University. Thanks to those who volunteered to assist with the Nature Calgary table at the MEC club night on November 6th. Those who helped out were Ian Halladay, Penny Smith, Lorraine and Dave Campbell and Andrew Hart.

Banquet 2014
Thanks to organizer Penny Smith and her helpers for a great evening: Ian Ross, Bernie Diebolt, Ed Kissinger, Natalie Pashkowich, Diane Stinson, Janet Gill, Val Scholefield, Gayle Linden, Gus Yaki, John McFaul, Jeff Thompson, and Linda Vaxvick.  Also many thanks to donators of door prizes: Laura Taylor, Val Pritchard, Ken Havard, Gayle Linden, and Liz Fricke.

October 2014 Weaselhead Invasive Plants Study
A big thank you to all the volunteers who have helped with the NC/Weaselhead research project over the last 3 years. Early indications are that the time of removal is the best predictor of regrowth from root fragments, and that canopy cover (light availability) is the best predictor for seedling emergence. Further analysis and testing for significance is planned for the next few months…Sarah Nevill, Invasive Plants Program Coordinator, Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society.

July 2014
The Shawnessy YMCA Day Camp requested that Nature Calgary assist them with a planned day at Fish Creek Provincial Park. They were in need of guides to lead nature walks for 85 children between the ages of 5 and 8 years of age. Thanks to the participation of nine volunteers we were able to respond to their request and had a very successful day.  July 4th was a hot, cloudless, and seemingly birdless day, however there was plenty for the children to get excited about, including deer and fawn, ground squirrels, and the big hit of the day, Tent Caterpillars.    Thanks go to Shirley Tajenar, Dorothy and Stephen Spring, Gus Yaki, Rose Painter, Allison Scovil, Don Stiles, and Linda Sanders for assisting and making this a very successful day for the children.  …Ian Ross

May 2014
From Ian Ross (May 10, 2014): Our thanks goes out to all of those who have volunteered throughout the year. Nature Calgary would not function if we did not have the dedicated group of people that make each and every event happen. Field trips require leaders, general meetings require a Program Director and Greeters, as does the Bird Study Group. Volunteers man tables at various non-Nature Calgary events, keeping us in the public eye. Annual Bus Trips, Banquets and Waterton Weekends do not happen without the efforts of volunteers, nor does the Newsletter get published and mailed out, and the Nature Calgary Website updated and maintained. Members of the Board who among other things, look after the finances, publicity, maintain the membership records, manage communications, publicity and coordinate with the Federation of Alberta Naturalists, are all volunteers…as well as those who have represented Nature Calgary’s views in discussion with the City of Calgary and other organizations. Thank you all for doing what you do. Without you Nature Calgary would not exist.

May 2014
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with our booths at the Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show held on April 12th and 13th,  the AWA Tower Climb Apr 26, and the International MIgratory Bird Day on May 11. We appreciate the time you gave to support Nature Calgary.

January 2014
Thanks to Dorothy and Stephen Spring for volunteering to assist a Midnapore Girl Guide Troop with an introduction to birds and birding.  Sessions such as these are a good way to start a lifetime interest in wildlife.

62nd Calgary Christmas Bird Count
Thanks to the record number (267) of participants, and the key organizers:  Phil Cram, head compiler. Special thanks go to Cindy and Dan Parliament for hosting a most enjoyable wind-up party. Bob Lefebvre and Arthur Wieckowski helped me immeasurably with the compilation. Donna Wieckowski and her team captains organised the feeder-watch part of the count and collected and compiled their results very quickly. Daniel Arndt, Terry Korolyk, John McFaul and Jim Washbrook efficiently helped to organise the teams in the field.

December 2013
The annual President’s Award was given at the AGM to:

  • Jamie Noakes, who has held a number of Board positions over several years, including that of Natural Areas representative.
  • Val Scholefield, who has operated the welcome table at our meetings for several years, and in effect been the “face” of Nature Calgary to new guests, as well as taking on other volunteer positions.

Special recognition was also given to Gus Yaki, in grateful recognition of his 11 years as our Field Trip Coordinator. (Gus has previously been given the President’s Award and in 2012, Nature Alberta’s Loren Goulden Award).

October 2013
Nature Calgary’s annual banquet on Oct 19, featuring speaker Jon Turk, was excellent. Thanks are due to Penny Smith who organized the whole thing! Thanks also to her helpers John McFaul, Bernie Diebolt, Janet Gill, Joerg Gueldenpfennig, Shirley Fraser, Dorothy Johnston, Ian Ross, Val Scholefield, Marg Oliver, and all those who pitched in for cleanup.  A grateful thanks goes to all the donors of door prizes.

September 2013 Passing of Jim Posey
It is with great regret that we pass on the sad news that Jim Posey, a long-time volunteer for Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society, has passed away.  Besides his tremendous contributions to  CFNS, Jim remained very active in the botany community being on the boards of the Alberta Native Plant Council and the Alberta Invasive Plant Council.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I write to tell you that Jim Posey died quietly and without pain this afternoon (September 20, 2013). Jim was hospitalized on July 21 and he received excellent care in the Intensive Care Unit at the Rockyview Hospital. His closest family members, myself, his daughter Gillian, and his son Alaric, were with him when he died. We know that you share our sorrow, as we will share yours.”  — Eileen Dann In 1988

Jim was awarded an Honourary Life Membership for outstanding service to the Calgary Field Naturalists over approximately 25 years. Jim was President of CFNS from 1981-1984, and then held the Vice-presidency from 1984-1991. During this period, he volunteered as membership compiler, Botany Group coordinator, and presenter at CFNS meetings.  He assisted with newsletter production, publicity, representation on committees and at meetings dealing with development and natural area issues in the City, to name but a few.  He also received the President’s Award.

The citation for Jim’s President’s award was as follows : “It is my pleasure to present the 1991 President’s Award to Jim Posey. Jim was president of the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society for three years (1981-1984) and then vice-president for eight years (from 1984 to the present). Jim’s greatest contribution to CFNS has been in the hours of teaching, sharing and showing us the beauty and intricacy of flowers in all their many and varied habitats. As Botany Study Group leader, Jim has led walks every Thursday evening from early May to September from 1979 to the present. Since 1990 he has also led all-day trips on weekends. This has been, and continues to be, a large contribution of both time and energy. Jim is also a very patient teacher. The May species count is another project Jim has been involved with. Currently Jim is our membership compiler and is responsible for printing all our mailing labels and maintaining our membership list up to date. Jim, on behalf of all our members, I thank you very much for all your contributions to the Society.”  — Jean Maudsley

January 2013
Thank you to all those organizing and participating in the 2012 Calgary Christmas Bird Count. Especially:

  • Calgary coordinator Phil Cram and his assistants Terry Korolyk, John McFaul, and Jim Washbrook.
  • Compilers Bob Lefebvre and Marcel Gahbauer.
  • Feeder Watch count coordinator Jean Moore  and captains Barb Coote, Joan Falcione, Catherine Huene, Dorothy Johnston, Wendy King, Catherine McGlashan, and Aileen Pelzer.
  • Calgary supper hosts Donna & Art Wieckowski.
  • Regional coordinators Mike McIvor, Kirk Davis , Sam Miller, Mike Harrison, Frank Hennessey, Jamie Podlubny, Doug Collister, Mike Truch, Jim Washbrook, Yousif Attia, and Cliff Hansen.

December 2012
The annual President’s Award was given at the AGM to:

  • Cliff Rhodes, president 2008-2010
  • Jan Brigden and Linda Vaxvick, leaders of the 2012 website project

April 2012
Long-time Nature Calgary volunteer Gus Yaki was awarded Nature Alberta’s Loran Goulden Award.

Since 1993, Gus’s knowledge and energy have been a key part of Nature Calgary’s activities, and his love of the natural world has inspired and informed thousands of people through his nature outings and talks.

Prior to moving to Calgary in 1993, Gus helped found the Niagara Nature Club in 1966, helped in the creation of the Bruce Trail, and was involved in amateur natural history and conservation endeavours. From 1972 to 1991 he owned Nature Travel Service, leading tours all over the world. He continued to lead some tours professionally until 2003.

Gus organizes over 150 nature outings per year for Nature Calgary, and leads walks and talks for over 13 other conservation organizations, and several schools, in the area. He has worked with undergraduate students at St Mary’s University, suggesting topics for their research projects. He has taught hundreds, if not thousands, of people how to identify plants and animals, how to record observations, and how to relate wild species to habitat characteristics. Most days of the week you will find Gus leading an outing somewhere in the Calgary area, sometimes two or three per day. Gus is often the “go-to guy” for reporters when they need information about nature or invasive species in Calgary. On any outing, he constantly finds things to teach about – birds, animals, flowers, lichens, invasive species, seasonal changes, the history of an area, and threats to biodiversity.

Gus has written many articles, meticulously collected plant and bird records, and has been involved in countless species counts, birding events, and bio-blitzes. He has lobbied and advocated for numerous environmental causes, notably the problem of invasive plant species. His passion for natural history, impressive breadth and depth of knowledge, and ability to teach and engage people truly make him deserving of the Loran Goulden Award.