Naturalist Mentors Acknowledgments

Al Grass -Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, Langley Field Naturalists

Al Grass is well known throughout BC for his love and wide knowledge of nature and natural history.
Al worked as a career Park Naturalist with BC Parks for over 30 years in various provincial parks giving talks, walks and writing brochures on nature.

He is equally known for his passion for shar­ing his knowledge with everyone he meets, adults and children alike, inspiring them to love nature as he does. He has led countless field trips for young naturalists, schools, Guide and Scout groups as well as naturalist clubs and environmental groups for over 40 years.

He is especially interested in spiders, bugs, butterflies, lichens, trees, mushrooms, plants of all kinds – WELL – putting it simply – everything in NATURE – and of course, getting photographs of everything.

Al has provided great insights into every topic under the sun but there is always something new to get excited about.

Al developed his interest in nature at a very young age, and says that he is still learning and finding out many new things about the natural history around all of us.


Lynn Pollard – Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society

Lynn Pollard’s passion for sharing nature knowledge benefits and inspires all who meet him. He’s been a dedicated co-leader of the Nicomekl Nature Kids club since inception for over a decade with discovery days and camp featuring endless curiosity about even the smallest creatures. Never missing an opportunity to engage young people Lynn assisted the development of the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay’s marine, wetland and birds school programs and for over fifteen years has been the lead in the classroom and on field trips reaching over 1000 students annually. At public events he draws youth of all ages into exploring the microscope for a fascinating tidbit of the living world.

As a Surrey teacher, he connected countless students and teachers to the local environment through the District Challenge Program, classroom teaching and teacher professional development workshops. For many years after retirement, he gave his time to judge local Science Fairs. When actively involved with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, he assisted in the annual ‘Bird- A-Thon” where school children in the lower mainland participated in bird counts. Lynn Pollard, with his wife Jacquie Stinson, continues to share his love of nature as a mentor to people of all ages.


Bill Dancer and John Henigman – Victoria Naturalists

Since 2005, members of the Victoria Natural History Society have been volunteering their time to provide free, outdoor, nature-focused activities to youth in our region. Knowledgeable and committed naturalists serve as mentors to children in our region, transferring their knowledge and passion as a way of showing how they can support the protection of nature. The two nature mentors being highlighted here are also the team captains for this Connecting Children with Nature project: Bill Dancer and John Henigman. They organize the volunteer naturalists each time a request is made, and one or the other of them is directly involved every time a group partakes in an activity.  This coordination and participation is no small feat –in 2016 there were 51 outings involving 1100 students! All free, all nature-themed.

The outings occur in protected areas throughout our region, and try to target those closest to the school. Utilizing a natural area within walking distance or public transit for these field trips reduces transportation costs and vehicle emissions but also has another benefit: children learn to appreciate and value a natural area in their neighbourhood. From the outset it has been the Victoria Natural History Society’s hope that, through outdoor experiences, students will become stewards of our region and effective spokespeople for the value of protecting species and their habitats. These experiences will be retained into adulthood, and their interest and respect for the natural world will be passed on through careers and family.

The program has been very successful- receiving enthusiastic reviews from everyone involved. This success is due to the energy and enthusiasm John and Bill have brought to the trips and the project as a whole – right from its inception more than a decade ago. Groups that book these volunteer naturalists to provide nature education vary: schools, of course, but also Haliburton Community Organic Farm, the Bateman Centre sketch club, scouts, guides, daycares, and summer camps. There is information about the program on our website but the promotion seems to be all via word of mouth, which speaks to the quality of the experiences.

Both Bill and John have been recognized with a “Distinguished Service Awards” from the Victoria Natural History Society, but their impacts in the community are far greater than that. Teaching the next generation about the natural world is critical if they are to value it, and these two gentleman have been doing exactly


Liz Walker – White Rock Surrey Naturalists

Liz Walker has always taken the second half of our motto about nature, “Keep it Worth Knowing” very seriously. From early days with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Surrey Environmental Coalition, to her role now as President of the White Rock and Surrey Naturalist Club, she has demonstrated a fierce commitment to conservation. The number of hours Liz has spent in meetings and presentations and public hearings are impressive!

Equally impressive, however, is that early on she realized the importance of reaching out to young people and sharing her understanding and love of the natural world. From the early 1980’s with the Western Canada Wilderness Committees Boundary Bay Birdathon, to her role as Education Committee Chair of the White Rock and Surrey Naturalist Club, she has found innovative ways to involve children in learning about and appreciating our local flora and fauna. Thousands of school children have benefited from her intertidal explorations at Crescent Beach and 1001 Steps in Surrey, and come away with an understanding of the importance of beach etiquette, along with an exciting new appreciation for the critters that occupy that zone.

Often when we have information booths at festivals and fairs, they are geared toward adults and are a trifle boring. Liz has developed several displays over the years that truly engage and allow children and adults to participate actively in learning about such topics as pollination. Her combination of creativity and genuinely welcoming manner is a powerful one.

An effective mentor is someone who both teaches skillfully and models by their example. Liz does this well and has done it for an impressively long time!


Anthea Farr – Langley Field Naturalists

Many BC Nature Naturalists mentor in their community, in the schools and as leaders with NatureKids. Anthea Farr is one very special Naturalist Mentor who has contributed so much of her time and knowledge to connecting youth to nature in these many ways over decades in the Fraser Valley. Anthea has been a co–leader of the Nicomekl NatureKids Club (Surrey, Langley, Delta, White Rock area) for more than 15 years! In Anthea’s own words, “I think it’s very important to connect kids to nature. Even kids already keen about birds, or mammals, may have little knowledge about plants, or bugs, or other parts of nature.” My co–leaders and I try to present a wide variety of Explorer Days, so the kids get a more complete picture of how everything is connected. For example, it is very satisfying to know that one of our NatureKids members can now name four native ferns, and is teaching other kids in their school something about botany”. And, upon the benefits of being a volunteer, Anthea says one gets “a feeling that you are doing something really worthwhile, which could help the planet in the future. And you can actually get energy from the enthusiasm of these kids. Plus you will learn from others, big and small – that never stops”. BC Nature and NatureKids wish to acknowledge Anthea Farr for her generous dedication as a volunteer mentoring youth in BC.


Yvonne Dawydiak – Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society

Yvonne Dawydiak’s passion for and dedication to nature and environmental education influences all she does and all who know her. As an elementary teacher, her implementation of nature education was ground breaking as was her involvement with the Wilderness Committee conducting public education about Boundary Bay and Birdathons.

Yvonne has been the volunteer Education Coordinator with Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society (FoSBS) since 2003, when she led the development of their environmental school programs, consisting of a month for each class starting with a class presentation, the use of a teacher resource kit then a class field trip and she was one of the naturalist presenters and field trip leaders as well. Yvonne assisted with the development of the Beach Hero Marine Interpretive Program in 2004 in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Though DFO involvement is now limited, she continues to support this annual program mentoring volunteers and summer students. She participated with the ‘Shorekeepers’ program from the start and continues with the annual volunteer training and surveys in Boundary Bay. In 2009, Yvonne led the FoSBS Seaquarium project provided to the local museum along with weekly interpretation for the duration of their three month exhibit. She then arranged for the Seaquarium donation to an elementary school where hundreds of students and teachers benefit from marine nature as a theme for class activities.  Though now teaching the teachers as an adjunct professor at UBC, Yvonne will rarely miss a mentoring opportunity and is very generous with her time and knowledge. Her volunteer contributions, as a Naturalist Mentor to all ages for over twenty -five years, are well known and appreciated by her naturalist peers and in the local community.


Eva Nagy – Nature Vancouver

Eva Nagy deserves to be acknowledged as a committed and hardworking Naturalist Mentor. Well known for her contributions to Nature Vancouver, Eva has been leading field trips for many years where she imparts her vast botany knowledge and passion for nature. Her club also benefits while she has enthusiastically organized the Botany section for numerous years as well.

Eva became the volunteer leader for Nature Kids (Young Naturalists’ Club), Vancouver in 2002 and over the nine years she was leader she organized ten trips annually, influencing over 2500 children and their families to local wildlife, ecosystems and conservation. The club was so popular that two more were formed to serve all those that wanted to join.

Eva continued to participate by mentoring new NatureKids leaders, organizing nest box building, ponding and ‘critter hunting’ and even plant study at UBC labs. She attends numerous events and mentors summer students but it is for her wonderful work in leading a truly multi-cultural, multi-ethnic group of children and parents to discover nature around them and inspiring the next generation of naturalists that she deserves this acknowledgement.


Malcolm Martin  – Deceased

Malcolm grew up in Essex, England and became interested in plants in his teens after seeing a book on flora with detailed descriptions from which identification was made possible.

Malcolm joined North Okanagan Naturalists Club (NONC) when he moved to Coldstream. In the early 1980’s, he participated with the development of a Guide Book to the Natural History of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park by making observations throughout the park over the four seasons, then writing, illustrating, listing, and identifying the flora and fauna. The book took several years to complete.

After completion of the Kalamalka Park book, Malcolm took on the compilation of baseline studies of each of the Ecological Reserves established in and around the North Okanagan. He compiled plant, bird, spider, reptile, and mammal species lists of Lily Pad, Griffin Mountain, Mara Meadows, Campbell-Brown, and Trinity Valley Ecological Reserves. The reports themselves included maps of the differing ecological divisions within each reserve along with sections on geology, local history, and comments on management issues. Later, he compiled plant inventory lists for many of the properties managed by BC Parks (Thompson River Region) from the Fraser Canyon in the south to Blue River in the north. Over many years Malcolm covered several thousand miles doing this research.

Over a 15-year period, 25% of all new locations of BC rare plants locations entered into the Conservation Data Centre were by NONC members Ernie McNaughton and Malcolm Martin. Some of these rare species were “firsts” for BC.

Malcolm and Ernie McNaughton were asked to review and proofread several new botanical books including the review of an eight volume series Illustrated Flora of British Columbia which is the primary reference on flora covering this province. As well, they provided edits and range information.

Malcolm also made contributions to the Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia and helped with proofreading of text for The Lichens of BC by Trevor Goward.

As a director for the Native Plant Society of BC, Malcolm wrote many articles for the botanical periodical Menziesia. His writings provided insight, with some added satire and humor. Malcolm passed away in Vernon on September 6, 2017 but his sharing of nature knowledge will live on long into the future for generations.


Vi & John Lambie – Kitimat Naturalists

Vi and John Lambie are dedicated volunteers of naturalist pursuits in the Mackenzie area. Besides being founding members of the Mackenzie Field Observatory Club, they helped to organize and start a bird banding station at Mugaha Marsh on Williston Lake in 1995.

With the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network they began a research program gathering critical data on the status of North American migratory birds. The Mugaha Marsh banding station operates every year for the fall migration from July 19th until September 23rd.  Through twenty-two years Vi and John have mentored and assisted more than fifty Canadian bird experts in banding more than 3000 birds per year.  Every day during banding, they welcome volunteers and visitors both young and old, to the banding station.  The volunteers return each year to learn more and to help.  For over forty years in Mackenzie the Lambies have encouraged an appreciation of our feathered friends through CBC counts, and school and community group presentations.   They certainly have advanced the cause of birding, following BC Nature’s motto of to “know nature and keep it worth knowing.”

We salute these dedicated mentors and servants of our natural world.


Daryl Calder – Rocky Mountain Naturalists

Daryl is an influential leader in the Rocky Mountain Naturalists, especially in the area of inspiring new younger members to join and learn about natural history in the East Kootenays. Daryl has written many fine articles for the local Townsman paper, about naturalist bird outings, listing our weekly sightings with interesting descriptions and details about individual species. These articles are enjoyed by many and have encouraged a whole new level of interest from the local community.

Daryl is cherished for his gentle approach to life, generously and willingly sharing his expertise with others. He is kind and patient, helping others to feel comfortable asking questions. He often sees and hears things before others and is quick to let the group know that something of interest is out there. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Daryl has led a number of outings to places special to him. He enjoys deciphering tracks and scat and has taken the group on walks where they are encouraged to practice their own identification skills. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects are all on his radar, as are plants, clouds, weather and astronomical features.

The Rocky Mountain Naturalists are lucky to have Daryl as one of their mentors.


Terry Taylor – Nature Vancouver

Terry and nature must have bonded from the first day he went outdoors! As a boy he created his own reference resource by cutting out nature notes and pasting them in his journal. He made his own telescope (items he kindly gave to the Young Naturalists’ Club). He has never stopped learning and over the years has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of many aspects of nature, particularly botany and mycology.

All this knowledge he freely shares with members of Nature Vancouver and BC Nature, university students and park managers through field trips, presentations and plant inventories of sensitive environmental areas.

Terry’s field trips are famous (or infamous!) for their intensity. Buckling on his knee-pads, hand-lens at the ready, he gets right down to it with trip participants. Three hours later they may scarcely have travelled 100 feet, but how much they have learned from sharing the ‘world of the tiny’ with him! (Terry recommends that every naturalist carry a hand-lens to reveal the beauty and intricate details of mosses and other small plants.)

When Terry leads young naturalists on their Explorer Days, the children hang on his every word. In simple language he not only identifies plants but shows where they may be looked for and under what conditions they grow..

Not content with field trips, Terry has also written many, many articles about such unusual habitats as ‘Life under the snow’ and ‘A crack in the sidewalk’! His presentations and articles are fully illustrated by his wife Rosemary, a talented photographer.

Terry is a member of Nature Vancouver, BC Nature, the Native Plant Society of BC and the Vancouver Mycological Society and a winner of the Queens’ Golden Jubilee Medal.


Sue Elwell, Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists

Sue Elwell is a keen birder, especially when it come to hummingbirds. With her enthusiasm and knowledge, she has brought new excitement to our club, the Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists.   She is all about giving information on how to keep hummingbirds safe and healthy. She has been key in attracting and educating volunteers for the Hummingbird Banding Group. Instructing others on the art of banding, she has done an awesome job in teaching those valuable skills. Her dedication in the pursuit of birding knowledge is most admirable.

During the hummingbird season, Sue is out there three or four times a week doing her “thing”. She has gone farther afield to mentor and to set up other banding stations in the Okanagan.  She has done this on her own time and spent her own money to set up other groups with equipment.  Sue is enthusiastic, energetic, and organized.  Her volunteers credit her with a good sense of humour.  BC Nature has recognized her and her group’s good work and has awarded them grants to carry on their work.


Anne Gosse – Langley Field Naturalists

Anne Gosse brings her enthusiasm and love for nature to the Langley Field Naturalists. This enthusiasm encourages members and the public to more fully appreciate our natural environment.  Anne joined our LFN club 15 years ago and soon became the field trip leader.  Her skillful selection of interesting trips and excellent leaders resulted in many memorable nature adventures.   As she is an excellent birder, Anne led many of these trips herself.  She posted an online blog after each trip, illustrated by her wonderful photos.

Anne also loves the Tofino area and its rich intertidal life, which is why she organized BC Nature’s Tofino Field Camp for three years. She successfully planned all the details of the camp: accommodations, food, speakers and trip leaders.  This exceptional camp always had a wait list.

Anne gives generously of her time, bringing her love of nature to kids. She has led many birding walks for Brownies, Sparks and schoolchildren.   At our LFN display booth at various public events, she enthusiastically engages kids in hands-on activities.  With her ready smile, leadership and love of nature, Anne is a treasured member of the Langley Field Naturalists and most definitely a Naturalists Mentor.

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