People passionate about nature

George Holland

Honorary Life Membership recipient 1991

George Holland is presented with an Honorary Life Membership in the Society for his work and dedication in reaffirming natural history programs as a special focus in the Society’s activities.

The Society’s objectives state that we “arrange educational programs and field trips to promote an understanding of the natural environment”, and “stimulate research and record and preserve data and material in natural history”. George has been a one-man force in working towards these goals. When we looked at the larger “causes”, the environment, the politics, George reminded us that the forest is made up of trees, birds, ferns, flowers, butterflies and squirrels. Appreciation and familiarity with plants and animals are the foundation of real knowledge in natural history.

George has been a member of the MNS since 1977. He is responsible for instituting the Rare Bird Alert in 1976 and subsequently founding the Manitoba Avian Research Committee (MARC). More recently, he has organized the Botany Interest Group and the Butterfly Interest Group, which are now thriving as a result of his leadership.

He served the Society as President in 1988 and has chaired the Manitoba Avian Research Committee for most of the time since he founded it in 1981. George is a regular leader for the MNS birding outings each spring and fall. He is always willing to speak to groups of school children or adults both inside and outside the MNS on a variety of topics ranging from survival to bird watching. He has been a regular special leader for the Mantario Summer Program for the past few years. He runs one of the most popular weeks for the Summer Program, sharing his knowledge on birds, plants, orienteering, survival and outdoor skills. George is always involved in the Christmas Bird count, especially in organizing the potluck social afterwards. When the Canadian Nature Federation wanted to pilot a bird watching course (BIRDQUEST) for beginners’ level to expert, George willingly volunteered and has run several of the courses in cooperation with the Fort Whyte Centre.

Gathering information on natural history is a “natural” for George. Along with other members of MARC, he has been a major contributor to the Society’s publications on birds, including the first and second edition of the Birders Guide to Southeastern Manitoba, the accompanying checklist and the Checklist to Manitoba Birds. He has also helped prepare bird checklists to Birds Hill Provincial Park and Assiniboine Park. Since 1980 George has been involved, with members of the Committee, in preparing a major publication on the birds of Manitoba. Many of the bird observation and breeding records collected by the MNS over the years have been collected by George Holland. As if this weren’t enough, he is working with the Botany Interest Group in preparing a checklist of plants of Birds Hill Provincial Park. Possible future plans call for a plant atlas for the province.

George also provides support to MNS-sponsored projects such as the Endangered Grasslands Birds Project. He has helped for the last 3 years with research and administration for the projects on Ferruginous Hawks, Baird’s Sparrows, Burrowing Owls and Loggerhead Shrikes.

For the sacrifices of his personal time, his hard work and willingness as a naturalist to share his expertise and love of nature, the Manitoba Naturalists Society presents George Holland with an Honorary Life Membership.