Pictured (left to right): Al Louer, Donna Danyluk, Lewis Cocks, Frank Machovec
Ralph Bird Award - Lewis Cocks: Lewis was able to retire in 2005 having spent 17 years being a force for change as an ecologist with the Canadian Forces. Before that, he also worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service. Having a long-term interest in policy, writing, and working with others, he wanted to make a difference and do something for our feathered friends. Chimney Swift populations were in decline and being an urban species, Lewis realised that this would be an ideal focus for a conservation program in Manitoba. In 2006 the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative was established primarily due to Lewis' organisation, team-building and vision. A steering committee was put together from interested organisations, and Lewis, initially as a board member of Nature Manitoba, has served on it ever since. Over the years Lewis has been able to use his professional experience to help guide and grow an initiative which in 2017 had almost 100 volunteers. He has participated in many stewardship and monitoring efforts, being involved in early efforts to establish artificial habitat and always being on hand to help with monitoring. Lewis is deserving of wider recognition, not just for his vision and ideas, but also for his long-term commitment to the conservation of Manitoba's Chimney Swifts.
Ralph Bird Award - Frank Machovec: If there's ever a volunteer needed to travel across southern Manitoba, watch a chimney for the evening while being eaten by mosquitoes, and getting back home in the middle of the night, there is always Frank to rely upon. Frank has searched for swifts in some of the more unusual places, from Clearwater to Vita, Zhoda to Powerview, and as long as there is a Tim Horton's en route, then Frank is content! It is not just his contribution to monitoring which sets Frank apart. Frank was around at the very start of MCSI and has been a strong presence ever since. Frank was employed for a period as coordinator of the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative. When funding ran out, Frank continued to do this role in a voluntary capacity. Even now he still serves the initiative on the steering committee and as its webmaster. These roles are more involved than simply turning up to meetings and uploading occasional documents and news stories. Frank also spends much time improving and developing the website and supporting different aspects of the initiative. Although this award is for Frank, we cannot end this without thanking Jacquie Machovec, who has also spent many long evenings being eaten by mosquitoes in the name of Chimney Swift conservation. Frank is deserving of this recognition not just for his dedication and time given over to monitoring, but also for the diversity of activities which he has does, contributing to Chimney Swift conservation in Manitoba.
Service Award - Donna Danyluk: Since last receiving the Service Award over 20 years ago, Donna has been an indefatigable volunteer for Nature Manitoba. For nearly a decade, Donna served on the Communications and Promotions Committee and, more specifically, as a member of the newsletter editorial committee. She was the de facto co-editor of the newsletter and the guarantor of the high quality of the writing in that publication. Apart from writing numerous articles herself, she was also the instigator of many others, and edited all of them. As part of the Garden Tour Committee, Donna assisted with many aspects of the tour including checking all details about the gardens prior to producing the tickets and having the posters printed. Donna’s own garden was twice part of the tour. She wrote the Nature Manitoba “Our Natural Garden Tour” Procedures, which are presented in great detail and basically provide a blue print for anyone needing information on organizing and delivering this event. For the past few years Donna has helped with the sale of garden tour tickets through vendors in the St. Mary’s Road area. Donna served on the Discovery Evening committee for a number of years and contributed names and made contacts with many speakers during that time. She prepared the “Procedures for Nature Manitoba Discovery Evenings” and compiled “Past Discovery Evenings/Indoor Program Topics and Speakers (1986 to 2013)”. Both documents will be invaluable to future organizers of the Discovery Evenings. Donna also wrote the Annual Report on the Indoor Programs, including the Workshop series. Even though Donna was trying to “retire” from duties related to delivering the Discovery Evenings, she stepped in when it was obvious the program was going to flounder because other volunteers had evaporated. She worked through the spring and summer to ensure that a program was in place for that fall. Donna was also a major contributor to the Naturescape book by Nature Manitoba.
Service Award - Al Louer: An organization like Nature Manitoba could not exist without a core of people willing to step up when needs are felt. Alain Louer is a consummate step up kind of person. When the Mantario Committee was faltering several years ago, Alain stepped up and assumed the role of chairperson. When the Garden Tour was struggling for lack of volunteers, Alain stepped up and helped organize it. When the garage sale committee needed help, Alain stepped up. When volunteers were needed to staff Nature Manitoba information tables at public venues, Alain stepped up. When a volunteer was needed to sell raffle tickets as a fundraiser, in conjunction with Fort Whyte Alive, Alain stepped up. When the Outdoor Committee needed trip leaders, Alain stepped up. Eight years ago, when the Board secretary position became vacant, and no one wanted the job, Alain again stepped up. A big thanks to Alain for his volunteerism and committment to Nature Manitoba.
President's Award - Lynsay Perkins