Written by: Christian Artuso
It was of course Tim’s wife Melanie who brought him to the world-renowned destination of Manitoba from across the pond, that being the British Isles and his former life chasing chickens (counting and protecting Capercaillie for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to be more precise). Even when Tim’s visits to Manitoba were only relatively short holidays for family trips, he still managed to donate some of his precious time to volunteer for the last year or two of the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas. Fortunately for us, the mosquitoes didn’t scare him off too much as Tim and Melanie decided to make Manitoba home for their young family. So it was that in 2015, after impressing everyone with his skills doing educational programming for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, that Tim applied for the newly vacated position of Important Bird Area (IBA) program coordinator.
Above: Tim Poole (by Garry Budyk)
In the interview and ever since, he impressed us again and again with his positive energy, good-humour, well-rounded skillset and grit to slice through challenges to get things done. Most interviewees would be a little shocked to learn in an interview that there was funding secured for just one more year and that the new coordinator was required to hit the ground running! Tim didn’t even flinch and made the task look easy. As we had hoped to create a full-time bird conservation position at Nature Manitoba by stitching together the IBA program with the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI), Tim soon leapt to the challenge of steering two ships, just to double the fun, and to doubly exceed our expectations!
Above: Tim (far left) with Sandy Bay volunteers (by Lynnea Parker)
As any of the several hundred volunteers, committee members, partners and collaborators, funders, landowners, reporters, and even members of the general public who attended workshops and events will tell you, Tim brings an uncanny dynamism to bird-conservation programming in Manitoba. He has a way of bringing people of all stripes into the fold: in less than five years, he amassed many friends and grew the two programs exponentially. Visiting the province from Lyleton to Churchill, he kept a positive attitude through both setbacks and successes, and a positive cash flow! He has kept us entertained with his creativity, willingness to try new ideas and courage to wade through the rough patches. Tim was able to balance all aspects of the programs: science, monitoring, volunteer-liaison, outreach, promotions, fundraising, community and capacity-building. We do sometimes wonder where he hides his horseshoes, such as the time he conjured a flock of Chimney Swifts to enter a chimney at midday before a crowd of schoolchildren in the playground (and before an impending storm). He also has a habit of falling off his bike at random locations and finding new swift chimneys. “Supervising” Tim was the easiest job I could ever have asked for; he set so much in motion on his own.
Above: Tim and volunteers counting birds at Delta Marsh (by Randy Mooi)
With such an array of skills, it is not so surprising that the time has come for Tim to try his hand at practising conservation on the government side of the fence (such things happen I guess). Of course we know that he will continue to be a strong advocate for Manitoba’s wildlife and we look forward to watching him succeed in his new important role.