President’s Report 2015

The following Report can also be downloaded by clicking on PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2015

PRESIDENT’S AGM REPORT FOR 2014/15 – Tom Bearss

We had a very busy and successful 2015.  It has been a long time since my last Report covering 2012/13.  I am haphazardly listing below events we participated in, contributions by other members, issues we promoted and other stuff I deemed relevant in 2015.  The list is neither exhaustive, nor in any particular order.

DNS Executive

VP Elizabeth Perrin, Treasurer/Membership Jim Kneesch, Mail Hans-Ulf Schellhase, Secretary Anita den Dikken, BCN/Speakers Ursula Easterbrook, Environment Jim Ronback met fairly regularly at my home, usually two weeks before each regular Monthly meeting, to discuss issues and decide the direction and participation of our Club.

Jim Kneesch, succeeding Jennifer Melville-Roberts, did/is doing an equally super job managing our finances as well as coordinating our rapidly growing membership programme (currently at about 120).

Ursula Easterbrook represented us at the BC Nature meetings, including the Spring AGM on Saltspring Island. She also wrote reports for inclusion in BC Nature’s quarterly magazine, as well as recruited the speakers for ten monthly meetings. Ursula also organized her successful Birds in Focus events in April 2015 and again this April, with the help of other Nats.

Anita performed yeoman secretarial duties, taking the minutes of our Executive and Monthly meetings.

Hans-Ulf Schellhase was our Member-at-Large who handled our mail.

VP Elizabeth Perrin helped on virtually everything we did, and Jim Ronback continued to successfully “rabble rouse” for us on the environmental scene.

Because our Society has grown so much, we were forced to change our monthly meeting venue from historic Cammidge House (max seating is 40) to the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen. It has been excellent and our large crowds of attendees have been comfortably entertained. Alan Stewart and Paul Rennie did exceptionally well following Jonathan Mwenifumbo as our Techies, providing technical assistance for our Speakers, ensuring problem-free presentations.

Other “almost-Executive” members gave significant contributions, including Newsletter Editor Audrey Coutts.  I know all members enjoyed and appreciated Audrey’s 10 monthly Newsletter gems. She continues to request member contributions.  Valerie Fuller was super, handling our Publicity, which included advertising our meetings and events in the Delta Optimist newspaper and other venues.

Our Social Committee of Liz Stewart, Joanne Williamson and VP Elizabeth (and retired Lorraine Mwenifumbo) made sure we had Member-prepared goodies at our Monthly meetings, organized our annual Garden Party in June with Jennifer and Pamela, and did tonnes of other stuff.  Again, because of our increased membership, we’re moving our 2016 annual June Garden Party to Cammidge House; not as beautiful as Pam/Jen’s yard, but it can accommodate more participants.

Ken Borrie, our DNS Website Coordinator, has made our DNCB Blog not only very user-friendly, but also added lots of information to it, including Audrey’s DNS Newsletters, Geof’s meeting Posters, our DNS Events especially those where we have our Display; plus, he has edited, enhanced and added photos to the weekly outing reports.  It is more than a Blog; rather a DNS Website.  Jim Kneesch has added our DNS Meeting Minutes to it for historical reference.

Geof Hacker produces an “original” Poster for each monthly meeting, illustrating the subject matter of the wide variety of Speakers that Ursula recruits.  It is a challenge.  Geof does a magnificent job, successfully enticing people to come.  His Posters are now posted on our website.  Geof also chaired our DNS Archives Committee.  DNS members provided a lot of historical information and material (including original meeting Minutes) since the DNS was created in 1988 which Geof deposited with Delta Archives for sorting and saving.

EDUCATION

Education continues to be an important aspect of our Society, not only of kids but adults too.  We amended, improved and re-printed our DNS informative brochure and membership application; it looks awesome.  Terry Carr continues as our Display Coordinator with lots of assistance from Marylile Martin, and many other Nats volunteering at the many events, including VP Elizabeth, Joyce Manary, Roger Meyer, Rochelle Farquhar, Mike Betts, Jim Kneesch, Valerie Fuller, Pascale & Alberto, Donna Thompson, Carol Rennie, Anita Den Dikken and others.

Delta Nats Display Events: Delta Nats showcased their new-and-improved display, under the direction of our Display Coordinator Terry Carr and Marylile Martin at 9 events in 2015, namely:

  • Delta Corp’s Annual Fish Release at Watershed Park on April 19;
  • Delta Landfill Showcase, May 5 & 6;
  • Delta Regional Heritage Fair at Harris Barn on May 9;
  • Migratory Bird Day at Cammidge House on May 10;
  • Ladner Animal Expo on May 23;
  • Fathers’ Day Pancake Breakfast at BBRP on June 21;
  • MV Parks Starry Night at Deas Island on August 15;
  • Richmond Raptor Festival at Terra Nova Park on August 16;
  • Day at the Farm on Westham Island on September 12.

Delta Nats also hosted a second annual IBA Shorebird Workshop at Cammidge House on August 30, 2015, in collaboration with Bird Studies Canada.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Birds and Biodiversity Strategy: Your Delta Nats were very active in 2015, and continue to be, with the creation of a Delta Birds and Biodiversity Strategy.  Recognizing the need, we created a DNS Committee of Chair Anne Murray with Nicki Brockamp, Terry Carr, Marylile Martin and Judy Kilcup to study and provide recommendations for action.  We created two beautiful new brochures, Birds of Delta and Experience Birding in Delta which have been very popular, and requiring re-prints (funding assistance from Corporation of Delta and Metro Vancouver Parks).  At the request of Delta’s Mayor and Council, our DNS Committee created a presentation on the Strategy which Anne Murray and I gave to them at their weekly Council meeting in the Delta Municipal Hall on November 2.  All our recommendations were appreciated and approved and Delta Corporation has taken on the creation of a Municipal Birds and Biodiversity Strategy, with workshops with stakeholders already scheduled.  Anne Murray and I met recently with Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities and Delta MP Carla Qualtrough to apprise her of this Strategy and of all the wild and wonderful things that Delta Nats do.

Vancouver Airport Fuel Project Opposition for Richmond (VAPOR): Jim Ronback is/was an active member of the committee opposing the transport of jet fuel in the Fraser River and building a terminal on its banks.  Many Nats members are supportive of this opposition.  Your DNS donated $200 to this VAPOR initiative.  VAPOR lost the judicial review against the BC EAO and VAFFC with respect to the adequacy of the public review process.  However, they did win their landmark appeal against having to pay for the legal costs of VAFFC because the judicial review was in the public interest.

Point Roberts Radio Towers: Jim Ronback and Armene Belless participated in the cross border coalition that successfully stopped the hazardous 50,000 watt radio towers from being relocated to Point Roberts that would have severely impacted the environment, health and quality of life for 23,000 residents and businesses of Tsawwassen and Point Roberts.

DELTA NATS CASUAL BIRDERS

As in previous years, there were 52 DNCB outings, that is one each week.  Reports of all outings are on our DNCB Blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com.  Outings were on Tuesdays in winter (I play hockey on Wednesdays) and on Wednesdays from April to September.  Participation ranged from one person to 40, but the common number of participants has recently been in the 20s.  Destinations were mostly to local parks in Delta, plus others in the Lower Mainland and several further afield such as Mt. Baker, Manning Park and the Gulf Islands.  Guru Anne Murray, White Rock Al Schulze and Lackadaisical Roger Meyer were very helpful in leading many of these outings, with Terry Carr organizing us.  We also had four quarterly Birds on the Bay outings in Boundary Bay Regional Park on March 11, June 10, Sept. 9, and Dec. 9.  Participation in these popular events was in the 20 to 35 range.  The BOTB events were coordinated by Rochelle Farquhar, and delicious home-made goodies were always provided by the Delta Nats Ladies including Rochelle, Jennifer Melville-Roberts, Eleanor Coulter, Jean Hacker, Elizabeth Perrin, Sandra Bearss, and others.

Delta Nats also has a Picasa site at https://picasaweb.google.com/DNCBirding which showcases DNS members’ photos, mostly taken on our weekly DNCB outings.  The calibre of photos has monumentally improved since the site was created several years ago.  Regular member contributors include: Terry Carr, Marion Shikaze, Glen Bodie, Pascale Charland and Alberto Vilca, Liz Stewart, Brian Avent, sisters Pat Smart and Maureen Sinilaid, Roger Meyer, Ken Borrie, Richard Huber and Jim Kneesch.

BBRP Nesting Box Program:

Delta Nats have really expanded its Bird Box Programme.  We now have more than 85 bird nest boxes in south Delta, 30 in BBRP, 15 at Earthwise Gardens, 4 at Tsatsu Shores and 36 at Kings Links Golf Course, and more to come.  We also have and monitor 5 Barn Owl boxes, several Barn Swallow “cup” nests at Earthwise and a Barn Swallow kiosk at Kings Links Golf Course, plus a couple of bat roosts (not used, yet).  Our “home” programme at BBRP of 30 boxes has only been fairly successful with some Tree Swallows and Chickadees nesting, but also several invasive House Sparrows.  Kings Links have 36 new and refurbished nesting boxes, almost all successful with TS and Chickadees.  Our new Barn Owl box there has a resident and our BO box in the North Forty Park has a new young family in it.  The Earthwise Barn Owl box, with a camera, is currently showcasing three baby owlets.  Our “Cadillac” Barn Owl box in BBRP has had evidence of residency, but because of the difficulty in seeing and examining it regularly, we don’t know its success.  Our four TS boxes at Tsatsu Shores are interesting as a Bewick’s Wren has been successfully nesting there for the past two years.  DNS member Peter Ward was instrumental in making our Barn Owl boxes at BBRP.  Peter Blair made the Kings Links, Tsatsu Shores and both Tree and Barn Swallow boxes at Earthwise.  We had several DNS work parties to clean, replace and install new nesting boxes in February and October.  Pictorial reports are on our Blog.  Jack MacDonald has prepared a Chart with maps on the Boxes and our program.  We will continue to monitor the boxes as to their success or failure in attracting inhabitants.

BOUNDARY BAY PARK ASSOCIATION

The Boundary Bay Park Association (BBPA) was officially created at a meeting at Cammidge House on June 7, 2013.  It “modernized” the former Cammidge House Committee.  The BBPA meets Metro Vancouver Park requirements and is similar to other associations in other MV Parks.  Delta Nats have one of the seven positions on the Executive and 8 of the Directors on the BBPA happen to be Delta Nats members as well.  Delta Nats work closely with BBPA over the years, participating in 10 monthly meetings each year and their events including Heritage Day, Fathers’ Day Sunday in the Park and Santa Claus at Cammidge House.  Many Delta Nats also volunteered to staff the 7 Car Boot Sales at Centennial Beach, which are held twice monthly in June, July, August and one in September.

OTHER

Christmas Bird Counts: Many Delta Nats participated in at least two Christmas Bird Counts, the Ladner CBC on December 27 and the White Rock CBC on January 3/16.  A couple of Nats also hosted CBC participants on their lunch breaks.

BC Nature events: In addition to Ursula, your President, along with Joyce Manary and Boudi Van Oldenborgh, Annie Kaps and Anne Murray attended the AGM in Saltspring, May 7 to 10.  At the Saturday Banquet, DNS Member Terry Carr was recognized as a very worthy recipient of BC Nature’s Club Service Award.  Your President Tom Bearss also participated as a Director of the BC Naturalists’ Foundation at its AGM on Friday, May 8.

SUMMARY: Many members of the Delta Naturalists Society have been very active over the past year and made huge contributions to making DNS a very vibrant, successful and fun organization.  We are a super Team.  Thanks.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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