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Christine Hanrahan, George McGee Service Award 2005

Most successful organizations like the OFNC have a handful of members who devote themselves, body and soul, to the workings of the group, serving in any way needed to make the club succeed. Christine Hanrahan is one of these people. The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club has benefited from her efforts and devotion for over 25 years. We are recognizing her efforts today with the George McGee Service Award. This award honours members who have volunteered their time to the betterment of the Club over several years. The award commemorates George McGee, who for more than three decades actively devoted much of his spare time to teaching people about birds and natural history through his talks and numerous outings.

Christine has been a member of the OFNC since the late 1970s. She has been an active member of many Club committees. As well, for the past five years she has coordinated the local committee for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. Coordinating over a hundred volunteers for over five years is no small feat. Not only did Christine handle all the coordination between Atlas headquarters and the region's 24 volunteers, she also organized the annual Ottawa region atlas workshops and wrote regular, detailed annual reports and articles for T&L. Ensuring the accuracy of the region's atlas data was another major task requiring many hours spent communicating with atlas volunteers and checking the data of the central database. And this is the second time Christine has done this! She was the lead coordinator in region 24 for the first Atlas project 20 years ago. After that she coordinated the Loggerhead Shrike survey in this area.

Christine is perhaps best known to our members through her many years' work on the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Committee. She has diligently kept long-term and short-term lists of the FWG resident and visiting birds, butterflies and other wildlife. This includes preparing the current sightings board and the checklists. She has published many articles in T&L about the activities and happenings at FWG. She has prepared posters, many pamphlets, checklists, and nesting reports, if not solely, then as the main driving force. She has organized many important activities at the Centre to draw in and educate visitors. Every year she has prepared the FWG display for the National Capital Region Wildlife Festival and organized the hosting of the event. She has even hosted it herself. She has also prepared displays for other events such as the Health Canada-sponsored Environment Day.

Christine has represented the Club and the FWG on the National Capital Wildlife Festival Committee for many years and puts a tremendous amount of time into organizing workshops and conservation awards. The well-attended workshops have been on topics of great interest to the OFNC, such as invasive alien species, protecting wildlands, and bird conservation.

Another of Christine's passions is the OFNC Conservation Committee. She has participated in many committee activities and battles including, most recently, the Larose Forest issue. Here she worked on developing checklists of the flora and fauna with various specialists. She also worked for hours and hours with Ghislaine Rozon reviewing documents, preparing strategy, briefs, writing letters, attending all kinds of meetings in an effort to save the forest from development. Her work on conserving Petrie Island also had a major impact. Working with The Friends of Petrie Island, she compiled lists, wrote articles for T&L, organized field trips, as well as attending endless meetings, reviewing documents, and preparing OFNC responses. There have been many other conservation issues around Ottawa that have received Christine's attention and hard work, including: Moffat Farm, Montfort Woods, Nortel Woods, Leitrim wetlands, 5309 Bank Street (Tomlinson quarry) and Ferguson Forest.

Aside from those already mentioned, Christine has written many other much-appreciated articles for T&L. Her short article on snags and old logs is a well known, authoritative and influential document. It has been reproduced and widely distributed within the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and has been used and cited by people even in other parts of the world. Her article on hedgerows and their importance to wildlife is another gem and has become an important resource for ecologists. Since the OFNC has been on the Internet, Christine has been an active contributor to our website with informative and interesting material on a variety of natural history subjects.

Because Christine has also served as a knowledgeable member of the Awards Committee for a number of years, recognizing all her achievements and work with an appropriate prize has "slipped through the cracks." Not until her nomination came from outside the committee by a number of members, all wondering how she could have been overlooked so long, could we make this presentation. The Club is therefore pleased now to present Christine Hanrahan with this long-overdue and well-deserved Service Award.

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This page was revised on 5 May 2006
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