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2012 George McGee Service Award : Constance Clark

Connie Clark has been a member of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club since 1988. She has been a volunteer at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG) since its inception. She has contributed articles to Trail & Landscape, has been a leader and co-leader of many outings and was a mainstay as the food co-ordinator for the annual Soirée for 6 years.

Her volunteering at Fletcher began in 1990. She was one of the first people to help plant trees in the New Woods area when it was still a grassy lawn in the very early days of FWG. However, in those pre-retirement days, Connie was pretty busy with other activities, and it wasn't until 2003 that she came back to the FWG.

While Connie's interest is in the forests and woods, Marilyn Ward encouraged her to give the Back Yard Garden (BYG) work a try. She found it interesting, and it was the Woodland Walk section that convinced her to remain. With the treed ravine on one side, tall shrubs on the other and a remarkable diversity of native woodland plants flourishing along the short trail, she was hooked. She took over responsibility for the Woodland Walk the next year. She began working on other parts of the BYG, doing a little bit of everything. In her third year she focused on the Heritage Bed and the Rockery. For several years she grew hundreds of plants from seed in her home in preparation for the annual FWG Plant Sale. She has been a member of the Friday morning group for 10 years, bringing her commitment, determination and quiet support to the BYG, contributing her time and energy to whatever needs doing. In addition she has staffed the OFNC booth created by Education and Publicity on several occasions.

Connie is a terrific all around naturalist. Her curiosity about the natural world led her to immerse herself in places like Algonquin Park for extended periods learning about, researching and studying everything that caught her eye. From 2005 to 2010 Connie was a member of the Excursions and Lectures Committee. During this period she organized and co-ordinated dozens of outings. She led or co-led 16 outings herself, introducing participants to many of the rich and accessible places to explore in the Ottawa area. While she focussed on flowers, ferns and fungi, Connie's broad knowledge of and interest in the natural world made her an extraordinary leader. She prepared thoroughly for every outing, scouted out the conditions, made extensive notes and prepared presentations to introduce participants to the area of focus. She kept detailed written and photographic records of sightings on her outings and shared her field notes with participants, providing valuable knowledge regarding timing and location of her findings. Her articles about Monaghan Forest and Poison Ivy were published in Trail & Landscape, along with her poem, There Have Been Days.

In addition to her key role as co-ordinator of the food purchasing and preparation for the Soirée for several years, one year Connie prepared a nature quiz for the entertainment of attendees. She also wrote and performed nature themed songs.

The Club has benefited greatly from Connie's general knowledge, experience and botanical know-how. It is for her quiet, behind the scenes generosity of time and energy that we wish to honour Connie with the George McGee Service Award for 2012.

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This page was created 21 July 2013
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