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2014 Conservation Award, member - Anouk Hoedeman


The Conservation Award - Member is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution by a member in the cause of natural history conservation in the Ottawa Valley, with particular emphasis on activities within the Ottawa District.

For 2014 we are recognizing the work of Anouk Hoedeman for establishing the FLAP program in Ottawa as well as her ongoing work on the Birds Committee and her contribution to the Falcon Watch Program.

FLAP stands for the Fatal Light Awareness Program. This program was founded in 1993 in Toronto to address the issue of bird collisions with human built structures. Across North America it is estimated that the number of birds killed annually in collision with building ranges from 100 million to one billion.

Thanks to the extensive work of Anouk over the past few years we now have a chapter of FLAP in Ottawa. For her it began with reports of a number of cedar waxwings dying when they hit the glass connecting the old and new City Hall buildings. Anouk started asking what was being done and found out that no one was doing anything. She took it upon herself to rectify that situation.

Anouk contacted FLAP in Toronto and went through the necessary training to establish a chapter in Ottawa. There are a lot of details and bureaucracy starting up any program. Of particular importance was the working relationships she established with the Wild Bird Care Centre, Nature Canada and downtown property managers. When you start patrolling around big downtown office towers early every morning you want to make sure the security officers and maintenance workers do not see you as a threat. It is even better if they are helping you in your quest to retrieve the dead birds and hopefully find some live injured ones. The fact that Anouk patrols by bike might make her seem less threatening or maybe just a bit more peculiar.

Along with her group of volunteers she saves the lives of some stunned birds by either sheltering them until they have recovered from their window strike or taken them to the Wild Bird Care Centre for convalescence. Her inventory of species and number of birds both killed and saved provides an interesting record of bird movements through the city with some surprising findings such as a Boreal Chickadee and a Black-backed Woodpecker.

Raising awareness of the issue is extremely important if there is to be any reduction in the fatality of birds from window strikes. Anouk has used the media well to get the message out with newspaper articles and interviews. The OFNC website, social media and public speaking are all part of her arsenal of outreach tools. Her enthusiasm is a natural draw to get others engaged.

Anouk's contribution to bird conservation in Ottawa did not start with FLAP. The falcon watch program has also benefited from her abilities to arrange logistics with building managers and to recruit volunteers to keep watch on the fledglings that may need rescuing. In recent years the falcons downtown were not successful at producing chicks. However, in 2013 the Heron Road site was spotted and that has been successful for the last couple of years. Anouk coordinates it all while keeping the website up to date with chatty daily postings and pictures.

We are pleased to recognize the work of Anouk Hoedeman with this Conservation Award.

Prepared by Ann MacKenzie

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