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2015 George McGee Service Award: Roy John


The George McGee Service Award is given in recognition of a member who has contributed significantly to the smooth running of the Club over several years.

Most members have either met or heard of Roy John over the years, for his contributions to the Club are extensive. He has been an active member of the OFNC, in various capacities, even when he did not reside in Ottawa.

To OFNC members, Roy is probably most recognized for his book reviews published in The Canadian Field-Naturalist (CFN). He assumed the role of book review editor in 2003, stepping in when the former editor died suddenly, and continued in this position until 2015. Throughout the years he has read and reviewed more than 250 books, 145 articles, and 120 popular publications, as well as several handbooks, book chapters and consultant reports. The range of topics covered is as wide as his personal experiences - from birds and field guides to botany, mycology, zoology, and even anthropology. His reviews often contain personal insight and include interesting bits of information that only someone familiar with the subject would know. The reviews are thoughtful, candid and a pleasure to read.

Also, as book review editor, another responsibility was to compile a list of titles that may be of interest to CFN readers. To constantly find new books is a difficult task on its own, let alone find someone to review them; however, more often than not, readers would find a new title review in the next or the following issue of CFN.

Many know Roy for his birding and photographic skills. He is a passionate birder and an intrepid traveler, missing only a handful of countries. He has led countless local birding field trips and has been involved in the biennial Pelee trip these past few years. Roy has also given numerous talks, often willing to fill in at a moment's notice and has introduced Club members to parts of the world few have managed to see. His passion for birds has led to his being editor of The Blue Jay (the Saskatchewan Natural History Society), and OFO News (Ontario Field Ornithologists), and being a contributor to the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. In addition, Roy gives presentations about birds at seniors' residences throughout Ottawa.

Roy has been active on Council (now Board) in numerous capacities. Since joining the OFNC in 1984, he served on Council in 1987, was recording secretary in 1988, and vice-president in 1989-90, then again in 2000-2003. In 1991 he served as president. He was chair of Excursions and Lectures (Events) from 2001 to 2003.

It is for all these reasons that we are awarding Roy John the George McGee Service Award for 2015.

(Prepared by Karen McLachlan Hamilton, with input from Francis Cook and Frank Pope)

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