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2015 Honorary Member: Robert E. Lee


This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions by a member or non-member to Canadian natural history or to the successful operation of the Club. Usually people awarded an honorary membership have made extensive contributions over many years.

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, the Ottawa community, and indeed, the country has benefitted from the skill, dedication and vision of Robert E. Lee. For 30 years, Rob has been leader of the Macoun Field Club, the OFNC-sponsored natural history club for youths from 8 to 18 years of age. By so doing, he has created an entire generation of conservationists, biologists, chemists, and teachers in the field of natural history. He has done this by virtue of his love and respect for children and their natural curiosity, his keen interest in the natural world, and his superb organizational skills, not to mention his wit, imagination and humanity. To have such an extraordinary person in our midst is a gift to be treasured and applauded.

But Rob Lee is not only the inspired and inspiring leader of a natural history club for children. His accomplishments include insightful observations, carefully executed experiments and well-written reports on a broad realm of nature, including worms, frogs, plants and lichens. His documentation of the changes in the Greenbelt area near Stony Swamp over a 40-year period with detailed and accurate, periodically updated vegetation maps has given researchers an unparalleled look into the evolution of suburban natural areas over time, perhaps the most complete documentation of its kind in the country.

His knowledge of lichens has allowed him to do research and prepare status reports on a number of rare lichens for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), doing innovative investigations that deserve more recognition than they've received.

As a young man, Rob attended the University of Guelph and then travelled through the Arctic by himself, making discoveries and following in the footsteps of his archeologist father, Dr. Thomas E. Lee. His exceptional skills as a writer were put to good use when he served as scientific editor and writer, and later, by helping young writers in the Macoun Field Club prepare their first scientific contributions published in the club's own journal, The Little Bear.

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club has recognized Rob's contributions to the Club over the years by awarding him the 1990 George McGee Service Award and 2008 Mary Stuart Education Award, both for his work with the Macoun Club; and the 2000 Anne Hanes Natural History Award for his studies of Leopard Frogs. The OFNC is now delighted to add Rob Lee to its list of distinguished Honorary Members.

(Prepared by Irwin Brodo)

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This page was created 13 May 2016
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