OFNC’s historian, Dan Brunton (left), was on hand to provide background when Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment, unveiled a plaque recognizing James Fletcher 

By Ted Farnworth

On February 15, 2016, James Fletcher was designated a national historic person of Canada by Parks Canada. A plaque to honour him was dedicated on November 9, 2017 by Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment. Invited guests included Fletcher Wildlife Garden volunteers, Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club members, and officials and staff  from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature. The plaque had been proposed by Thomas Ritchie in the early 2000s. His son and family attended the ceremony.

In spring 2018, the plaque will be permanently relocated to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, which was named for Fletcher because he was a founding member of the OFNC.

Text of plaque honouring James Fletcher:

JAMES FLETCHER (1852–1908)

James Fletcher
© William James Topley/Library and Archives Canada/PA-009100

James Fletcher pioneered both the study of insect depredation on crops and of plant diseases. As first Dominion Entomologist and Botanist, he was instrumental in convincing the government that research into economic entomology and plant pathology was necessary. Through voluminous correspondence, wide-ranging publications, and many speaking tours, he shared knowledge with farmers, fruit growers, and gardeners. He further advanced the natural sciences by helping to establish professional and non-governmental organizations, scientific journals, the National Collection of Vascular Plants, and the Canadian National Collection of Insects.