FWG volunteers – Elizabeth Powles, Melanie Lyons, Catherine Shearer, plus 3 others – recognized for their exceptional work at the garden

by Ted Farnworth

At this year’s end-of-season brunch for volunteers, the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Management Committee presented volunteer recognition certificates to Christine Hanrahan, Sara Jinha, Melanie Lyons, Elizabeth Powles, Catherine Shearer, and Michelle St-Germaine. Although we appreciate all our volunteers and the hard work they do, these six “exceed expectations” and deserve special thanks.

Christine Hanrahan

Christine has been a part of the FWG since shortly after its inception. She was very much involved in the early opening of our Interpretive Centre, especially putting together the library and nature displays at the centre and off-site. As part of the Management Committee for many years, she had input into major decisions on the direction and planning of the garden and is often called on to answer questions from the public and comment on plans for the garden.

Christine’s keen eye, exceptional photography skills, and detailed research have produced an extensive photographic collection of birds, plants, insects, reptiles, and animals that can be found at the FWG throughout the year (see our photo galleries). In addition to these valuable inventories, she has photographed the garden over many years and shares these images with an ever-growing mailing list of fans of the FWG. She has been especially concerned with the Monarch Waystation project, ongoing maintenance of our bird boxes, and management decisions around the Old Field and Hedgerow habitats.

Sara Jinha

Sara is a long time volunteer at the Fletcher. She usually arrives by bicycle to work with the Friday morning group, particularly in the Backyard Garden. But she also is has volunteered for other things, such as the planting day at the Amphibian pond and the activities leading up to the plant sale.

Sara is great ambassador for the FWG. She is quick to welcome visitors, and talk about the many features at the garden. This year she was a regular volunteer at our Sunday afternoon open doors. Sara’s dedication and enthusiasm is infectious, whether it is outdoors in one of the flower beds or around the table at our mid-morning coffee break.

Melanie Lyons

Melanie takes care of a highly visible “node” between the Bill Holland Trail and the access road near our resource centre. She has succeeded in preventing the production of any DSV seeds in that area, and has almost completely removed DSV from parts of it. In addition, she has cleared DSV from areas surrounding her node and from other parts of the Garden, where she recognizes the problem.

Melanie not only works on her own, but also joins the three regular work groups whenever she has time. Her enthusiasm and willingness to tackle tough jobs continues to inspire other volunteers, as she is interested in all aspects of wildlife gardening and the plants and animals that live at the FWG. Melanie attends many workshops and educational events at the FWG, including the bumble bee workshops last year, and Mission Monarch activities this year.

Elizabeth Powles

Elizabeth started her volunteer experience at the FWG as a member of the Wednesday evening group working in the Butterfly Meadow. When Diane Lepage stepped down as coordinator, Elizabeth quickly volunteered to lead the Wednesday group and became a member of the FWG Management Committee. Elizabeth quickly developed a work plan for her group and continues to do research on ways to improve and expand the Butterfly Meadow.

Not only did she supervise the Wednesday evening crew, she also did quite a bit of overtime in the BM with Sandy and other volunteers learning more about the flora that had made its way into her charge. Elizabeth and her team have had a busy year, and the increased number of butterfly sightings at the FWG is an indication of their success.

Catherine Shearer

Catherine took on the “node” around the entrance to the FWG. She removed the unsightly DSV that was lining the access road, immediately making the FWG look more attractive and inviting. She also extended her area of work as far as the gully that runs from the Amphibian Pond to Prince of Wales Drive. She has slowly beaten back the huge amount of DSV and Comfrey in that area and planted numerous wildflowers, such as the Black-eyed Susans, visible from Prince of Wales Drive this summer. She is also helping us finally implement the plan to make a swamp milkweed field in this damp area, as part of our Monarch Waystation project.

Catherine has supervised several of our corporate groups and teams of Carleton students. She also participates in workshops and other educational events at the FWG, including the most recent seed collection workshop. She is involved in a tree inventory in her own neighbourhood. As a regular member of the Tuesday woods group, she has taken on supervision of this group when needed and helps new volunteers.

Michelle St-Germaine

Michelle takes care of the “node” between the Bill Holland Trail and the ravine. Over the past couple of years, she has managed to control DSV in that area and remove it completely from parts of it where she has planted native wildflowers. This year, she extended her area to include the slope down to the creek and has suppressed all of the DSV in that much bigger area.

In addition to all her own work, she has mentored several other volunteers, including young people, and supervised groups of Carleton students. For the last two years, she has organized delivery of leaves to the FWG and made sure they are distributed to areas where they are most needed to control DSV.

Michelle has attended meetings and workshops, and this year joined an FWG-organized Mission Monarch to count caterpillars and eggs, as well as monitoring Monarch activity in her own neighbourhood.