huronfringefest

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THE HFBF BANQUET. DAVID LAMBLE, THE NORAH TOTH AWARD & MORE

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TWO MAJOR EVENTS TAKE PLACE AT THE HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL BANQUET ON MAY 24.

This year’s not-to-be-missed Keynote Speaker is Master Bird Bander David Lamble. And the evening’s festivities will recognize a long-time, key HFBF contributor Bette Jean Martin with the Norah Toth Award. It all happens at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Port Elgin beginning with a social ‘meet and greet’ at 4:30 PM, followed by a buffet dinner from Harrigan’s Catering.

DAVID LAMBLE PRESENTS – BIRDS AND SOME OF THEIR MYSTERIES*

Consider the varied interests of this year’s HFBF Keynote Speaker David Lamble. For 35 years a high school chemistry teacher, now a singer, actor and TV host in his retirement, but more importantly for us, a Master Bird Bander – one of only 100 in Canada.

Bird Bander

Since 1978 he has banded 171,759 birds of 193 species (as of this writing), but who’s counting. As David says, “I am not good at keeping track…the totals are really personal goals/achievements…banding is not a competitive sport.”

David will be at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Port Elgin on May 24 evening to inform, entertain and enlighten us. He has titled his presentation: BIRDS AND SOME OF THEIR MYSTERIES. He’ll be talking about bird intelligencebird vision and of course bird banding and how it all contributes to our understanding of birds.

hero_DavidLamble-300x250David’s love of birds began in 1978 with a banding study of Tree Swallows. He received his Master Bander Permit in 1986. By 1999 he had banded some 60,000 birds and received the Grand River Conservation Authority Watershed Award. His interest in our feathered friends expanded to include all species found in Southern Ontario. His major studies have now branched out to include Bobolinks, Snow Buntings, Ducks as well as his all-time favourite – the Tree Swallow.

He spends about 200 days a year in the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area north of Grand Valley where he meticulously documents each banding to better understand the habitat and needs of birds.

David’s banding goals are simple: find out where they go – try to ascertain if they return to the same place and measure a bird’s longevity.

“Banding opens us a range of things for research,” says David. “I think there are 286 species in Ontario. I’ve banded 193 so far. There are lots more areas in which I can still experience something new.”

Plan to joins us for the banquet and discover for yourself why David Lamble is no ordinary bird lover.

BETTE JEAN MARTIN IS THIS YEAR’S NORAH TOTH AWARD WINNER

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival has grown from a one-day event where people just “showed up” and hoping for room on events, to eight days of events within a 14-day period than now requires a pre-registration process. This transition would never have been possible without the commitment for excellence and customer service demonstrated by Bette Jean Martin (BJ).

BJ005

As Mary Rapati retired from her duties with the Festival, BJ moved in. For a couple of years she worked with paper registration – the final year for this involved learning how to develop a fillable form. With determination, she did it! However, this involved a lot of volunteer time, BJ’s time; and she was still working full-time as an audiologist at the Kitchener hospital and had children at home. A stickler for detail and with a desire to develop a system that would make life less hectic, BJ worked with the Friends of MacGregor internet provider to create the automated registration program that we use today.

Many people will know BJ as the person on the other end of the phone answering questions about the program or registration process. She has also been one of the common denominators at the registration desk, where, in recent years, she has committed many hours to being there before you arrive for your day to ensure that each registrant has a positive Festival experience. More recently, BJ has accepted the challenge of helping with the program committee where she has followed up on guest leader recommendations. Several years ago she even shared her profession by talking about hearing loss and birding; a topic many of us find challenging as we get older.

It is with pride and thanks that the Norah Toth Award will be presented to BJ Martin at the Festival Banquet on May 24.

 A23 – 4:30 pm – SOCIAL.  5:30 pm – BANQUET & PRESENTATION. REGISTER ON-LINE NOW @ http://friendsofmacgregor.org

 Email: birdfest@rogers.com

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HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL – MAY 23 to MAY 26  & MAY 29 to JUNE 1 

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK, PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

 *(With notes and photography courtesy of Jeff Rollings (In The Hills) and Janet Baine (Grand Actions)

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OUR NEW NORAH TOTH AWARD WINNNER

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Recently Norah Toth sent the following email to Bette Jean (BJ) Martin.

“I’m pleased to let you know that your name has been selected for the Norah Toth Award, which will be presented at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival banquet on May 24, 2014. BJ, The Norah Toth Award recognizes people who have contributed to the Festival in a way that makes a difference. Your contributions to the registration process are unparalleled. You have also become a valued asset to our program and organizing committees. Your concern for customer service from the beginning of the process to on site at the registration tent is exemplary. Thank you”

BJ005 BJ’s first reaction to the news was:

“Oh my goodness…when did they do that?”

Closely followed by her second reaction:

“This is overwhelming!”

Norah went on to explain the Award Committee’s decision.

“The Huron Fringe Birding Festival has grown from a one-day event where people just “showed up” hoping for room on events, to eight days of events within a 14-day period than now requires a pre-registration process. This transition would never have been possible without the commitment for excellence and customer service demonstrated by Bette Jean (BJ) Martin.

As Mary Rapati retired from her duties with the Festival, BJ moved in. For a couple of years she worked with paper registration – the final year for this involved learning how to develop a fillable form. With determination, she did it! However, this involved a lot of volunteer time, BJ’s time; and she was still working full-time as an audiologist at the Kitchener hospital and had children at home.

A stickler for detail and with a desire to develop a system that would make life less hectic, BJ worked with the Friends of MacGregor internet provider to create the automated registration program that we use today.

BJ001

BJ – A happy and surprised Norah Toth Award Winner.

Many people will know BJ as the person on the other end of the phone answering questions about the program or registration process. She has also been one of the common denominators at the registration desk, where, in recent years, she has committed many hours to being there before you arrive for your day to ensure that each registrant has a positive Festival experience.

Left to right:at the Registration Tent: Anne Cathrae, BJ herself.  a registrant, Carole Lupton, NOrma Nanni

Left to right at the Registration Tent in MacGregor: Anne Cathrae, BJ herself. a registrant, Carole Lupton, Norma Nanni

More recently, BJ has accepted the challenge of helping with the program committee where she has followed up on guest leader recommendations.

Several years ago she even shared her profession by talking about hearing loss and birding; a topic many of us find challenging as we get older.

It is with pride and thanks that the Norah Toth Award will be presented to BJ Martin at the Festival Banquet (A23) on May 24, 2014.”

Thanks to husband Doug for the photographs.

HFBF TITLE

REGISTER NOW. EVENTS ARE FILLING UP FAST.

http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Email: birdfest@rogers.com

http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival

Follow HFBF on Twitter https://twitter.com/fompp

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL  – MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 tor JUNE 1 -2014

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK –  PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

Mary Rapati named the first Norah Toth Award Winner

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SnapspeedPerhaps the selfless giving of her time is embedded in the DNA of Mary Rapati.

She was, after all, a Candy Striper at the age of 14. Maybe the seeds of her enthusiasm for volunteering were planted then.

Today, thankfully, her penchant for giving freely of her talent, for getting involved, has contributed to the mutual benefit of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival (HFBF), the Bruce Birding Club and the Friends of MacGregor Point Park, to name a few.

Though, when you talk to her about her volunteering, as Fred Jazvec did recently, she humbly deflects all her accomplishments by simply saying, “You know it takes a large group to run something…”

True, but Mary has always been a catalyst. And because The Norah Toth Award is presented to the individual who has made a significant difference to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival or other local nature activities then its obvious that Mary should be its first recipient.

Originally from Alberta, Mary moved to Port Elgin with her husband, by way of Peterborough, in 1989. Some time around 1998, when the HFBF was in its infancy, Mary came along prepared to work hard for something she loved and believed in. At that time there was no pre-registration, no big committees, no brochure and nothing on-line. Obviously Mary liked the challenge because she made-ready a brochure, picked up mail daily, suggested alternative events, organized hand-written hike lists, sent out confirmation letters and handled conflicts by phone. She worked tirelessly on all aspects of the Festival from suggesting and writing nametags and distributing brochures to introducing the idea of Liability Insurance, Risk Management Procedures and Co-Coordinator Manuals.

Nothing escaped her attention. She initiated improved signage in the Park to help direct people. She was there in the dark to welcome and hand out registration packages to 6:00 AM hikers.

But Mary wasn’t alone in her dedication to the Festival. While always working along with other volunteers she also made her involvement a family affair. Her husband Tony designed a computer system for better organization of Festival people and events. Her son worked on the early website for the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. And her three children worked for the Park during the summer.

Her volunteerism went beyond the Festival as she kept birding records for HFBF, the Bruce County Bird Finding Club, the Bruce Birding Club and birding author Mick Pickup.

Mary led the committee that ran the Circle of Friends Workshop hosted by the Friends of Macgregor Point Park. The Workshop involved co-operating associations with provincial, national or municipal parks, museums and historic sites, members of groups involved in preserving the natural and cultural history of Ontario and park staff and site staff who would like to know more about setting up and maintaining a partnership with co-operating associations.

It was no small task. The agenda offered 10 courses over three days. The conference reflected the typical Rapati enthusiasm through the brochure, dinner by a renowned chef, fund raising, silent auction and Justin Trudeau as the keynote speaker. She asked for funds from Bruce Power so that students from Kincardine to Owen Sound could experience his presentation.

Mary Rapati and friend.

Mary Rapati and friend.

It was a successful event because, as Mary said, “I got to hug Justin Trudeau.”

If all of the above isn’t enough Mary and her husband are considered butterfly experts. They were, for a time, the only Canadians to identify the rare Cherry Gull Azure. Up until then it was thought to only exist in New England, but they found it in Bruce County and again at MacGregor and Inverhuron Parks. They then went on to find it in other provinces across Canada.

Twice a week for 6 years they went butterfly hunting, almost overwhelming the Lepidoptera Society with their records. The society puts out a Butterfly Atlas every year and the Rapati’s are acknowledged as contributors.

From 2000 to 2007, they ran a Butterfly Count sponsored by MacGregor Point Provincial Park, training enthusiasts, providing slides and giving them resources to work with. Their Bruce County Butterfly lists are now included in all HFBF registration packages, and can be printed off the website of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. They started the Annual Butterfly Count for the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Mary and Tony have made Butterfly presentations all over the province to Naturalist Groups and especially to Horticultural Societies who want to know what plants attract which species. Both are qualified to band Monarch Butterflies as two of only 25 people in Ontario.

Enthusiasm, involvement, determination, commitment the adjectives describing the quality of Mary’s attitude towards volunteerism could fill pages. Needless to say we are pleased to recognize Mary Rapati as the first winner of the new Norah Toth Award.

 (With notes from an interview by Fred Jazvec)

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 HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL ON-LINE REGISTRATION 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

Some events are already full

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL, 2013

MAY 24 to MAY 27 – MAY 30 tor JUNE 2

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK

PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO