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President's Perspective - summer 2012

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Ann MacKenzie, OFNC president

Make it YOUR Club

A Club is what its members make it. I am inviting you to make The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club your club, reflecting what you would like to do and how you would like to see things take place.

Long time members have probably occasionally wondered:

"Why doesn't the Club do…"
"It would be helpful if the Club did… or… happened."
"What the Club needs to do is…."

Those of you who are newer to the Club might be surprised that the Club does not do something or that we do something in a particular way.

Well don't be shy. It is a Club, not a military command and control organization - although some days it would make my life easier if it was. There may be a reason why we do or don't do something but most things are not cast in stone. We need to evolve to survive and we need you to help make that happen. For example, it was the incredulous reaction of the younger members that resulted in us adding electronic payment for membership dues.

At the April Soiree we gave the Member of the Year Award to Barry Cottam. Barry realized that all the work that had gone into the Fletcher Wildlife Garden was being undermined by the rapid spread of the invasive Dog Strangling Vine. He thought that "something should be done about that." But, rather than just think about it he decided to do something. The result was a major effort by a team of volunteers, organized by Barry, to remove the vine. It is an ongoing war, as any gardener knows, and you would be welcome to help the team on Tuesday mornings. (

The example of Barry tells us not only what can happen when an individual takes an initiative but also that it can result in having to do something and taking responsibility. For some reason that thought makes a lot of people run like a scared rabbit. However, it does not have to be as big an undertaking as Barry's. With my poor memory for names I decided a couple of years ago that we needed name tags. Yes, I did have to start the process, but it was not huge and then Brittany Boychuk offered to look after it. The result is that you are greeted at the entrance at monthly meetings, creating more of a sense of belonging to a club and not just attending a lecture. For me, I can now put more names to faces.

There are also a lot of things that might be done through the existing committees and you would not have to take it on by yourself, although you should be prepared to participate. The previous Trail & Landscape, Vol. 46-2, listed all the committees on page 50 with the names and email addresses of the chairs. Why not send your idea to the appropriate chair? If you don't know where it would fit, then send it to me.

Should we set up an electronic suggestion box? If so, would you be willing to manage it, redirecting the ideas and responding to the members? Maybe we could post it online the way the ByTowne Cinema prints responses to their member's suggestions in their flyers.

We often read about how one person can make a difference in the world. Personally, I find these stories more than a bit daunting in scope and ambition. Fortunately, in the Club, you can make a difference without going to such lengths. Share your thoughts. Often one idea sparks ideas and suggestions in others leading to meaningful improvements in the Club. You will get satisfaction from the implementation of your idea and your Club will be better for it.

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This page was revised on 20 June 2012
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