Dianne Slyford – whom many here simply called Dee – passed away on July 28, 2006.To staff at Ontario nature, as well as countless members, Dianne was an integral part of the organization, and she is greatly missed.

Dianne worked as the receptionist for Ontario Nature for some 20 years. During that time, she came to represent the organization to many of its members, a number of whom would call simply to chat with her. Friendly, personable and outgoing, Dianne had an easy laugh. Numerous prospective employees sat in her office over the years, and Dianne talked with them and put them at ease.

Two of Dianne’s passions, besides people, were plants and birds. Years ago, a couple of birdfeeders were placed not far from the front door of her office, and Dianne brought in a pair of binoculars, which she kept on a hook by her desk. Whenever an unusual bird alighted on one of the feeders, Dianne would immediately page staff over the intercom and describe in some detail the size and colouring of the winged visitor.

Office plants survived and thrived thanks entirely to Dianne’s green thumb. African violets were routinely nursed back to health when Dianne returned from a summer vacation. Although she repeatedly admonished staff to water the plants during her absences, we would always forget, knowing, perhaps, that Dianne would fix everything on her return.

When the postage machine was uncooperative or the fax machine made a
Strange, grinding noise or a large, inexplicable brownish puddle seeped out from beneath the coffee maker, inevitably Dianne came to the rescue. She remembered the names of our children, partners and spouses. And, with warmth and fondness, we remember Dianne.

Dianne leaves behind her husband, terry, and her two daughters, Lisa and Melanie.

Spotlight: the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists

Six enthusiastic nature lovers founded the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists in 1933.Today, the club’s 150 members play a leading role in fostering education and conservation in the northwestern region of Ontario. In particular, the group emphasizes getting local youth interested in nature and involved in environmental issues through its junior naturalist club.

As part of its ongoing outreach efforts, the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists have created a comprehensive, easily navigated website full of excellent photographs of local wildlife and landscapes, with links to information pages about the photographed animal, plant or area.

The club hosts monthly meetings, as well as numerous field trips and events throughout the year. Bird watching outings, searches for amphibians and the popular woodland caribou hunt (with cameras) are open to members and non-members alike.

The club’s long-term commitment to making a difference in the community is evidenced in its many projects. It has produced a vascular plant checklist and a bird checklist for the Thunder Bay district, and participates in fieldwork for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and the Rare Breeding Bird Atlas projects. Club members are also involved in the Blue Bird Recovery Project, Project Peregrine, the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory and the purchase of a nature reserve at the mouth of the Nipigon River. Nature Northwest, the newsletter of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, has been in circulation for more than 50 years, and the club has been holding a Christmas Bird Count for 61 years.

Warm , welcoming and eager to inform, the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists continues a 73-year tradition of commitment to “the study of natural history; the wise use of natural resources; the preservation of natural areas; and teaching the public to understand and protect nature.” Visit the organization’s website at www.tbfn.net.