2008 Owl Award
Eileen Ford

Eileen Ford joined the Board of RDRN in the mid-1990’s and has quietly, but forcefully helped to guide and direct our society ever since.

Eileen was one of the original pushers for the formation of focus groups and has been active with them ever since. Going with Eileen on a field trip to observe plants is an education, both mentally and physically. She has unlimited patience with those who merrily trample down rare orchids while charging through the bush after some bird that turns out to be robin. But she really comes into her own when she identifies a plant for the tenth time for those of us who can’t remember the difference between Thlapsi arvense and Rosa acicularis.

The third Wednesday of the winter months has seen Eileen at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre chairing yet another session of the Plant Focus Group and sharing more of her knowledge.

She has represented RDRN in other organizations, especially the Alberta Native Plants Council, Invasive Weeds of Alberta, the now defunct Normandeau Board, and the Shell Foundation.

She has organized weed pulls at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre so that we can now recognize Astragalus cicer, or Cicer’s milkvetch.

Eileen helped to organize the 2006 Nature Canada Conference, taking on the huge task of arranging the tours. It was a monumental task done with finesse and little fanfare.

We have no idea how long she’s been helping to arrange the summer tours, but it must border on forever.

Eileen, through her many contacts, also arranged for the creation of the fantastic centennial mural that proudly hangs in the RDRN office.

She offered her ability to raise money when she became the leading force for building the RDRN room at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre; in total over $65,000.

But, in spite of her seemingly unbounded energy while contributing to RDRN, she is at her happiest when sharing her vast knowledge of plants and nature in general with two other lovers of the outdoors, her grandchildren.

RDRN has been and continues to be very fortunate to have Eileen Ford as a member.