Honorary Life Membership Award

Honorary Life Membership Award

by Janet Ozaruk and Mary Ann Vanden Elzen


At the April meeting, Pat and Paul Bigelow were presented with the very prestigious Honorary Life Membership Award. This award acknowledges the valuable and exceptional service made to Waterloo Region Nature and is given to only the most deserving of members. And Pat and Paul certainly are! They joined the club in Nov. of 1985 and, since that time, the value of their contributions to the club has been immeasurable.


Award Presentation
Left to Right – Nominators: Josh Shea, Mary Ann Vanden Elzen; Award Recipients: Pat & Paul Bigelow; Nominators: Janet Ozaruk, Charlotte Teat

Perhaps Paul’s greatest contribution has been his service as Treasurer for a total of nine years: from 2002/07 and from 2012 to present. Less well known is that Pat was actually club treasurer before Paul was: from 1993 to 1996. Both are members of the Montgomery Committee helping to manage and protect WRN’s Montgomery Wildlife Sanctuary. And both have spent time staffing WRN tables at various public events.

Each, however, has a long string of individual contributions to the club.

Pat was a founding member, back in 1999, of the Young Naturalists Club and has been a constant presence ever since, expertly performing a variety of jobs behind the scenes. Nowadays, Pat is most likely to be seen at club events with a camera and telescopic lens strapped around her neck. In her role as unofficial club photographer, she has provided many photographs for the Heron newsletter, the club’s archives, and most recently, the club’s new website.


Honorary Life Membership Award


Paul has been invaluable as the Board’s techie go-to person. He helped launch WRN’s much enhanced website and is now its manager; he spearheaded the club’s use of MailChimp and PayPal; he was pivotal in launching Ecoposts and compiling the club’s Facebook page.

When not behind the computer, Paul gets outdoors. Over the years, his steadily growing knowledge of birds makes him a reliable recorder for the club’s annual Great Backyard Bird Count. His interest in wildflowers blossomed as well. Paul has led club botany outings both locally and to the Bruce Peninsula.

Few know all that Pat and Paul have done for the club. And yet, everyone would notice if they didn’t do what they do. It’s all done humbly and quietly. In contrast, at the April club meeting, the audience’s standing ovation for them was long and loud.



The nomination document: