When I was looking back since our last AGM, and thinking about what I would say tonight, I realized what an exciting and busy time we have had over the past ten months. We took our displays to many events including Earth Day, Arbour Day, the MB Econetwork AGM, and others. Fieldtrips started on May8th because of a late snowfall, which was followed by a late spring. As a result we had the bizarre occurrence of most of the native orchid species blooming at the same time in this area. We scrambled to get people out to see them but because of the short blooming time and the rainy weather I am afraid we failed in some cases. We did manage to take the Whiteshell Cottagers on a fieldtrip near Betula Lake in June and had fun doing it. Ken Coombs and the others certainly know how to barbeque yummy hot dogs.
A highlight of our summer for some of us was going on an MOS/NOCI joint trip to Churchill led by Lorne Heshka. We saw lots of native orchids and many other interesting things including polar bears. It was a wonderful trip and Lorne was a great fieldtrip leader. You will see for yourself from our displays, and the PowerPoint presentation to be put on by John and Eugene later, how great it was. Thank you very much Lorne.
Dr Graham Young has kindly agreed to give us a presentation tonight on the bedrock geology of Churchill and reveal other wonders like those fossil beds that we did not have time to explore while we were there. I brought along some brochures about travelling to Churchill and some of its attractions and have left them out by our display board on northern orchids for those of you who are thinking of visiting there yourselves.
Early in August Peg and I flew to Conway, South Carolina for the Native Orchid Conference there. We saw many beautiful orchids and other exotic plants, enjoyed the hot weather and met people from all over North America. But I went from the subarctic to the subtropics within a month and I certainly noticed the contrast! Those of you who attended our Members Night in October will have seen the PowerPoint show Peg and I made from some of our photos taken on that trip. It is now up on our website at www.nativeorchid.org for those of you who missed it.
That slide show, like our "Orchids through the Year", the one on our trip to the Bruce Peninsula, and tonight's presentation "Orchids and Wildlife in Churchill", are all available to show to other groups. We have some requests for these four native orchid-related shows and would welcome others.
We are looking forward to the orchid workshop we have been asked to do for the Man Naturalist Society on May 4th. During the past year we have strengthened our ties with the MNS and we have gone on some of their fieldtrips and their members have come on some of ours. We always especially enjoy the ones that Morris Sorenson leads with his special interest in Arctic Hares and Great Blue Herons and we would surely miss Jackie Machovec calling out whenever she sees our group, "Well if it isn't Naked Orchid!"
We participated in last year's NOC Conference and will attend this year's as well to be held in Winnipeg July 9-12. Lorne Heshka is the NOC vice-president and conference chairperson and if you are planning to attend he can give you more information about it. NOCI will be assisting with the fieldtrips.
We finished up the Sandilands Selective Cutting project and the NWPS project and continue to work hard on the Orchids of Manitoba field guide.
We have submitted a funding application to SDIF and EcoAction for a proposed new project to increase awareness of native orchids and the need for their conservation. It would involve an educational and informational campaign with the participation of local entertainer Al Simmons. If we secure funding we will hire a marketing firm to produce public service announcements to be shown on television as well as a DVD on ways we can protect native orchids and their habitat. Michael Lloyd the producer who originally asked me if we would like to undertake such a project is here tonight. We are fundraising as usual for this project and other work we do to promote the conservation of native orchids. Please buy some tickets for our Silent Auction or Raffle or purchase some orchid cards or pins to help us with our work if you can.
On February 4th Peg and I attended a Community Based Social Marketing workshop put on by Doug McKenzie-Mohr, a social psychologist. He believes it is important to utilize a variety of approaches to get your message out. He says when a simple clear message is repeated in many places throughout the community it is more likely to be seen and received. If you would like to learn more about this approach his website is www.cbsm.com.
There are other changes this year as well; Bob Joyce and Alice Warren are stepping down from the NOCI board of directors. They have been with us many years and are wonderful volunteers. I want to thank them for all they did to make NOCI a success and hope to continue to see them at our events and field trips. The board appointed Ellen Johannesen to the position of secretary for the balance of the term and we welcome her involvement. I want to thank all the other board members as well for another successful and fun year. I appreciate very much all the work you have done and continue to do for our organization.
In closing I would like to remind you that the Manitoba Orchid Society orchid show will be held at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory March 18-20. We will have a display there and I hope to see you come out to see all the wonderful orchids.