Parks society to honour McMullen and Hansen

The Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society will be holding its 51st Annual General Meeting on Friday, April 1.

The Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society will be holding its 51st Annual General Meeting on Friday, April 1.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Summerland’s Centre Stage Theatre.

The evening will be comprised of a short business meeting and a presentation entitled “Preservation of Species and Habitat —  Focus on Wolves”.

The presenters are Craig Pettitt, a British Columbia environmental specialist and advocate from the Valhalla Society and Sadie Parr, the executive director of Wolf Awareness.

Pettitt is a director and one of the founders of the Valhalla Society.

The society is based in eastern B.C. the group was formed as a non-profit society in the 1970s.

They describe themselves as “a small group of committed people making a difference for bears and other species.”

Parr is currently involved in a wolf feeding ecology study in B.C.’s Chilcotin region and is about to begin a similar project in northeastern Alberta where bounties are underway.

Parr’s organization, Wolf Awareness, is a non-profit organization established in 1987.

This group focuses on wolf conservation through research and education. It incorporates outreach and education about methods of coexistence in every project they are involved in, using informed advocacy to help people better understand wolf behaviour and ecology.

Parr has learned much about the perils that even “protected” wildlife face in Canada.

She has committed herself to raising awareness about the need for improved wolf conservation across Canada, home to one-fifth of the world’s remaining wilderness.

The annual general meeting will also honour two of the pioneers of the society, David McMullen and Jurgen Hansen.

McMullen was one of the original members of the society. He was involved with raising awareness and funding for the Vaseaux Lake sheep protected area which became a park.

His signature can be found on the application for the non-profit society status of the organization. He and his wife Ruth reside in Summerland where they retired after David’s career as a scientist at the Canadian Agriculture Research station was completed.

Hansen was a well-known figure in the Okanagan conservation community.

He is credited with educating the communities up and down the valley about the concept of governing by consensus building.

He was an enthusiastic supporter in many projects, including parks like Okanagan Mountain and Cathedral Lakes, habitat in the winter range for the bighorn sheep at Vaseaux Lake and the establishment of the ecological reserve at Haynes Point.

An outspoken advocate for protecting natural resources, Hansen worked on the negotiations over forestry which became the Okanagan Shuswap Land and Resources Management Plan on which he worked as a member of the society’s representative team for about 10 years.

He was recognized for his efforts with a life time membership in the society. He and his wife, Marilyn, were very active members of the society until his death in March, 2009.