Awards for 2020 President’s Award for Service to the Centre

I first got to know the recipient of this award at the first Jasper Dark Sky Festival. We were assigned to set up telescopes on the Pyramid Lake Island. This involved several trips up and down some switch backs a narrow bumpy path, a bridge to the island and another narrow bumpy path on the island. We both had a lot of equipment and I had a handcart which we shared. Neither of us remembers that night fondly as it was a real pain to move our scopes on and off that island.

The recipient who has been the keeper of the books for the past eight years is stepping aside this year.  He has also coordinated our contribution to the JDSF including conceiving and executing the red light walkway and assigned telescope targets to our volunteers at the JDSF. His contribution on council and to the overall operation of our Centre has been invaluable. This year’s President’s Award for Service to Edmonton Centre goes to Jay Lavender

Awards for 2021 President’s Award for Service to the Centre

This year’s President’s Award for Service to the Centre goes to an unsung hero.

As you know, since it was formed in 1932 our club has run entirely by volunteers.

All of the governance, all of the programs, every touch of the pen or the keyboard—all done without thought of compensation or other reward.

But even in the midst of all of this selfless dedication our awardee’s contributions stand out.

Stardust, our club newsletter, has been in publication almost continuously since 1954. It’s as old as I am—67 years!

And has been a remains an integral part of who we are as an organization.

Yes, we have Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, and the Astrolist. And of course these are very popular. But ultimately their nature is to be short and ephemeral—read quickly and then replaced by something else.

On the other hand, issues of Stardust allow for more thoughtful explorations of topics and extended records of our activities—and they get catalogued and preserved (another task accomplished by our recipient). They remain as an enduring celebration of the Centre’s existence.

Since 1954 Stardust has had many editors, of course. And I thank them all for their past service.

But most did it for one or two years, the longest stretch being 7 years.

Which brings us to this year’s recipient.

Michael Ward has been producing and editing Stardust since 2005—16 straight years!

Need I say more?

This year’s recipient of the President’s Award for Service to the Centre is Michael Ward.

Awards for 2019 President’s Award for Service to the Centre

I had a hard time deciding on the 2019 President’s Award for Service. There are more than a few members I could have recognized. All of them work to keep our centre what it is. While I have noted he has recently started flirting with the dark side, astrophotography, this member is known mostly for visual astronomy and the art of star-hopping . He has been a volunteer at the RASCO, promoted sidewalk astronomy, come out at many many outreach events and ran the observers group for as long as I can remember. After years as head of that group he’s stepping down. For long time service to RASC Edmonton the 2019 President’s Award goes to Larry Wood.

Awards for 2018
President’s Award for Service to the Centre

Alister Ling

Alister has an incredible attitude: he is always quick to volunteer his time and knowledge to help out on many RASC projects, as well as initiating his own projects. It would be difficult to run Edmonton RASC the way we do without Alister’s participation. He is presently our National Council Representative; he has led the monthly astroimaging corner in the past; recently he has started offering introductions to the observer’s handbook at observers’ meetings; he is always quick to offer help and advice to new members and the public. Last year I commented that he was a close contender for the Service award, and I am happy to honour him with this award this year!

Awards for 2017
President’s Award for Service to the Centre
Luca Vanzella

Luca Vanzella has been a driving force behind some of the Centre’s major projects: the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium; Astro Café; the Black Nugget Lake Observatory; as well as volunteering at most of our events both through organizing details and sharing the sky to the public through his telescopes. This is someone who always lends a helping hand and provides advice whenever asked.

Awards for 2016
President’s Award for Service to the Centre
Jay Lavender

This member has conducted a tremendous amount of astronomy outreach over the years, helping the Centre deliver on its outreach mission. Sidewalk astronomy, school visits, major events like the Beaver Hills DSP Star Party and the Jasper Dark Sky Festival – this person has volunteered for just about everything. Thanks to this member’s hard work, we have stepped up our outreach game so we now can have a more professional appearance and a solid backup program in case of inclement weather.

This member pitches in whenever and wherever help is required. From delivering refreshments for our meetings, to signing up for a talk for to help the fledgling Astro Café series, to playing devil’s advocate when needed in Executive meetings, to last year when the Centre needed someone to step in and coordinate one of our biggest outreach events, stepping up immediately and doing a great job (along with his wife of course).

This member has also kept a watchful eye on the Centre’s books for the past four years, ensuring that we spend money wisely and within the arcane rules of the AGLC. And he has signed up for another term as Treasurer, continuing to run a tight ship on financial matters.

I have always been able to bounce ideas on and get second, and sometimes third, opinions from this member. This has helped me immensely in my term as President. For all of these things and many others that I have not mentioned, it is with gratitude that I give the President’s Award for Service to the Centre for 2016 to Jay Lavender.

Awards for 2015
President’s Award for Service to the Centre
Cornelia Blunck

2015_service_to_centre_awardSome of our members provide service to the Centre over long periods of time and this person is no exception. For a good decade, this member worked both as a regular Friday Observatory volunteer and as the volunteer scheduling coordinator. Over the years, she acted as den mother for the volunteers crews and worked to improve observatory procedures for things like sign-in logs and inventory of RASC equipment at the deck. She was instrumental in organizing the annual volunteer party. She also volunteered at the annual Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve celebrations and our annual Northern Prairie Start Party, always helping out with gusto. She was on the volunteer team that help stage the very successful RASC General Assembly in Edmonton in 2012. She stepped down last year as volunteer scheduling coordinator after providing exemplary service for many years, so it is with gratitude that I give the President’s Award for Service to the Centre for 2015 to Cornelia Blunck.

Awards for 2014
President’s Award for Service to the Centre
Franklin Loehde

2014 President's Service Award - Franklin LoehdeI’m not sure I can say anything we don’t already know about this guy…he’s always around, seemingly at every meeting, every event, everywhere…every time and all of the time…and has been for a very LONG time. Franklin has done everything for the Centre…a multitude of positions, 2 times President, National President, and I think most lengthy and recently, the Fundraising Coordinator since the early 1990s. Franklin has decided to ‘retire’ from Council after many decades effective this month. His knowledge and experience will be missed but hey…I know all 5 of his email addresses and at least 2 different phone numbers…and he’s never far from that damn iphone, so he’s really just a phone call away! He will be around on the QEP committee still, so I’ll still get the chance to rib him about being overly conservative! That said…I have the pleasure of presenting the President’s award for Service to the Centre for 2014 and a hell of a long time prior to that!