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.
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.
Some 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.
I’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!
This guy does so many things for the Centre. From helping keep the observatory running, coming out to many events, and making the MZT available to us for meetings for many years along with running the show behind the scenes. His efforts and dedication are endless and help make our Centre stand out that much more.
This award goes to a large group of individuals that have greatly contributed to the Centre over many years. Some of these people have moved on to other projects, many are still on the committee and are still making contributions today. Without their hard work and dedication and literally hundreds of hours of volunteer time, our observatory would not be the fine example of public outreach that it is today. This year the President’s award for Service to the Centre goes to the Observatory Planning Committee. I would ask Massimo Torri to come up to accept this plaque on behalf of everyone that has ever served on the Observatory Planning Committee. All those in the audience that served on this committee in the past and still serve on it today, please stand up so that our club can recognize your contributions.
In the fine tradition of previous Presidents, I too have gone behind the backs of my own committee for this award. Although the committee had chosen an excellent candidate, I thought this person must receive this award this year. This individual has served on Council in just about every position there is, has served on just about every committee Council created and has been to just about every event the centre has hosted. The only time this individual has missed an event was when he was out of town. Everyone knows him, as he is actively involved in both the Club and the Observatory. I am speaking of Bruce McCurdy. After 21 years of serving on Council, Bruce has decided to step down from his Council duties to make way for fresh ideas from new members of the Club. His input and experience will be missed at Council. It is my honour to present Bruce with the President’s Award for Service to the Centre and to also present to him a token of our appreciation by giving him two tickets to the January 22nd Oilers game against the Dallas Stars. Hopefully the Oilers will win this game in your honour, Bruce.
I started my term as president with a mutiny so it only seems fitting that I end it with a mutiny. For this award, the Award Committee had selected a potential candidate. I had someone else in mind. So I went behind the back of my own committee and chose the recipient of this award. The person I chose rather reluctantly joined Council several years ago. Despite his reluctance, he jumped into the duties rather than just slacking off until the term ended. He also signed up for several committees (including Black Nugget Lake Observatory, By-Laws, Web Site, and International Year of Astronomy committees) and even as chair for some and took on additional portfolio duties when there were obvious gaps in crucial spots. He has put much time and effort into making sure these committees and portfolios achieved their objectives. And despite the many frustrations he encountered in the process, he always seems to have a quip from his deadpan sense of humour at the ready.
So with a hearty har har, the President’s Award for Service to the Centre goes to Orla Aaquist.