Giving a finch
The Friends of Bloedel received a generous gift two weeks ago from one of its biggest, and youngest, supporters.
When Emma Bolzner recently turned 12 years old, she asked birthday party guests to forgo the gifts and instead make donations in her name to the Friends of Bloedel. Emma’s wish was the donations be used to help the birds of the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Emma’s wish came true when she attended a special ceremony in her honour at the conservatory Oct. 20, where new Australian finches were released as the result of her donation.
This is not the first time Emma has donated to the conservatory, which was at risk of closing several years ago due to park board budget restraints. The first time Emma donated to the conservatory was three years ago in response to that threatened closure. Then just nine years old, she raised more than $750, gave presentations at her school and gathered more than 200 signatures on a petition to save the iconic dome.
NPA park board commissioner John Coupar says Emma was very passionate about saving the conservatory.
“She’s a wonderful little girl and her continued enthusiasm shows how much the conservatory means to people,” Coupar told me Monday afternoon.
Prior to becoming a park board commissioner, Coupar founded the Friends of Bloedel. Coupar has a life-long connection to the Bloedel through his father, a former park board employee for more than 40 years and the first administrator of the conservatory. Coupar often visited his father at work and spent his afternoons at the
Coupar enjoyed watching Emma during the release of the finches.
“She was in her glory,” he said.
Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth was honoured at the In Her Footsteps: Celebrating B.C. Women in Sport awards dinner Monday night, at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club.
In Her Footsteps is an annual recognition program organized by ProMOTION Plus, B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and the B.C. Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.
Blyth was recognized by the groups for being a “well respected woman in the male dominated sport of skateboarding.” Blyth is credited for founding the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition and initiating the development of six skate parks in the city, as well creating Skateboard Week. Blyth’s latest projects include organizing street soccer teams for both men and women, who’ve already competed in the Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and France.
At the time her award was announced, Blyth told me this would be the most meaningful honour she’s ever received due to the fact she was nominated by members of volunteer groups she’s worked with in the past. Blyth had been unaware she’d been nominated until the awards were
Blyth is proud to be honoured along with the late freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who’s being celebrated for her fight to have women compete in Slopestyle Skiing. Burke’s hard-fought campaign resulted in Ski Pipe becoming a 2014 Winter Olympic event. Thanks to her efforts, Burke is being inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in the “builder” category. Burke died in January after falling during a training session at Park City, Utah.
Kristine Chambers is also being recognized for her contribution to sport. Chambers was honoured for launching the Vancouver-based Exceleration: Triathlon and Multisport Club, dedicated to encouraging youth to explore all kinds of physical activity.
Chambers is also being recognized as a coach and role model for many young girls. My colleague Megan Stewart wrote about her in our Oct. 26 edition.