99th Annual BPQ AGM nets new Executive Committee

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Province of Quebec Society for the Protection of Birds Inc. took place on Monday, May 30th, making it the 99th consecutive such AGM in the organization’s history. An impressive number if one keeps count of such things; and if anyone can be expected to count something, then who but a group of birders to fit the bill? It is also a number that naturally suggests a more momentous milestone is just around the corner while at the same time provoking a reflection on times past.

In this vein, it seems fitting that preceding the formal meeting scheduled for the evening, a short remembrance service was held in honour of former BPQ President Michael Spencer who recently passed away at age 96. The noted British-born professional filmmaker, who came to Canada during WWII, was remembered for his lifelong intense passion for birds which led him to serve as the Society’s President during the 1960’s. Among many accolades, Spencer also received the Order of Canada in 1989. Spencer’s wife and sister-in-law were in attendance for the short service. Signed copies of his privately published memoir, The Accidental Birder, were made available for sale at the end of the evening and sold out quickly.

A special general meeting also immediately preceded the AGM to amend the existing BPQ bylaws. The ensuing vote resulted in a change to the number of members to be elected to the BPQ Board of Directors. It was voted to increase the minimum number of board members from 6 to 9 and to reduce the total number from 25 to 19 members.

BPQ President Sheldon Harvey chaired the AGM which took place upon the completion of the special meeting. He summarized the 2015-16 year, listing the numerous educational outreach programs, grant awards and other member activities that took place over the past year.

Treasurer Phyllis Holtz reported on the organization’s financial position and outlined how BPQ is committed to following an ethical investment strategy in managing its financial assets.

Harvey also announced that he, along with several other board members, had reached the conclusion of their terms and were stepping down from the board in order to comply with the allowable service time limits mandated in the BPQ bylaws. Harvey himself had reached the maximum time allowed for years of consecutive service, counting 10 years on the Board of Directors.

Looking to the future, Harvey announced that numerous activities are on the horizon for 2017 to celebrate the upcoming BPQ centenary milestone. BPQ turns 100 on January 4th ; to mark the occasion a special guest speaker is scheduled for the first monthly meeting of the year. This will be the first in a series of events slated as part of a year long celebration, the details of which will be revealed this fall. In the more immediate future, a 2017 BPQ photo calendar will be released in October; the special centenary edition will feature the winning entries of the monthly bird photography contest that started in September of 2015.

In a short address, vice-President Jane Cormack then thanked outgoing board members Wayne Grubert, Jean Demers, Alison Hackney and President Sheldon Harvey for their years of service and hard work.

Upon the adjournment of the 2016 AGM, BPQ board members retired to elect the new BPQ executive committee.  With the formalities of the AGM completed, those who remained in attendance were invited to indulge in refreshments and end the occasion by participating in an entertaining quiz. Teams of eager birders socialized for the remainder of the evening as they matched wits to determine which team could correctly answer the most of a series of challenging bird related trivia questions.

The resulting new executive committee, directors and other positions currently held by members are as follows.

Executive Committee

President: Barbara MacDuff

First vice-President: Jane Cormack

Second vice-President: –

Treasurer: Phyllis Holtz

Secretary: Helen Meredith



Nicholas Acheson

Marie-France Boudreault

Chris Cloutier

Diane Demers

Simon Duval

Frederic Hareau

Jeff Harrison

Sharon Hayden

Phyllis Holtz

Francine Marcoux

David Mulholland

Mathias Mutzl

Paul Shay



Other Positions

Membership Secretary: Gay McDougall Gruner

Editor, Songsparrow Newsletter: Jane Cormack

Website Manager: Connie Morgenstern