We did it! 150 members and friends of the Athol Bird and Nature Club filled the Elks Hall for an evening of remembrance, camaraderie, and hope for the future.
Robert Banks Coyle our Club founder was honored by friends and former student and received a letter of commendation from State Representative Denise Andrews on behalf of Speaker Deleo and the Massachusetts House of representatives.
Traveling the farthest to attend was Steve Piragis a former student of Bob Coyle’s in the 1963-64 school year. Steve reiterated the feelings of many that that 8th grade science class had been a life altering experience and has stayed with him throughout his life. Traveling around the world he always stops for birds even in Botswana where most were content to look at the large mammals, Steve had to see all the birds he could. Cindy Hartwell, Earl Baldwin, Sylvia (Whitney) Wetherby, Ernie Leblanc , all spoke eloquently of their experience with ABNC and Bob. A moving note by Bill Fregeau who was unable to attend was read by friend and current club president Dave Small.
Bob Coyle was presented with a plaque and a new pair of Ziess 8 X 42 Terra binoculars to replace the pair that have been making their home under the front seat of Bob’s car from many years… After all he did buy them with Green stamps!
Several additional members were recognized Dave Small for 25 years as club president. Susan Cloutier for outstanding leadership in transforming the building at 100 main Street into the Millers River Environmental Center. Susan Bredesen for her long standing work as the keeper of the ABNC database, tracking memberships, mail lists, and event registrations. Larry and Joan Duprey moved to Athol from Groton and dove in with both feet; Larry is recording secretary and schedules the speakers at our monthly meetings,. while Joan works with trip leaders to schedule the dozens of free trips offered throughout the year. Both are the first to step up and volunteer whether at the Habitat Garden, Rich Park, or work at the Center. The many members with 25 or more years of membership were also recognized.
The decorations for the event were the work of club director Susan Heinricher with the help of many turned the foyer into a new England forest (complete with callng birds) Special thanks to Noel’s Nursery for the loan of the living plants material and to Cal Coolidge of the donation of cut flowers that graced each table.
Thanks to everyone who donated raffle items, helped in many ways to make the evening a huge success.
We will post additional information as it becomes available. Enjoy the pictures taken by Mike Phillips (“ABNC turns 50” on main Menu) and look forward to the next 50 years of ABNC. (by Dave Small)