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A Heartfelt Goodbye from the FRDC Team

August 20, 2015

One of the great joys of my work at the Fraser River Discovery Centre is also one of my biggest points of pride: Our Team. In the world of non-profit management, where we often ask our employees and volunteers to work miracles with very few resources, it can be hard to recruit and maintain a strong, competent, energized, and dedicated team. Luckily, this has not been the case here at the FRDC. Since I took over management 7 years ago, I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with an extraordinary team of Volunteers, Contractors, Staff, and Board Members. Last month we had to say goodbye to a very talented long-time team member, FRDC Director of Education Shannon King. Shannon has found a new opportunity at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston. We are all sorry to see Shannon leave us but we take comfort in knowing her talents will continue to be applied to educating the public about the many values of the Fraser River. During her stay here Shannon has defined the quality of learning at the FRDC by shaping strategies and practices that injected quality and effective education in programs, events, and exhibits. Shannon was also our leader in volunteer management where she leaves a strong legacy, as reflected below in the heartfelt words of Mike Hoyer, FRDC Volunteer.

– Catherine Ouellet-Martin, Executive Director

Saying “Good bye” to Shannon brings back many memories. I think I could say this on behalf of all of us. In your own quiet way, you have touched all the volunteers and the public you came into contact with.

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The education programs have taken a spike upwards since you took over, Shannon. You have challenged the docents in many ways: the type of delivery of programs, the way we deal with people, your knowledge of the Fraser River and British Columbia history and science, has been transferred to all of us.

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You have created community amongst your volunteer staff. Meeting monthly was a novel idea. Going on group tours was enlightening. Going on the Annacis Waste Water Treatment Plant has immortalized some of us along the Quayside boardwalk markers. Visiting the Delta Museum had us look at another focal point of the Fraser River. Going to visit our watersheds which provide us with our drinking water was so informative.

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You organized photo workshops for our own benefit, helped us see the Fraser River environs from another perspective. You stretched us in many ways that day. When I pushed you, you invited me to an awesome day of sturgeon fishing: I had never gone fishing before. But I got a new appreciation for “George” and all his kind as we discuss the white sturgeon, his sustainability and effect on the Fraser River and the BC economy.

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You encouraged all of us to learn about the Fraser. I found a new niche in my life and delved into the history of BC (remember, I’m a transplanted Easterner!), the impact of the Fraser River on the live of most of us. You helped me develop walking tours along the Quay, which I just love giving.

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Knowledge of the Fraser and its interconnectedness is so important. All those marker boards along the Quay are important to me. So much so, that when I saw them grow over with mold and moss, and tourists still reading them, it challenged me to clean them twice a year.

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On my own, you encouraged me to check out other places like the Gunderson Slough, other walking tours around the Fraser, other libraries and film evenings. You kept us posted on the latest news along the Fraser in the media. You organized community-building celebrations as the year progressed.

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I am sorry I missed your “good bye” celebration. But you were in my thoughts while I was still in Nepal. That’s the life of the retired volunteer; going from one activity to another. We have the time to absorb what we are challenged to. I’ll be out to visit you at your new environs, to learn more from you about the Fraser River. Best wishes friend!

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Goodbye Shannon! See you on the River….

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