Durham Environmental Advisory Committee

Durham Environmental Advisory Committee (DEAC)

Biographies for Named Individuals in Each Awards Category

Dr. J. Murray Speirs:
1909 – 2001

A long-time resident of Pickering, Dr. Speirs taught zoology at the University of Toronto, and published meticulously researched articles on bird behaviour. He was the author of "Birds of Ontario County", "Birds of Ontario", and co-author of "A Naturalist’s Guide to Ontario". He was a founder of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and several birding clubs.

But what made Dr. Speirs an icon among birders and all lovers of wildlife was his generosity of spirit, sharing both his expertise and his personal resources. He helped purchase Thickson’s Woods in Whitby, and gave seven of his own acres to the Altona Forest. Within the forest, a protected ecological reserve has been set aside to honour Murray and his wife Doris, his long-time birding companion.

Dr. Speirs was a mentor to the next generation of naturalists and friend to wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Barry Ken MacKay. At age 91, he was named a Distinguished Ornithologist by the Ontario Field Ornithologists; was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Pickering; and, his biggest thrill, received the Order of Canada from the hands of Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson.

George A. Scott:
1916 – 2001

George was a conservation, botanist, fine ornithologist, and had an interest in all of nature. He avidly collected, painted and recorded so much of what he saw.

Mr. Scott represented the only living plant collector in Durham Region. He was mentored by E. G. Tozer and A. A. Wood, a professional entomologist with the Ontario Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Scott took on the task of cataloguing the plants of Thickson Woods, Corbet Creek Marsh, Beaton’s Point, Oshawa Harbour, Oshawa Creek Woods, Bonnibrae Point, Pumphouse Marsh and others; his favourite collection is that of Oshawa Second Marsh. He was a member of many naturalist clubs; and led outings and taught many local conservationists, providing expertise and inspiration.

Mr. Scott was awarded a Conservation Award by Pickering Naturalists in1996, and received Honorary Life Membership from Friends of Second Marsh.

Mr. Scott’s detailed notes of birding trips provide an incredibly valuable chronicle of bird numbers and species over five decades at one location. Today we can trace changes in bird numbers and diversity through these unique journals. His collection was given to the ROM.

Irene Kock:
1961 – 2001

Irene Mary Kock was one of Durham's finest citizens. A dedicated environmentalist, both on the job, and off, Irene set a high standard for others to follow. Irene was passionately concerned about our collective impact on the planet she loved. For almost twenty years, Irene worked tirelessly under the banner of Nuclear Awareness Project and Durham Nuclear Awareness. Irene was also active in the Uxbridge Conservation Association and was a founder member of the Durham Environmental Network (DEN).

Irene walked the talk. In her private life she was a dedicated organic gardener. Unfailingly courteous, she earned respect from both allies and adversaries alike. Irene was also a really decent person and extraordinary friend to everyone who knew her. Humble intelligence and dedication were her trademarks.

Eric Krause
1965 - 2002

Eric Krause was a dedicated environmentalist on both a personal and professional level. What began as a personal interest in the environment became the focus of his energy, and his passion for promoting environmental sustainability was inspirational.

In 1997 Eric completed a M.A. dissertation on Ecological Footprints (a visual means of describing our impact on the planet), climate change and sustainable development. He promoted Ecological Footprints, developed an associated website, and worked to incorporate key concepts into educational materials. He contributed to the City of Toronto's Environmental Plan and assisted the

Eric's work touched many. His optimism, generosity and leadership will be remembered by family, friends and colleagues.

Jessica Markland:
1938 – 2002

Jessica Markland was born in Hong Kong, educated in England, worked for the British Council and in publishing.

Jessica emigrated to Ontario in 1960 and worked for CTV as a documentary feature producer, gaining an award at the International Film and Television Festival of New York in 1979.

A Durham Region activist, environmentalist and writer, Jessica was also the founder of DAN (Durham Action Network). She was known for her work as a political watchdog, and her commitments to a number of causes like establishment of DREAC (Durham Regional Environmental Advisory Committee). She was involved with Save the Oak Ridges Moraine, Friends of the Farewell, and many other environmental organizations.

Evylin Stroud:
1950 – 2005

For more than a quarter of a century, Evylin Stroud worked diligently to make her community a better place. She was a regular fixture at local council meetings where she was a well-informed observer and frequent participant.

In 1992, Evylin received an award from the Municipality of Clarington in recognition of her efforts on behalf of the environment. She served as volunteer coordinator for Waste Reduction Week for three years, was membership secretary of the Durham chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers and worked with Seeds of Diversity (a heritage seed program) for over a decade.

As an educator, Evylin was especially committed to literacy issues and her thought provoking Letters to the Editor were often published in local and national media.