Jim Wolford: Recipient of the 2006
Colin Stewart Conservation Award

From the Halifax Field Naturalist Report:
Jim has been actively working on behalf of nature and conservation for several decades. He's an active member of both the Blomidon and the Halifax Field Naturalists, an on-going advisor to the Town of Wolfville on a project to conserve over 700 acres of forest and wetlands on the Valley's South Mountain, and was the major force behind the creation of the Robie Tufts Nature Centre (the Chimney Swift park). Jim works tirelessly on behalf of bird-watchers, naturalists, and conservation groups. Apart from his regular contribution as an HFN Board member, he gives illustrated talks to school classes, various youth and adult groups, and takes Scouts and Guides on field trips to help them see the world around them. Congratulations, Jim - you really deserve this award.
From the nomination:
Chimney Swifts
Chimney Swifts are one of Jim's special interests. Swifts have roosted in Wolfville since at least the late 1800s. Beginning in 1989, the Town decided to remove the old building with the swift chimney. A three-way partnership was formed: the Town, the Business Development Corporation, and the Blomidon Naturalists Society. The old building was removed, but the chimney saved and it became the centrepiece for a miniature park. It was named the Robie Tufts Nature Centre in 1990. Jim was one of the leaders throughout this rebuilding project.

The Centre quickly became a major attraction in the community. Town people and tourists gather each evening to see the swifts. The performances of up to 600 swifts, sometimes more, dazzle the spectators. Jim is present many evenings to share his knowledge of the birds and their behaviours.

Swifts are now in sharp decline. One Maritime account (written decades ago) reports 22,000 swifts entering a chimney in 22 minutes. Today, a few hundred swifts per evening is a good count. Communal roosting of swifts must be documented. Jim has maintained a record of the Wolfville roost since 1979, and has worked to encourage birders in other communities (eg. Middleton) to maintain records. This has now developed into a provincial monitoring program, coordinated by Jim. A number of communities in the province have "swift chimneys". Residents must be informed of the swifts, they must be protected. This is what Jim has done for almost two decades.

Helping Others
While Jim has a major interest in birds, his range of expertise is much broader, he is well informed on many groups of living things from bacteria to whales. He is a strong believer in helping others gain an appreciation for nature and encourages them to support programs that protect habitats.

Jim works tirelessly on behalf of bird-watching, naturalists, and conservation groups. He enjoys giving talks, always illustrated with an abundance of slides, and leads field trips on a variety of subjects, such as: eagles, amphibians, pond life, seashores, and many more. He talks to school classes, youth and adult groups, and takes Scouts and Guides on field trips and helps them see the world around them. For many, it is the first time they have stopped to look and listen, their excitement is evident!

Helping others gain an understanding of nature is possibly Jim's greatest contribution. We cannot expect others to protect habitat if they do not know about the plants and animals that live there.

A few years ago, Jim's considerable work on behalf of nature and the community earned him the title "Wolfville's Nature Ambassador". In recognition of Jim's work and dedication, in 2003 the Town of Wolfville named Jim its "Volunteer of the Year".