At the traditional Members’ Night in December 2008, Ellen and Orris Hull were presented with a Life Membership in honour of their 20 years service with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.
Orris graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1954 and Ellen graduated from the University of Toronto the same year. She then went to OISE and trained as a teacher. Jobs were prolific in the 1950s so she took the opportunity to move around the province and experience life in different communities. When she met Orris on a canoeing trip in Killarney Provincial Park she was teaching in Owen Sound, so they were familiar with this area, especially the wonders of the Bruce Peninsula.
After Orris took very early retirement from a career with New York Telephone, they decided to leave Buffalo and eventually settled on Owen Sound. Quite by chance, they moved into their new home on January 1, 1989 and they attended the first meeting of the newly formed field naturalist club on January 5. While living in Buffalo, they were both long-time members of the Niagara Falls (Ontario) Nature Club so they were delighted to find that there was a similar organization in Owen Sound.
By 1990 they had jointly taken over the job of Membership Chair and in March 1991 Orris became Vice-president. After two years in that position he became President in 1993 and served for two years, followed by the customary past-president position for another two years. The club was very active during his term of office with several conservation projects such as setting up the Nature Exhibition at the Meaford Tank Range, for which Orris spent many hours surveying the area. For a number of years, Ellen organized the annual Members’ Night.
In 1995 the club undertook the publication of a Vascular Plant Checklist. As a result of this, it was decided to form a Plant Committee with a view to producing further publications about this area. Ellen and Orris volunteered and were present at the first meeting on November 5 1995. They have remained a vital part of that committee ever since. Orris became committee treasurer and has been responsible for the thousands of dollars that have passed through the books since its inauguration. Ellen is a skilled and perceptive proof reader. Orris is particularly good at punctuation! They have both thoroughly scanned all our publications, even when we moved into animals
with the rare species and, later, into geology.
They are both well known as excellent field botanists. Ellen, particularly, is gifted with the ability to notice unusual plants. They are both especially knowledgeable about the West Rocks, where they have led many field trips. Ellen was the first to notice the presence of Ebony Spleenwort on the quarry road, which has been an attraction for fern enthusiasts ever since. A few years ago they reported an unusual site for the orchid, Case’s Ladies’ Tresses at the top of the escarpment. In May 2006, they spotted Yellow Archangel in the area near Georgian Bluffs Road 3. This was a first record for Grey County.
Everyone present in December, was delighted to see these two dedicated naturalists receive this honour.