British-born and with a Masters degree in botany, Joan has taught every level from kindergarten to 4th year university at some time or another.
Joan received her Masters degree from the University of Manitoba, specializing in bryophytes (a division of small, simple plants that comprises the mosses and liverworts). This area of study has given her a working knowledge of geology, too, as bryophytes often grow on rocks. She is a well-founded biologist with a strong bias to ecology.
At Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, where she and Walter lived before moving to Owen Sound, Joan was curator of the Claude Garton Herbarium from 1990 to 1993. She is a member of the American Bryological and Lichenological Association.
Joan is a leading advocate for the region’s natural environment and a key organizer for its protection. She and her husband Walter were instrumental in preserving a portion of land across from their residence, part of the Long Swamp in Keppel Township. They joined with the OSFN to purchase and then donate to the Nature Conservancy of Canada a large portion of this important wetland so that it would remain natural and undeveloped.
Joan has also been an activist on the topic of ATVs and the damage they can do to natural areas. She made a presentation to the Niagara Escarpment Commission review in which she pointed out the degrading effects of bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs on escarpment trails. Until recently, she was also the OSFN rep on the board of the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment (CONE).
Chair of the OSFN’s Bruce-Grey Plant Committee, Joan also edited, helped write and coordinated the production of the six books published by the club since 1994. Amongst Joan’s other publications are:
- Checklist of Vascular Plants of Thunder Bay (1993 for the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists)
- The Lichens of Thunder Bay District (1994)
- Liverworts and Hornworts of Ontario (1999 with Linda Ley)
- First Book of Ontario Wild Flowers
Joan was presented with a Lifetime Membership Award from the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at the December 2006 meeting.