ABNC Influencers

Without the extraordinary influence of these individuals, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre would not be the outstanding centre it is today where individuals of all ages can discover and learn more about nature!

 

Ken Barton | Director Emeritus

Ken was a founding member of Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society whose financial savvy, political connections, and passion for nature had been a driving force behind the success, growth, and sustainability of ABNC. His skills and expertise were well utilized to obtain grants, political support, raise awareness for environmental stewardship, acquire a 20-year land lease, as well as maintain continued and increased financial support and commitments from… Read more.

Jim Popowich | Chair Emeritus

Jim was a true leader for the organization. His connections allowed him to recruit the right people needed to get the jobs done. For example, he brought the skills of the members of the Men’s Shed up to the site. They built benches & tables, repair and improved the facilities. Many attendees of the annual Garage Sales will remember Jim directing drivers to suitable parking spots. Jim was not just a figurehead Board member, but where there was work to be done, Jim was there to chip in and do his bit. Read more.

Caroline Fraser | Director Emeritus

When Caroline joined ABNC’s Board of Directors, it was apparent that her vitality and passion for nature education, particularly for children were at the very core of her energy. She showed strong leadership through her support in the development of on-line Nature Education. Dinners Under the Stars was also Caroline’s baby as she hosted with it the knowledge and passion of an experienced event planner. Her understanding the needs of the organization, and her generosity helped to make ideas… Read more.

Learn more about our other team members:

Our Board of Directors are a dedicated group of nature advocates who volunteer their time, insight and expertise to guide the operations of Allan Brooks Nature Centre.

Learn more about our board members here.

The day to day operations at Allan Brooks Nature Centre would not be the success that it is without our knowledgeable staff team. Their passion truly is to bring nature to life with their unique knowledge and expertise about nature.

Get to know more about our team of staff here.

Ken Barton  |  Director Emeritus

August 18, 1940- January 10, 2019

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Ken Barton on Thursday January 10, 2019. Ken was an active and avid supporter of Allan Brooks Nature Centre and he will be greatly missed.

Originally from England, Ken Barton planted his roots in Canada over 50 years ago. In 1995 after retiring from an extensive 37 year career in commercial banking and heavy involvement in a variety of non-profit organizations in Kitimat, Quesnel and Vernon, Ken was asked to become a founding member of Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society. Ken’s financial savvy, political connections and passion for nature have been a driving force behind the success, growth and sustainability of ABNC ever since. Ken’s skills and expertise have been well utilized to obtain grants, political support, raise awareness for environmental stewardship, acquire a 20 year land lease in 2000 for ABNC as well as maintain continued and increased financial support and commitments from the City of Vernon and the community as a whole. Since 2000 Ken has initiated several projects including a Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory and Mapping of the 18,000 acre Bella Vista-Goose Lake Range) which among others, led to a positive partnership and ‘working relationship agreement’ with the Okanagan Indian Band to combine areas of interest for both ABNC and OKIB. Ken has remained heavily committed to ABNC since its inception more than 20 years ago, through his involvement on the Board holding a variety of roles including President, Director, Past-President, Director at Large. Now Chair Emeritus since June 2016. When not devoting his time to ABNC, Ken and his wife Joanne enjoy travelling as part of their retirement.

Jim Popowich  |  Chair Emeritus

June 24, 1944- December 7, 2021

It is with sadness that we share the loss of a dear friend to Allan Brooks Nature Centre. Jim Popowich, Chair of the Board of Directors, passed away. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Laverne and their extended family.

It is difficult to capture in words the contribution of a life and especially one that has done so much in his short time here. Passion for the Centre’s mission of sharing nature with people of all ages, was at the very core of Jim’s involvement at Allan Brooks. Through his leadership as a board member, his compassion of the needs of staff and volunteers, and his generous philanthropy he built a team of people who worked with him to bring the Centre, its programs, and facilities to life in our community in new and meaningful ways.

Jim was a true leader for the organization. His connections allowed him to recruit the right people needed to get the jobs done. For example, he brought the skills of the members of the Men’s Shed up to the site. They built benches & tables, repair and improved the facilities. Many attendees of the annual Garage Sales will remember Jim directing drivers to suitable parking spots. Jim was not just a figurehead Board member, but where there was work to be done, Jim was there to chip in and do his bit. One of his favourite projects was the transformation of the dated children’s play area to a creative, attractive place made from local natural materials for children to play safely in. He was often seen smiling while watching little ones climbing on the many logs making up a part of the park.

Jim recognized that like many strong businesses, a not-for-profit organization must exercise the same fiscal responsibility as a for profit business. As a seasonal organization, Jim was prudent in tracking the finances closely to ensure that funds were in place to weather the winter months. It would be remise not to mention Jim’s part in receiving major financial gifts and grants that allowed for the upgrades to the HVAC system and renovations and improvements to both the Classroom and the main building. One of his major accomplishments is that Jim helped to set Allan Brooks Nature Centre on a path that is financially solid while allowing for new ideas to grow and develop. With his strong leadership, Allan Brooks Nature Centre continues to hold a respected place in the North Okanagan today and is prepared for the future.

Caroline Fraser  |  Director Emeritus

September 29, 1966 – December 29, 2021

It is with sadness that we share the loss of a friend to many, including the Allan Brooks Nature Centre – Caroline Fraser.  Our sincere condolences go out to her family and friends. Caroline will be sadly missed, as her contribution and energy helped bring new and innovative ideas to reality.

Born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of six. Caroline grew up in Princeton and attended school and university on Vancouver Island and Burnaby. After graduating from SFU with a degree in communications, Caroline moved to Silver Star in the late eighties because of her love for the outdoors. In this community she knew she had found her home, as she loved the people and they loved her and she quickly made many friends. There she indulged in her love for nature and the outdoors cross country skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing or hiking, usually with friends and family, in what she always called a “special and magical place”.

When first Caroline joined ABNC’s Board of Directors, she questioned how she could help. It quickly became apparent that her vitality and passion for the Centre’s mission of nature education for people, particularly children were at the very core of her energy. Caroline showed strong leadership on the Education Committee through her support of the development of on-line Nature Education.

Dinners Under the Stars was Caroline’s baby. Each dinner was magic and was hosted with the knowledge and passion of an experienced event planner.  Throughout the covid-19 pandemic and over its first two summers these events became significant fundraising activities for Allan Brooks. Caroline understood the needs of the organization, and her generosity helped to make ideas into reality. Understanding the importance of maintain our amazingly knowledgeable staff, Caroline was always mindful of their needs.