Remembering Jim Popowich

 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.