The 2011 President’s Award Winner is Edi Sonntag. Edi was instrumental in helping the society analysis water quality in what was to become Dragonfly pond. It was found at the time that the water had high ammonia and almost zero dissolved oxygen, making it toxic to almost everything but mosquitoes. The data Edi provided and many discussions on what might be possible to do, lead us to our decision to cut the trees, open up the area and let sunlight back in. This resulted in instant success and the multitude of life forms we have in the pond today appeared the first year. Along with this Edi has been a valuable member of our School Nature Night team for many years. She brings her “friends” turtles, lizards and snake to socialize with the school children, always a big hit. Her life along interest in Herpetology and critters of all kinds has lead to both to her own continuing education and the teaching of others. Edi has a BA in Animal Behavior from MSU, masters in Environmental Science from U of M-Dearborn and is working on finishing her PHD in Ecology from MSU. She worked at the Detroit Zoo with their reptiles and amphibians for 7 ½ years. She is now an Adjunct Faculty member at Henry Ford Community College, U of M-Dearborn and OCC. Edi is a Founder and Past President of the MSU Herp Club, a Life Long member of the Girl Scouts and a member of the Graduate Women in Science.
The 2011 Chinquapin Award Winner is Jimmy Kipps. Jimmy graduated from Royal Oak High last June. He has had a lifelong interest in insects and is now attending Oakland Community College and plans on transferring to Michigan State for their entomology program. Jimmy has been a great help to the Royal Oak Nature Society. Since 2008, he has run the afternoon pond life program at our May Open Houses in Tenhave Woods. He often joins our naturalists in helping in their pond life programs. Jimmy has an insect display which he brought to our School Nature Night programs for several years. He is the keeper of the Nature Societies insect collection. He helped us last spring when we put on a pond life program for 75 children from Adams school. Without his help we would not have been able to offer that program to that many children. Last summer with Jimmy’s help, we experimented with a night insect program in Tenhave Woods. Jimmy was involved in Boy Scout and became an Eagle Scout after doing his Eagle project in Tenhave Woods. Under his direction the Scout and Swamp Trails were re lined and improved. He was also to put up tree identification tags. These have been very popular with the public. The tree ID program has been expanded and now is an ongoing program of the Nature Society in both nature parks and the Arboretum.