(with thanks to Mary Vandenhoff, Don Johnson & Jean Macpherson)
It’s rare to find a gentle soul who was as quiet, determined, smiling, capable, and successful as the late Mike Macpherson. Mike could be defined as the consummate volunteer that any organization would be honoured to have on its roster. It’s little wonder that the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust has chosen to dedicate the 2022 Birdhouse Bonanza Auction to his considerable memory.
Mike was a founding member of the Land Trust board in 2003, supporting a favourite cause of preserving properties for posterity. Since that time, he has worked tirelessly to enhance many of the sites nature lovers can now enjoy. Whether it was fund raising, clearing brush, digging fence post holes or negotiating with authorities, Mike handled each task with a strong back and good humour. Even a rainy day would be declared a Silver Day, in Mike’s inimitable style.
He never backed down from a challenge when he knew the outcome would be worthwhile. He was instrumental in the innumerable City of Ottawa meetings to save the Carp Hills Easement, and not conceding defeat, went on to reach an agreement with the land owner himself. Today the Carp Hills area has been preserved largely through his initial efforts.
Mike had a hand in many of the Land Trust acquisitions, but none was as special to him as High Lonesome Nature Reserve near Pakenham. Recognizing that visitors needed a meeting place, he organized a volunteer group to convert an old garage to a Welcome Centre, a cheerful introduction to the trail system and the features of High Lonesome. He would be enthused to know the proceeds of the auction are going to enhance that venue.
The MMLT was fortunate to have Mike’s expertise with tools and talk, both valuable assets to their organization for the many years he served as a key mover and shaker. He will be remembered for all his endeavours. His happiest times were spent wilderness camping with some of his family and friends, or leading groups of enthusiastic hikers along the trails, noting points of interest, butterflies, birds, whatever had caught his eye. Stopping at his memorial bench by the Beaver Pond, visitors should take a moment to thank Mike for his constant dedication that has made it possible for so many others to enjoy his vision.