Alouette Field Naturalists founder passes away

Wilma Robinson founded the Alouette Field Naturalists with her son Steve. She passed away at the age of 89 on Dec. 18.  - The News/Files
Wilma Robinson founded the Alouette Field Naturalists with her son Steve. She passed away at the age of 89 on Dec. 18.
— image credit: The News/Files

From her perch atop a rocky outcrop in the Pitt Polder, Wilma Robinson could look out at the world she grew up in.

Her home on Sheridan Hill, surrounded land owned by her pioneering family, offered a view like none other, allowing her to savour the wildlife she loved.

Robinson died Dec. 18 at the age of 89.

Born into the Menzies family, Wilma married George Robinson of Ruskin. The couple moved to Portage La Prairie during the war, but eventually returned to Maple Ridge to farm.

In 1960, Wilma moved back to her family's property on Menzies Hill, since renamed Sheridan Hill, where she watched the habitat of Sandhill Cranes slowly being encroached on.

That prompted Wilma and her son Steve to form the Alouette Field Naturalist Society in 1972, a group that continues to be a vocal champion of the environment and wildlife.

She eventually donated a portion of her family's property to the City of Pitt Meadows to be aside as wildlife habitat.

Wilma also took part in the Audobon Society's Christmas Bird Count, tallying birds around her home in Pitt Meadows every December until she got too weak to stroll the dikes.

An avid birder himself, MLA Michael Sather met Robinson in 1985 when he moved to Maple Ridge and got involved with the Alouette Field Naturalists.

"It's been a wonderful knowing her that length of time. She has been such a strong defender of wildlife and conservation," he said.

"She had a very strong love for nature."

• A celebration of life will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 88 in Maple Ridge.

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