1. Home
  2. /
  3. Featured
  4. /
  5. Award-Winning Marcie Jacklin- She...

Award-Winning Marcie Jacklin- She Does It For The Birds

Christine Whelan, FEO March 17, 2022, VOL. 3 ISSUE 15

Fort Erie’s Marcie Jacklin received the 2021 Canadian Wildlife Federation’s (CWF) Stan Hodgkiss Outdoorsperson of the Year Award. This award is presented every year to a Canadian who has demonstrated an enduring commitment to conservation.

Marcie was nominated for the honour by friends and colleagues. “The nomination included five or six amazing letters from people I’ve been associated with, for decades for some.”

It was a wonderful surprise for the avid birder. “I did not know about it at all until I, out of curiosity, decided to search myself on Google one day. And what came up was the proposal for me to win this award! So, I called up my friend and asked, what’s going on? And she said they didn’t want to tell me in case I didn’t win.

“And then remarkably, I think it was the next day, I got the email that I’d won. My friends had kept it secret for months.” She laughed. “You should have heard me screaming. I couldn’t believe I’d won a national award! That was something I never thought I would ever attain. I’m still excited.”

And yet, if one were to look at the list of everything Jacklin has taken on and accomplished, it makes absolute sense. To name a few, she has led Boards of regional conservation organizations. Currently, she is the Niagara Regional Coordinator for the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. She has participated in just about every bird survey there is in Niagara.

When I made this comment to Marcie, her response was, “Ya, but I did it for the birds. I mean, all these counts I do and all the organizing people and taking them out to see the birds, it’s because I want them to know about birds. I just do it for the birds — and I do it for the community.”

Marcie’s Journey To Her Passion For Birding

Marcie’s love for her feathered friends began at her beginning. “When I was a child, my grandparents had a fishing lodge in Parry Sound. So, as a child, I had that wonderful experience of just walking through woods.”

And then as an adult, “I always had a really crumby pair of binoculars in my twenties, and terribly old field guide.” Yes, it was a Peterson. “I remember going out to the east coast, seeing shorebirds and thinking, how do you tell these apart. I had no idea where to start.

“So I went, just randomly in my thirties, to an Ottawa Field Naturalist Club Meeting and I felt like I found — my thing. I was surrounded by all these kindred spirits who knew so much about nature. It was a real epiphany.

“And then I went out on an organized trip and the leader lent me a pair of binoculars. The leader, who just happened to be one of the best in the country, and I are still good friends. It’s not just the birds, it’s the people who understand and see the things that I see about nature.”

Birding has taken her across Canada and abroad.

Jacklin continued, “Once you get passed the identification of the birds and learning the songs, you start to understand the ecosystems that the birds migrate through or breed in and how important they are.”

And this brought us to one of Marcie’s biggest passions these days, Waverly Woods.

Waverly Woods, A Mecca For Birders

Marcie admitted, “Part of the reason I moved here 12 years ago was Waverly Woods. I knew about it. It’s been known for decades as a wonderful place for bird breeding and migration, especially the spring migration. Even when I didn’t live in Fort Erie, I’d come here to bird in the spring because it was so well-known. People from Buffalo come here. It’s a mecca for birders.”

Marcie and several other community members feel that life in and off Waverly Woods is worth fighting for. “I can remember when we first saw the sign.” She was referring to the notification sign of development posted at the entrance of the woods. “It was October 30th. I was with some of my friends. We had gone down to Waverly to bird. And when we saw the sign, we couldn’t talk. We were speechless. We said at that point, we are going to do our best to make sure the birds aren’t harmed. Particularly the migratory birds.

“At that time, I didn’t know much about the history. I knew it was an important, community asset as well. It’s the only urban forest in Fort Erie.” Jacklin then commented on how many reports from credible agencies have stated how important these urban forests are for our wellness.

When I asked Marcie if this hobby turned life purpose has helped her personally, she stated seriously, “I’ve gone through some tough times in my life and I have to say it was birding that saved me, to just go out, and forget about things, absorb nature. Yes, there is no doubt in my mind I would not be as well as I am now without birds.”

As President of Community Voices of Fort Erie, Jacklin leads a residents group opposing the development of Waverly Woods.  A petition with now over 9,000 signatures, among other items, will be presented at an anticipated hearing scheduled on April 25th to discuss the ten-storey condo that is planned to be built in Waverly Woods.

For more information on Facebook and for the petition, search Save Waverly Woods in Fort Erie.

Photo taken by Maria Heatherston – Marcie Jacklin with her award, in the public park next to Waverly Woods

There are no upcoming events at this time.