Each year a nationwide search unveils some of the most extraordinary volunteers within the Audubon Community. Just this month, nominated by their peers at Manatee County Audubon Society, Bob and Nancy Dean were flown to Seattle, Washington to be honored at the National Audubon board meeting with the Charles H. Callison volunteer of the year award.
Charles H. Callison served with National Audubon Society from 1960 to 1977. An eminent conservationist, he was instrumental in Audubon’s fight to pass the Wilderness Act of 1964, including the Clean Air and Water acts, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. A firm believer in the strength of the grassroots, he expanded the reach of Audubon by chartering and supporting hundreds of new chapters nationwide. To receive an award in his name is one of the greatest honors in the conservation community.
Bob and Nancy Dean have been a critical component of their chapter for the past 27 years. While avoiding the traditional roles their leadership was nonetheless ever present. Their boots have left many a footprint at the Felts Preserve where they played a significant role on the Sanctuary’s restoration team. Their annual offering of “Beginning Birding” classes has fledged close to 400 birders over the past 12 years. Most recently they were tireless advocates when construction of a convention center and hotel threatened an important mangrove rookery that provides habitat for a wide variety of waterbirds on Sarasota Bay. In their free time they have created a digital library through the Chapter website that has become a valuable avian resource accessible to all.
Bob and Nancy are also passionate birders with over 4100 species on their global “life” list. Bob often remarks, their “mutual passion for birding has been the glue for their marriage”. This passion along with their professional work lives has provided a solid foundation from which they contributed future conservation initiatives while enhancing existing programs.
Congratulations to Bob and Nancy Dean for following in the footsteps of Charles H. Callison and to Manatee Audubon for taking time to recognize the stars in their midst.