Alice Margaret Craig...honored with the James Waight Award for her work as a founding director of the Belize Audubon Society and so much more...
Alice M. (Meg) Craig, sister of Lydia Waight, is a founding member of the Belize Audubon Society. She served on the BAS Board of Directors as Vice President from 1970 to 1987 and as a member of the Cockscomb and Education Committees.
In the early years of BAS, Meg was very active in all of the Society’s outdoor activities and programs. She participated in all the Society’s field trips to protected areas, even before they were officially declared protected areas. Meg was chief recorder for all these trips.
After the Sunday Field trips, she meticulously catalogued all the birds, flowering plants and mammals seen and sent her report over to Ms. Lydia early the following morning.
She, along with other founding members, visited Half Moon Caye as early as 1969 and helped to pave the way for the declaration of this beautiful island Belize’s first Protected Area. “It all started with the Boobies!”
Meg also attended all the Christmas Bird counts, year after year, working the Belize Rural Area with Fr. Dieckman. When the Belmopan Bird Count started in 1975, Meg was a diligent participant until the mid-1990s.
But Meg’s involvement with BAS was only a part of the volume of work she has done to preserve her beloved Belize’s environment, natural history, and culture. While the history of the very early inhabitants of Belize was well documented, Meg researched tirelessly to fill the information void of the culture of the early settlement. One of her many treasures is her priceless and immaculately curated photo collection from that period of our nation’s history.
Her special interest in and self-taught knowledge of botany was instrumental in providing information for students and researchers. For many years her prodigious Natural History knowledge guided the Belize Advisory Board to create beautiful Belizean stamps that have helped to put Belize on the philatelic map of the world.
Visitors to the Museum of Belize marvel at Meg’s collections, which include stamps, coins, butterflies, old bottles and cultural items and many themed displays including Hurricanes and Belize’s great fires.
Realizing the need to preserve and share our rich Belizean folklore, Meg, in 1991, authored “Characters and Caricatures of Belizean Folklore” a widely distributed booklet now in its third edition.
In 2006 her lifelong work was acknowledged by the Government of Belize when she was awarded with The Order of Belize. As she was introduced on that night, she was referred to as “a collector of all things Belizean” and “a Belizean patriot in the truest sense” and she was asked to receive the award on behalf of a grateful nation.
Meg is now 93 years old. Her legs can no longer easily jump into small skiffs and climb into the backs of pickup trucks. Nor are her eyes sharp enough to spot the intricate colors on the wings of a Cinnamon Hummingbird in flight. But her love of country has not faltered; her interest in every aspect of nature has not waned. The windows she sits and looks through have become her panorama and she relishes every glimpse of every piece of flora or fauna that passes by – a a grey, bushy tailed squirrel, a couple of noisy parrots feasting on almonds, the bright neon green of an iguana, or the outspread wings of a majestic frigate bird.
Today the Belize Audubon Society, whom she has served so well for so long, honors her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She is not able to be here to receive this honor, but her family is, and we receive it with pride and with her fervent hope that others in the BAS will continue her long-standing commitment to her beloved Belize.
Important to note that a few other BAS Founding Members are also being honored today.
(via: Dave Craig)