It is with a sad heart that we announce the passing of Eric Arnold Machell on Sunday, July 31, 2016. As co-founder, bander, board member and mentor, Eric made a significant contribution to the birth, growth, and development of PEPtBO.
In 1995, when Brian Joyce sent out a call for an experienced, licensed bander who would be willing to work with him in setting up a banding station at a remote location in Prince Edward County, Eric responded. From 1995 to 2000 he spent six or seven weeks every spring at Prince Edward Point setting up and running the station (sometimes single-handedly), training volunteers, collecting and recording data – all in very primitive and less-than-ideal circumstances.
He was on the Board of Directors of PEPtBO (as President, Vice-president and Past President) from its incorporation in 1999 to 2012, and played a significant role in determining the strategic goals and initiatives of PEPtBO as it grew over the years.
Under his leadership, the VanCott cottage was transformed into a suitable residence for a bander-in-charge and one or two assistants, a derelict storage shed became a banding lab, the Baillie Birdathon became an annual event, and PEPtBO became a member of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network.
Eric was instrumental in the hiring of full-time Station Manager, David Okines, and was a strong supporter of David and the many initiatives and innovations he introduced to PEPtBO. He continued to keep his hand in as a bander offering his services as a “substitute” bander up until 2012.
Over the years, Eric was also a keen participant in the Baillie Birdathon raising the profile of the event and funds for the observatory. He and his teammates, the Laphroaig Vultures, were unbeatable.
Without a doubt, Eric’s contribution to PEPtBO was exceptional. He will be missed.