Ours is a hard-working bunch. At the same time, we like to have a good laugh. In that regard Pam Lengyel is probably the quintessential BWS board member. Pam works as hard as anyone and she is never lacking for comments, jokes or stories that make us laugh. A lot! And, oh, those stories!
As a young woman of nineteen, Pam booked passage on a freighter bound for Capetown, South Africa. At the end of her trip, the day before she was to board a plane to return to Canada, she took a bus to a big game park. She was turned away from entering the park as she didn’t have a car. Apparently, you can’t just stroll around a big game park. Something to do with hungry lions and ornery elephants. Disappointed, she began walking back towards town, hoping to hitch a ride. It didn’t occur to her that she was walking through the same terrain populated by those same lions and elephants but just outside the park boundaries. The animals, of course, weren’t aware of park boundaries. According to Pam, she didn’t see any wildlife before she was able to catch a ride. But happily, for us, she wasn’t mauled or eaten.
She must have found the ocean voyage appealing because she ended up spending nine years in the Canadian Coast Guard as a Navigation Officer. One can imagine her entertaining the crew on the bridge with her insightful wisecracks and travelogue tales.
After leaving the Coast Guard, she studied horticulture (a rather abrupt change of course, career-wise) and eventually ended up in Fanny Bay. Since moving here, she has been involved in just about every possible activity in our small community. She has worked with the Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society, the Roy Creek Hatchery, and the Fat Oyster book series. She helped create, and helps maintain, the Spirit Grove Garden at the Hall. She works the door at almost every Hall event. She regularly monitors for European Green Crabs (an invasive species) in our little bay. But most importantly, for us, is her impressive and vital work with BWS. She is the BWS treasurer and helped us navigate the crazy amount of bureaucracy needed to achieve charitable status. She has been instrumental in developing our five-year plan, another step towards financial responsibility. She runs the South Pod stream sampling program (6 streams from the Tsable River to Mud Bay Creek), she is second-in-command of the Refundables Program, the major BWS revenue stream, and she is a valued member of too many committees to count. Some say that without her, BWS wouldn’t exist. It is certainly true to say that without her we would be a much lesser organization.
And as if all that weren’t enough, she’s a constant source of entertainment!