DAWSON CREEK, BC – A celebration and dedication was held Friday, June 18, to officially name the City’s first community garden after Paul Dampier, Northern Lights College Registrar from 1991 until his death in 2001. The garden is located on the Dawson Creek campus.
The College was joined by several other community groups to officially name and dedicate the garden. Counsellors Calvin Kruk and Marilyn Belak represented the City. Donna Kane, executive director of the NLC Foundation, made the dedication and music was provided by members of the Northern Lights College staff, Howard Mayer, campus principal, Angus MacDonald, facilities manager, Dawson Creek campus and Dan Withrow, also in the Facilities Department, along with friends Dennis Hall, Don Hall and Nolan Anderson.
The Kiwanis Enterprise Centre has taken the leadership role in the management and development of the garden in the last two years. The Centre was represented by Anna Bridges, garden manager, Francis Armstrong, and Doris Brocke. Also attending was the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Caravan from Prince George, which was in Dawson Creek on its tour of HEAL projects around northern BC.
Paul Dampier was a transplant to the region who came here in 1991 with his wife, Judith, and three young daughters, to take the position of College Registrar. He fell in love with the country: the mountains and the prairies, the Peace region and the most northern corners of the province. He spent many summers canoeing its rivers and visiting the small communities throughout the region. He had a special place in his heart for the people in the small isolated towns and villages. Paul was an educator and writer whose interests also included the arts and history. He wrote a history of Northern Lights College, Highways of Learning, published in 2000, as well as And a Million Memories Later: the Camp Elphinstone Story, Courage and Conviction: The YMCA in Vancouver, 1886 – 1986, Called to Serve: the Christian Community of All Saints Anglican Church, Burnaby and The Foundations of Adult Education in Canada.
Dampier established the Northern Lights College Foundation which provides students with financial assistance in the form of awards, scholarships and bursaries every year. Remarkably, Paul was able to attract $1 million in assets to the Foundation, which currently has assets of $1.5 million.
The garden was dedicated with the unveiling of a plaque on a set of carved wooden panels marking the entrance to the garden. The panels, which were designed by Barbara Swail and constructed by Swail and Norman Crampton, are hand carved from 144 board feet of cedar, that, finished, run 24 feet in length and up to 6 feet in height. The project took three months to complete during the summer of 2003.