Diane Griffin is a rare species.
That fact was recognized as friends and colleagues celebrated Griffin during a recent roast at the Tourism and Culinary Centre held to recognize her lifelong contributions towards conserving natural species on the Island.
Griffin’s departure from her post as P.E.I. program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada next month will be her third retirement, albeit the first with the NCC.
“Oh my gosh, it’s great, I’m just amazed at who’s all here,” said Griffin, speaking in a packed Montgomery Cafeteria.
The large and boisterous crowd was no surprise given the number of individuals Griffin has met over her career with the NCC and previous work as deputy minister of environment for the province. Griffin is also an elected member of the Town of Stratford municipal council.
Griffin first became involved with the NCC in 1999 as a volunteer. As program manager for the past four years, Griffin has been in charge of identifying key areas for habitat protection and helping secure them.
Some of the NCC’s conservation successes with Griffin include Basin Head, Greenwich Dunes, Conway Sandhills, Abrams Village, St. Peters Lake Run and Harbour and Reynolds Island.
Two projects that remain close to Griffin’s heart are Boughton Island and Governors Island.
“Those were properties that we looked at for many years,” said Griffin. “The circumstances just had to be correct, right place, right time, willing sellers and a willing buyer, namely the Nature Conservancy.”
The dedicated work ethic of Griffin is seen simply in the fact she’s still aiming to close on four other properties before officially retiring next month.
Griffin said she’s enjoyed befriending and working with the staff, directors and volunteers of the NCC from all over the country.
“It’s a very positive group,” she said.
It’s clear others in the NCC also shared those positive feelings towards Griffin.
In his roast, Michael Bradstreet, vice-president of conservation at the NCC, described Griffin as fun-loving, smart, co-operative, successful, gentle and determined.
“Diane is indeed a rare species … as she retires from the working world again, I am certain she’ll continue to volunteer her time, aplomb and skills to helping Islanders raise money and acquire even more land for nature and generations of Islanders to enjoy,” he said. “P.E.I., you are lucky to call Diane one of your own.”
While Griffin will be stepping down from her post before the new year, don’t expect the dedicated conservationist to leave the NCC altogether.
“My plans are to remain a volunteer,” she said.
“I’m going to be like Catherine Hennessey, I may be retiring but I’m not quitting.”