Iris Griffiths Interpretive Centre and the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation are two local organizations benefitting from Dr. Lois Kennedy's lifetime love of the outdoors. Each entity, along with three other charities in the Lower Mainland, will receive $100,000 from her estate.
Kennedy, who died on April 3 this year, was an avid environmentalist years before the rest of society.
Her sister, Lynn Springle recalled Kennedy's passion really came to the forefront in university. While at the University of Manitoba, Kennedy studied the effect of acid rain in Northern Ontario. Long before others sounded the alert, she was crusading for changes in Canada's environmental policies.
She brought her concern with her to B.C. when she moved here 25 years ago.
On Gambier Island Kennedy and husband, Desmond, were instrumental in working with the Gambier Island Conservancy restoring the salmon habitat of the streams. Her work didn't make her popular with everyone though.
"(Kennedy) would go in where people hadn't been yet. If it meant stepping on people's toes or feet or heads then that's the way it was," her sister said.
Dr. Michael Jackson of the Iris Griffiths Centre was a colleague of Kennedy's.
"(Kennedy) was an amazing woman. We worked together on a number of projects. She was always incredibly supportive. She always had a smile on her face, and she was just so incredibly well informed. She was great to have on your side; she was a very clever lady. She stood up for what she believed in and she really was a force to be reckoned with," Jackson remembered.
This donation to the Foundation is the largest made by an individual to the community group. As per her wishes, the gift will go to the Environmental Legacy, said Don Basham, Foundation secretary.
Kennedy's association with the Community Foundation came about through the granting committee. She would help the committee decide whom to give environmental grants to. In 2006 she was part of the Water Summit, a joint project of the Foundation and the Lagoon Society that began her friendship with Jackson.
He plans to commemorate his friend on a legacy wall to be opened at the centre.
Another passion of Kennedy's was education.
"What she really loved about Iris Griffiths (Centre) was the education component," Jackson said.
He is pleased that through the late scientist's generosity the centre will be able to support not only his organization but salmon enhancement on the Coast and other environmental causes on the Coast.
Kennedy's death has left a large hole in the lives of her family and friends.
"We will all miss Lois. Her memory lives on and the work will go on. She was just a great human being," Jackson said.