South Florida Audubon Society

photo credit: Christine Myers

Nancy Boyle 

Our former Webmaster/Editor passed away on October 3, 2015, after a long illness.  Despite her adversities, Nancy was a driving force behind the scenes, helping us with continuous improvements to our communications and being a staunch supporter of and advocate for our Project Perch and Eagle Watch programs.

"Nancy was very passionate about all the conservation, outreach, and education efforts that we are involved with.  She was a perfectionist and always wanted to ensure that we were given credit for what we do, locally and regionally.  Nancy was a good coach and adviser to me and never hesitated to offer her opinion.  She also mentored student interns who contributed to our Website and helped with social media.  Our current Webmaster/Editor, Christine Myers, was mentored by Nancy as she transitioned her duties when she felt she could no longer help us on a regular basis.  I already miss my talks with Nancy.  The last few months were not only difficult for her, but for her husband, Andrew, who always stood by and for her.  I have lost a good friend," said Doug Young, President, South Florida Audubon Society.

Nancy, you will always be remembered for what you did for us even during difficult times for you.  May you rest in peace.

South Florida Audubon Society will plant a tree in memory of Nancy and her contributions to the organization.

Miriam Dormont
by Nancy Boyle, Web Designer and Editor for South Florida Audubon Society (SFAS)

In February of 2014 we were contacted by former President of our Audubon Chapter, Angela Pinter, regarding a memorial service planned for two previous members, John Judy and Angela Wagner. They were active back when our Chapter was known as "Broward Audubon Society." None of us were able to attend due to a scheduling conflict with the Water Matters Day Event where SFAS had a booth and needed available SFAS manpower to assist. However, Doug Young, current President suggested a tribute on the website. As I gathered preliminary information for our Calendar of Events I realized that both individuals had led quite remarkable and inspiring lives, and I decided to assign Alicia Caraballo, our 22 year old intern to write an article on one or both of them.

Admittedly, this was an unexpected assignment for a 22 year old. However, Alicia rose to the occasion and wrote these comments upon completion of her article., "Hopefully, this article will do her (Miriam Wagner's) memory justice. Thanks for assigning this article, I learned so much."

Below is the preliminary information we received on Miriam.  Alicia's article is at the bottom.

Miriam Dormont, 90, of Pompano Beach, FL, died peacefully at home on November 4, 2013. Born in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, she married international airline pilot George H. Wagner in 1947 and traveled widely throughout her life. She raised three children in Lima, Peru and Quito, Ecuador, before settling in Pompano Beach in 1967. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College (class of 1944), she remained a lifelong learner, taking marine biology and nature classes through the Broward Adult Education service, and—for over 10 years a much-loved advanced French class. Miriam was a tireless volunteer, serving on the board of the local Audubon society where she was a member for over 40 years, and receiving the Alumnae Medal of Honor from Mount Holyoke in 1999 for Eminent Services” to the college.

Miriam Wagner
by Alicia Caraballo

Few of us can say we know someone who’s had a life-long commitment to worthy causes. The South Florida Audubon Society was lucky enough to have a Board of Directors member who contributed most of her life to the improvement of our local birding community. We recently lost Miriam Wagner to cancer, but her memory and contributions will always be with us.

Miriam was introduced to nature at an early age. As a young girl, she was born and raised in Brooklyn, but would spend summers in a family cottage in the Adirondack Mountains. Her older brothers would take her canoeing and hiking, which is how she became fascinated with birds. After college, Miriam took jobs in the city and even worked at the New York Automobile Club. After a short stint as a kindergarten teacher, she got married and devoted her life to her family.

Being married to a husband who spent most of his time in flight was a challenge for Miriam, but she kept her head held high and put her natural independence to good use. Miriam, her husband, and first-born daughter moved to South America in the early 40s, where Miriam instilled a love for nature in her daughters, as well as a love for words and books.

Throughout her life, Miriam spent much of her time travelling the world. She flew to more countries than most of us ever will, spanning every continent. However, no matter where Miriam spent her time, she made sure to find a place to admire birds. When she later moved the family to Florida, Miriam enjoyed birding at Loxahatchee, Ding Darling, Green Cay in Boynton, and the Withlacoochee River.

Miriam devoted her life to more than birds. Adventure was something she cherished, and her life never lacked it. She fought a small bull in Ecuador, caught salmon in British Columbia, snorkeled in Polynesia, biked in France, and traveled by narrow boat in England. Her daughter, Anne, notes that her mother was a life-long learner, who was still taking advanced French classes at the time of her passing. Miriam also knew how to work a computer; “Not bad for someone born in the 1920s, when telephones weren’t common in households,” says Anne, whose fondest memories of her mother include hiking in England and France. “Nothing kept her down. She hiked with us barely a month after she'd had a mastectomy and her first round of chemotherapy, when she was in her mid-eighties.”

Friends were held onto for life. Miriam and her oldest friend met each other as babies in carriages. She was a well-loved woman who accomplished many things, including formal awards. While working at Insight for the Blind, Miriam spent thousands of hours volunteering her voice to recording books and magazines. She was nominated for the Alezander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award, and the staff referred to her as the “Stunt Reader” for her ability to pronounce difficult technical terms and foreign words. Mount Holyoke College awarded her the Alumnae Medal of Honor for her "noteworthy services" to the college.

The Audubon recently planted a fruit tree in memory of Miriam and her contributions to the South Florida chapter. Known for always approaching problems or setbacks with, “this too shall pass,” Miriam had many friends and admirers who loved her for her positive attitude, unlimited energy, and naturally friendly nature. She may be gone, but we at the South Florida Audubon Society will never forget her.