Glenn Ryder

Glenn Ryder

Glenn Ryder: extraordinary naturalist celebrated

Ryder, who died at his Aldergrove home 2013, was renowned far and wide as a keen and keen-eyed observer of wildlife for all of his 75 years

Naturalists and environmentalists will be gathering at Campbell Valley Regional Park this Sunday to commemorate the late Glenn Roderick Ryder.

Ryder, who died at his Aldergrove home a year and a half ago, was renowned far and wide as a keen and keen-eyed observer of wildlife for all of his 75 years. Perhaps most important of all, he kept exhaustive journals of his observations. These records along with his drawings and paintings are considered the best and most complete of their type.

In tribute to Ryder, two old associates, Wayne Campbell and Phillip Henderson recently wrote a book titled “An Old-School Naturalist: Glenn Roderick Ryder (1938-2013).” Published by the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies, it is a special edition of its biannual publication, Wildlife Afield (copies are available via their website, and will also be available for purchase at the tribute April 19).

The book tells of Ryder’s difficult childhood as an orphan, who to escape the harsh realities of those hard years would go on long hikes in the woods and mountains. This love affair with nature would last throughout his 75 years in this world.

In those years he recorded many “firsts” and as the years went by became well-known and respected for his abilities. He was always helpful and creative in devising means for fellow researchers to see and photograph animals in their natural habitat.

He was a key member of Langley Field Naturalists and Central Valley Naturalists, and was a key resource for Langley Environmental Partners Society and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.

Ryder also built trails, such as Ryder Trail (commonly called the Sumas Grind by fitness buffs today) on Sumas Mountain, for his outings, and as he wished, his ashes were spread on his favorite perch on Cougar Bluff on Sumas Mountain after he passed away at Lion’s Grove Estates in Aldergrove on Oct. 2, 2013.

Campbell and Henderson are hosting the Glenn Ryder memorial on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Rowlatt Farmstead in Campbell Valley Regional Park in south Langley. Many of Ryder’s old friends are expected to join in and there is an open invitation for the public to drop in.

“Wayne (Campbell) was a friend of Glenn’s for 49 years and helped him throughout this period to to allow Glenn to carry on with his naturalist endeavors,” said Henderson. “I knew Glenn and accompanied him on many outings over the last 14 years of his life, but like many people in the biology and natural history world knew of him long before this.

“Wayne and I worked on this (book) over the last year because we wanted to see Glenn’s legacy live on and to see that he receives the recognition he deserves as a remarkable individual and one of the greatest naturalists, anywhere.”

Campbell is a co-founder of the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies and lead author of the four-volume Birds of B.C. books.

Henderson is a Fort Langley-based wildlife biologist and consultant and founder of Strix Environmental Consulting.

PHOTO: Glenn Ryder at work on one of his wildlife illustrations at his Aldergrove residence.