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Priestly, Isabel M. (1893–1946)

Isabel Priestly.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A25740

Isabel M. (née Adnams) Priestly was born on July 25, 1893, near Newbury, Berkshire, England. An avid botanist, she gave up advanced studies, married a Canadian soldier, Robert J. Priestly, and came with him to Canada. Active in natural history groups in Calgary and Victoria, she developed an interest in Birds in Winnipeg. On moving to Yorkton, she led nature walks, reported sightings in a weekly nature column in the Yorkton Enterprise , and made botanical collections. She and her group of enthusiasts compiled a list of birds of the Yorkton area, which created interest provincewide. This led to formation of the Yorkton Natural History Society (of which she was president) and to the publication of the quarterly Blue Jay (of which she was editor). She encouraged reports from amateurs and professionals alike, with a steady rise in membership and recognition across the continent. She died unexpectedly in Yorkton on April 23, 1946. Cliff Shaw edited the Blue Jay until 1948, when a provincewide society, the Saskatchewan Natural History Society, was formed to carry on the work she had begun.

Mary I. Houston

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Further Reading

Belcher, M. 1996. The Isabel Priestly Legacy: Saskatchewan Natural History Society, 1949–1990. Regina: Saskatchewan Natural History Society.
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