Mary Jane Dockeray

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Mary Jane Dockeray
BornMarch 8, 1927
Kent County, Michigan
DiedAugust 18, 2020 (aged 93)
Kent County, Michigan
OccupationEnvironmental educator, museum curator

Mary Jane Patricia Dockeray (March 8, 1927 – August 18, 2020) was an American environmental educator, founder of the Blandford Nature Center and Environmental Education Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Dockeray was adopted in infancy by Winfield Clare Dockeray and Mary Ella Nye Dockeray, and raised on their poultry farm in Walker Township, Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in geology in 1949, and a doctorate in environmental education in 1973,[1] with a dissertation titled "The Planning and Development of Blandford Native Center of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Public Museum".[2]

Career[edit]

A wide hiking trail through woods
A public trail at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the early springtime, photographed in 2016

Dockeray was a curator of natural history at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in the 1950s and 1960s.[3][4] She taught summer programs and visited schools to give science presentations.[5] She began developing the Blandford Nature Center with an initial land donation in the 1960s, and the visitor center opened in 1968.[6] She worked at the center until her retirement in 1990, but continued to volunteer at the center after that milestone.[3] She taught at Michigan State University and at Aquinas College,[7] hosted a radio program, Nature Spy, wrote a book, Let’s Go Exploring: Suggestions for Field Trips and Associated Studies in Environmental-Conservation Education,[1] and narrated an educational film, These Things Are Ours (1963).[8][9] Into her eighties, she was still giving geological tours of Grand Rapids.[7][10]

Dockeray served on the executive board of the Michigan Audubon Society, and was recognized by the society with an Outstanding Member Award in 1985.[1] She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2012.[11] The Blandford Nature Center's Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center opened in 2017.[12][13] "If people can become better informed about the natural world around, they’ll take better care and their lives will be richer," she explained of her work.[5]

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Dockeray self-published a memoir, Rock On, Lady: Memoirs of Dr. Mary Jane Dockeray, Geologist Naturalist, in 2014. Her longtime partner, fellow Blandford volunteer Bertrand L. Hewett, died in 2008.[14][15] She died in 2020, aged 93 years.[16] There is a Mary Jane Dockeray Endowment Fund at the Blandford Nature Center,[17] and the Regional Math and Science Center at Grand Valley State University offers a Mary Jane Dockeray Scholarship to Michigan seniors pursuing a college degree in science.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fisher, Jada (2020-08-20). "Grand Rapids community mourns Blandford Nature Center founder, Mary Jane Dockeray". mlive. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Dockeray, Mary Jane Patricia (1973). The Planning and Development of Blandford Native Center of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Public Museum. Michigan State University. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
  3. ^ a b Lewis, Norma; Vries, Jay de (2012). Legendary Locals of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 71, 73. ISBN 978-1-4671-0023-6.
  4. ^ "Bones of Prehistoric Animal Examined". The South Bend Tribune. 1960-12-02. p. 23. Retrieved 2021-01-14 – via Newspapers.com.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b "Mary Jane Dockeray, Naturalist and Environmentalist". Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Founder of GR nature center to celebrate 91st birthday". WXMI. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  7. ^ a b "Her Love of the Natural World Defines Her Life and Her Encore". Encore program, Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Film-Lecture on Wildlife is Scheduled". The Shreveport Journal. 1970-01-12. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-01-14 – via Newspapers.com.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Audubon Society; Last Wildlife Film Sunday". The Decatur Daily Review. 1966-05-06. p. 17. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  10. ^ Diamond, Maura (August 15, 2011). "Rock-Hounds Downtown". The Rapidian. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Several Grand Rapidians honored by Michigan historical societies". The Rapidian. October 27, 2012. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Grand Opening of Blandford's Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center set for Earth Day, April 22". Wyoming / Kentwood Now. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  13. ^ Scott, Monica (2016-02-14). "Grand Rapids Nonprofit Sets Plans for New Visitor Center". Livingston County Daily Press and Argus. pp. A4. Retrieved 2021-01-14 – via Newspapers.com.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Bertand Hewett Obituary & Funeral | Grand Rapids, MI". LifeStory.net. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Shawgo, Kaitlin (2010-05-28). "Blandford Nature Center gets $30,000 boost from estate of devoted volunteer". mlive. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Nelson, Danielle (2020-08-19). "Blandford Nature Center founder Mary Jane Dockeray dies at 93". Grand Rapids Business Journal. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  17. ^ Winters, Scott (August 19, 2020). "Blandford Nature Center Founder Mary Jane Dockery Has Died". Greatest Hits 98.7 WFGR. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Mary Jane Dockeray Scholarship". Regional Math and Science Center, Grand Valley State University. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]