A Gift in Memory of her Father 

Armstrong woman donates to BCWF on Father’s Day to honour Chip Sidney 

Lifelong biologist and outdoors woman Marge Sidney is making Father’s Day extra special this year with a generous gift to the B.C. Wildlife Federation in honour of her dad, Gordon “Chip” Sidney. 

“I had such a lucky childhood. My dad loves the outdoors,” said Marge. “We would go hiking and on horseback rides in the summertime, and pack trips camping with the horses for days in the wilderness.”  

“Our family never went on big fancy trips,” she said. “We would do things locally, because when you have a farm, you can’t go too far away.” 

Marge’s grandparents were homesteaders in Spallumcheen and when Chip took over the farm he expanded it to 630 acres, “but half of it was virgin timber, because he didn’t want it logged.” 

“When we were out on our trips, whether it be hiking or on horses, he was very knowledgeable out in the bush, he didn’t use maps, he had this uncanny sense of direction,” she recalled. “He would often take people into the bush to show him to show them special sites, the view, or this little waterfall or alpine lake. He loved to show off British Columbia.” 

Chip and Marge would take hikes together with the family dog and cat tagging along. 

‘He took me on a walk to a cedar forest, maybe two miles round trip, to show me the Calypso bulbosa, the lady slippers,” she said. “He’d say ‘Don’t pick them, just enjoy them as they are.’ He just wanted to share the outdoors and that’s how I got my love for nature at a very early age.” 

Chip was an enterprising man. In 1967 he dreamed up his own Centennial project to mark Canada’s 100th birthday. 

“He drove the bulldozer from our farm on all the back roads and it was probably five or six miles to the base of Mount Rose-Swanson,” she recalled. “He took it upon himself to build a trail up to a viewpoint that overlooked Armstrong, then he took 300 people to that viewpoint to celebrate.” 

He served his community as a public works foreman and even did a stint at mayor of Spallumcheen. 

Chip encouraged Marge to pursue her dream of working outdoors and with animals, which started her on the path to becoming a government biologist. She attended the Fish and Wildlife Program at BCIT. 

“Well, once I did that, that’s where the doors opened up for me and started me on my career,” she said. “He didn’t want me to stay on the farm, he wanted me to have an education, a steady income, and follow my dream.” 

Today, Marge serves as a director of the Armstrong Wetlands Association, president of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Trails Society, and on the board of the Garden Lake Stewardship Society and the B.C. Lake Stewardship Society. 

She endured some hard knocks as a woman in a man’s job, including men who told her she had no place working in the field. But Chip made sure she could succeed in the backcountry. 

“I remember coming home and asking my dad to teach me how to use the compass, because they had sent me out without proper gear,” she said. “Once I proved myself, I had guys tell me they were happy to work with me and that made me feel really good.” 

As Marge has accumulated a comfortable nest egg over the years, she wanted to honour Chip’s memory with a gift that would benefit the environment, which he loved so much. Chip passed away in 1983, but his influence is still felt today. 

“My family goes back over 100 years here and I want to give back to my community,” she said. 

She chose to donate to the B.C. Wildlife Federation knowing that some of that money would flow back to her community and benefit habitat restoration and environmental projects all over B.C. 

“The environment has always been foremost in my life. After a career with the province, the federal government, and consulting, I’ve probably put close to 45 years towards the environment, and I want to keep doing things for the environment,” she said. 


The B.C. Wildlife Federation is a registered charity. There are multiple ways you can contribute to the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s many conservation programs and initiatives throughout the province. Together we can conserve and protect B.C,’s fish, wildlife and habitat for present and future generations.  

To donate in the name of your loved one, such as a parent who set you on a path into the outdoors, go to our donation page and make a gift in their honour or their memory. If you choose to notify the recipient of this gift, we will send a card letting them know that a donation has been made on their behalf.  

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