Suellen Murray Educational Bursary
Suellen Murray, BPR, LLB, loved the Halifax Public Gardens and walked through on her way to work in the Department of Health each day. It had particular meaning and joy for her during the three years after her diagnosis of a brain tumour.
In 2014, Dr T.J. (Jock) and Janet Murray, Suellen’s parents, and her husband, Byron Rafuse, established a bursary to recognise her love of the Gardens and to encourage and support educational activities related to this very special space in our city.
Bursary: $1,000 awarded annually.
How to donate to the Suellen Murray Educational Bursary
Many of Suellen’s friends and colleagues have already contributed to the fund. The general public is also invited to make a donation. An income tax receipt will be issued. Funds are invested by The Friends of The Public Gardens.
or send donation to:
Suellen Murray Educational Bursary
Box 36013, 5665 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, NS. B3J 3S9
To Apply For The Bursary:
Download the application form here (pdf)
Please follow the guidelines for submission and deadlines as noted.
All submissions will be reviewed and a final decision made by the Bursary Committee
(a sub-committee of the Board, The Friends of The Public Gardens) and the Murray family.
2019 Bursary Award Recipient
Julietta Sorensen Kass, a Masters candidate, Resource and Environmental Management, Dalhousie University, is this year’s Bursary recipient. Her project
Text-A-Tree, one part public engagement, one part academic study, is designed to connect people with nature in cities, testing how technology can help. Fifteen trees in the Gardens were selected for the project; four for their historical connection to the Mi’Kmaq people
and four for their cultural significance to Japan.
Starting with an official event on July 7th, 2019, visitors to the Public Gardens will be invited to converse with nature in a novel way - by texting some of the trees and receiving a unique reply. In addition to the ‘conversational trees’, participants can text their wishes to the beautiful Japanese Katsura tree, an activity honouring Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
Kass states “The results of the activity/study will teach us about public
engagement strategies and could help make decisions about urban forests”.
Once complete, the findings from the Text-a-Tree project will become an
academic paper for Kass, and will be shared with the public through the Friends
of the Public Gardens.
“It isn’t getting back to nature, it’s realizing we never left!!”
For further information on the project visit: www.halifaxtreeproject.com/textatree;
engage online by using the hashtag #TextATreeHalifax; follow @textatreehalifax
on Facebook and Instagram.
2018 Bursary Award Recipient
The recipient of the 2018 Suellen Murray Educational Bursary is Dr. Jonathan Fowler.
Dr. Fowler, an archaeologist at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, is well known for his historical archaeological work, especially over the past number of years at Grand Pre in the Annapolis Valley. His bursary project Public Gardens Archaeological Survey will use geophysical survey methods to detect and map the ruins of a rink operated in the Gardens ca. 1860 – 1890.
Dr. Fowler wrote in his proposal “this structure is said to have been the first covered skating rink in what would become Canada, and constitutes a significant and understudied heritage resource in the Public Gardens”.
Dr. Fowler will conduct his on-site research over in the summer. Once complete, the surveyed map of the old rink’s foundations will be available to the Friends of the Public Gardens, to HRM, and to the Province of NS.
Donate so the Suellen Murray Educational Bursary will continue to support projects which benefit the Public Gardens, as well as the young professionals, students and citizens who receive it.
2017 Bursary Award Recipient
The recipient of the 2017 Suellen Murray Education Bursary was Dr. Claire Halstead.
Dr. Halstead is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a PhD in History. The Bursary Selection Committee was intrigued with her proposal entitled “150 Years as the Heart of Halifax: A Study on Public Engagement and the Halifax Public Gardens” and especially its relevance to the Gardens in its 150th anniversary year. People were asked to share stories, memories and photographs with her in multiple ways over the summer of 2017. Many of you may have seen the clothesline strung across the inside of Horticultural Hall. People of all ages took advantage of this particular method to write and share precious memories and reflections on the Gardens and the impact it had on their lives.
From those shared stories and archival research, Claire has produced an interesting, insightful report which will be shared with Friends and the general public in the new year.
2016 – No Bursary Awarded
2015 – Bursary Award Recipient
The first recipient of the Suellen Murray Educational Bursary was Amy Soosaar-Joseph.
Amy is a municipal gardener who oversees the dahlia beds in the Public Gardens and leads the organization of the annual Dahlia Day. The bursary helped her travel to the American Dahlia Society Centennial Show in New York. Amy took several specimens of dahlias from the Gardens with her and returned with multiple blue ribbons!! Awards included:
“Best Waterlily” for the Hollyhill Blackwidow in the new grower category;
Five Dahlias won first place in the open competition for all of North America: Hollyhill Blackwidow, Cornel, Ivanetti, Tiny Treasure and Camano Puff.
The Story behind the Blue Heron logo
One morning, Suellen was walking through the Halifax Public Gardens on her way to work. She stopped at the pond, and noticed that a Great Blue Heron was resting on the island in the pond. This was quite an unusual sight, so she took a picture and
sent it around to family and friends.
On August 26, 2015, the first bursary was awarded during the 5th annual Dahlia Day celebrations. In announcing the winner of the bursary, Suellen’s mother, Janet Murray, mentioned the incident of the Great Blue Heron. The head gardener then rose to say that the heron had returned to the Gardens that very day. The heron has taken on a special meaning for Suellen’s family and friends, and has been chosen as the logo for the bursary.