If nobody bothered to donate, there wouldn’t be a Knowledge. I feel some responsibility towards it, to keep it going.

Elements from nature grace the pottery made by Patricia, a longtime Knowledge Partner. Etched into the sides of a jade green vase are the delicate trace-work patterns of savoy cabbage leaves. On another, the strong lines of a viburnum.

“I just love how the leaves look, the incredible intricacy of them,” says Patricia, a founding member of the Semiahmoo Potter’s Club. Pottery is just one of Patricia’s many interests. She belongs to a book club, “The Book Bunch”, which has been meeting for 18 years. Music and the arts also fill her life with meaning, as does her volunteer work for the Surrey/White Rock Bursary Foundation, which awards educational bursaries to young women in need.

A newfound passion is the Scrabble app on her iPad – Patricia plays it online with three friends, eagerly awaiting their latest moves. “I’m a bit addicted,” she confesses with a grin. Her latest high-scoring word? Mirth – 42 points.

Patricia finds her iPad handy for looking up reviews and author profiles for her book club, as well as connecting with friends and colleagues. She also likes to check the online schedule on to plan her evening viewing. And with the website now optimized for the iPad, Patricia can use it to watch programs that she missed on TV. Lately she’s been watching 12 Takes, Knowledge’s collection of short films about BC artists. “They’re really well done, and because each is only a couple minutes long, I can watch them while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil!”

Things were a lot different when Patricia first became a Knowledge Partner in 1988, when the donor program had just begun. The Internet was in its infancy and Knowledge Network was one of only a few dozen channels. At the time, Patricia was working as a molecular biologist in Pat McGeer’s lab at UBC. (She later went on to work with Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith for 21 years.) Pat McGeer, of course, was instrumental in establishing the fledgling network.

Patricia recalls that it was Pat who got her and her late husband, Walter, watching Knowledge. They soon realized how wonderful – and unique – the programming is. It’s the reason she continues to donate, on both a monthly basis and by leaving a bequest in her will.

“I’ve enjoyed so many programs over so many years, and I want it to go on,” she says. “If nobody bothered to donate, there wouldn’t be a Knowledge. I feel some responsibility towards it, to keep it going.”

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