Celebrating Canadian Leaders in Nature Conservation
June 22, 2011 (Winnipeg) -A nine-year-old artist, a celebrated wildlife biologist, a devoted activist and a grassroots naturalist club were named as winners of Nature Canada’s 2011 conservation awards today at the group’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The awards honour individuals or groups for making significant contributions to the preservation and protection of Canada’s wildlife and wild spaces.
Douglas H. Pimlott was a renowned conservationist, wildlife biologist, ecologist and environmentalist. Many consider him to be the founder of the modern environmental movement in Canada. Created over 30 years ago, it is Nature Canada's preeminent award. It is given to an individual whose outstanding contributions to Canadian conservation serve as an example to us all. Recipients of this award join other leading conservationists like Monte Hummel, Robert Bateman, Rosemary Fox, Colin Stewart, and George Archibald.
2011 Award Recipient: Robert Bancroft
Robert Bancroft has devoted his life to teaching, consulting, writing and advocating for Canadian wildlife and the protection of habitats, especially the Acadian forest, making his nomination particularly timely in this International Year of Forests. He has served on the faculty of St. Francis Xavier University, and as Chair of The Nova Forest Alliance and past Chair of Nature Nova Scotia. His expertise has made Bancroft a sought after consultant on fisheries, forestry, wildlife and woodland management. He has worked closely with Mi'kmaq communities, and has been wildlife biologist for Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests. In 2007 Bancroft was named Woodlot Owner of the year for good forest management on his own woodlot property in rural Antigonish county. He writes wildlife related articles for a number of magazines, including Saltscapes, and the Mi'kmaq-Maliseet Nations News, and since 1989, he has been a regular on the CBC Maritime Noon Wildlife call-in show, answering questions about nature. In his spare time, he visits schools and community groups as a volunteer to educate people young and old about creatures and their habitats.
Annie Buckton is a budding artist from Southampton, Ontario. During summers spent at her family’s cottage near Sauble Beach, she developed a love for nature. She became particularly fond of the Piping Plover. Annie would keenly observe the work of a dedicated group of naturalists and bird lovers who would watch over and protect these endangered shorebirds. When Annie found out that the Piping Plover would be passing through the oil-stricken Gulf of Mexico during its annual migration, she was determined to help. A few phone calls later, the Southampton Art Gallery – inspired by Annie’s desire to make a difference – took up the cause. Together, they raised funds for the Gulf disaster relief through an art exhibition. Annie’s work on behalf of the Piping Plover demonstrated the kind of nature ethic that Charles Labatiuk’s life embodied.
2011 Award Recipient: Myrna Wood
Myrna Wood is a long-time naturalist in Prince Edward County and has served many functions on the Board of Directors with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), including President. She was instrumental in the development of the IBA Conservation Plan for the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area in 2001. Since then, she has been an ardent advocate for the IBA, and most recently has led the PEDFN’s opposition to Gilead Inc.’s proposed wind energy plant on the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block in the heart of the IBA. Over the past two years, she has worked closely with Nature Canada and Ontario Nature on this campaign.
Beyond their efforts to connect people to nature, Nature Manitoba is also active in protecting and preserving some of the province’s most vulnerable natural treasures. In the 1980s, Nature Manitoba launched a systematic survey to locate the surviving remnants of the tall-grass prairie, a beautiful and productive piece of the prairies. Due to its fertile soils, it was transformed by settlers to grow cereals and forage crops – only a fraction of the tall-grass prairies remains today. Nature Manitoba ensured that the largest tracts of tall-grass prairie, found near the towns of Tolstoi and Gardenton in southeastern Manitoba, were protected by creating a Preserve. In 1989, the Critical Wildlife Habitat Program, involving seven conservation organizations, began securing lands in the Tolstoi-Gardenton area for a prairie preserve. Today, over 2000 hectares of tall-grass prairie are protected within this Preserve. Encouraged by this success, Nature Manitoba has been working closely with nature conservation organizations and the Mosakahiken Cree Nation to protect Little Limestone Lake – arguably the most spectacularly beautiful lake in Manitoba – by ensuring it is included within the boundaries of a provincial park.
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