Nature Canada

Douglas H. Pimlott Award Recipients: Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson

Nature Canada’s highest award honoured their outstanding legacy and impact for birds and nature.

Media Release – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, ON | March 3, 2022


The sound of songbirds isn’t only beautiful. It is a reminder to us we can’t live without other life. It is also the sound of hope.  — Margaret Atwood

Often regarded as one of Canada’s culturally iconic couples, Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson accomplished a great deal within the literature world spanning from award-winning novels to establishing the Writers Trust and PEN Canada. Their continual passion for activism spanned far beyond the realm of books through their relentless efforts to push the agenda of creating a deeper connection between Canadians and birdlife.

They were Joint Honorary Presidents of BirdLife International’s Rare Bird Club and champions of Nature Canada’s Save Bird Lives campaign. Graeme Gibson’s efforts led to the establishment of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory – a great legacy of their combined love of birds.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Nature Canada,  I am pleased to recognize two of Canada’s beloved cultural icons, Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson as the recipients of this year’s Douglas H. Pimlott Award for their outstanding contributions to Canadian birds and nature conservation,” says Sabine Dietz, Chair of Nature Canada.

The Douglas H. Pimlott Award is Nature Canada’s highest honour.  Pimlott was a renowned conservationist, wildlife biologist, ecologist and environmentalist and is fondly regarded as a founder of the modern environmental movement in Canada.  This Award commemorates individuals whose brilliance, dedication and outstanding contributions have been a driving force within the conservation sector. Past recipients include: Her Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Senator Diane Griffin, Dr. George Archibald, Robert Bateman, Michael Bélanger, Monte Hummel, Anne Murray, Dr. David Schindler, and Cliff Wallis.

Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson have inspired people around the world to look to the skies and understand the importance of protecting birds and through them, our world.  Esri Canada was honoured to be part of the celebration of their amazing achievements”, says Alex Miller, President of Esri Canada & Pinnacle Sponsor of the Pimlott Award celebration. 

Over its 80-year history, Nature Canada has ensured that the right conversations are being held, communities are engaged and collectively, new paths forward can be forged. As a strong voice advocating for nature to policymakers and stakeholders, Nature Canada has steadfastly been at the forefront of issues that confront the conservation sector. This has led to the protection of vast areas of land and ocean which is made possible through the support of 1,000 nature organizations and 150,000 individuals.   

As part of the celebration, sponsors and individuals are supporting Nature Canada’s campaign to Save Bird Lives and in particular, showcase efforts for Bird-Friendly Cities and towns across Canada. The Save Bird Lives campaign makes cities healthier, happier places to live for people and our feathered friends.

This celebration was proudly sponsored by: Esri Canada, TD Bank,  Bakertilly, Rae & Lipskie Investment Counsel, Rogers Media, TransCanada Trail, Brome Bird Care, Penguin Random House Canada, House of Anansi Press, The Walrus, and Alternatives Journal


For more information, contact: 

Scott Mullenix

About Nature Canada

For over the past 80 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 110 million acres of Parks and Wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on these habitats.  

Nature Canada’s mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and advocating for nature. Core campaigns include Make Room for Nature (terrestrial and ocean protected areas), Nature-Based Climate Solutions (nature protection and restoration), NatureHood (youth nature education and engagement), Women for Nature initiative, and the Work to Grow program (access, equity, and engagement with BIPOC youth/communities). More information can be found here

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