Outstanding in the Fields
Who are Canada's greatest naturalists?
To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary and to celebrate our nation’s enduring love of the wild, two venerable Canadian nature organizations together are leading a public campaign to identify and celebrate the greatest field naturalists in our country’s history.
Led by the Ottawa Field-naturalists’ Club (the country’s oldest, founded in 1863) in combination with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the project team will research, profile and rank famous figures and unnamed heroes who each advanced the knowledge, awareness and appreciation of Canada’s biodiversity.
There is no shortage of candidates that spring to mind: naturalist and chronicler Catharine Parr Traill; early botanist Brother MarieVictorin Kirouac; and author and icon Farley Mowat. And there are many more candidates whose names are not so familiar to most Canadians: Helen Battle, the first woman in Canada to earn a PHD in marine biology; Norman Criddle, a pioneer entomologist, who homesteaded in turn-of-the-century Manitoba; and Elkanah Billings who, in 1852, founded the journal the Canadian Naturalist and Geologist and became the first paleontologist for the Geological Survey of Canada.
Watch for results to be announced later in 2017 both in the Ottawa Field-naturalists’ Club’s Canadian Field-naturalists’ Journal and in these pages. To learn more about how you can join the ranks of Canada’s field naturalists, check out the Bioblitz Canada 150 national program in Engage with CWF on page 42.
Late March Snowy owls, who are preparing to make their way to their breeding grounds, seek out remaining patches of snow and ice as camouflage. Mid-april Pregnant barren-ground caribou cows lead the spring migration to their calving grounds following...
Early April Mallards begin to return to the Prairies from their wintering places to the south, an annual journey covering as many as 1,000 km.