And the Winner Is… Nature
Welcome to my favourite issue of Canadian Wildlife each year, where we celebrate the winners of our federation’s annual awards. I am partial to this issue because in it we showcase the accomplishments of some very committed Canadian volunteers. It is inspiring to read about these passionate and engaged citizens and the work they do to protect our environment. Of course, part of what is so powerful is that each of these laureates is representative of many thousands more Canadians who volunteer each year to conserve our awesome (and imperilled) national biodiversity.
The different ways in which each of these eight deserving individuals and organizations made an impact is instructive as well as inspiring. Take Nova Scotian Stella Bowles, who at age 11 was so offended by the idea of raw sewage pouring into the Lahave River that she tested the water, compiled a report and publicized the results so effectively that, two years later, three levels of government came together to address the problem.
Or consider the lifelong work of Pierre Latraverse, honouring the land on which his family has lived since the mid-17th century by becoming a voice for conservation and working with everyone from local families to the heads of international shipping companies to rehabilitate a heavily travelled segment of the St. Lawrence River.
In different ways, every one of our award winners this year did important work in the field that helped create a greater impact. Their work helped educate Canadians and change attitudes, influence policy and ultimately ensure that our elected representatives would do the right and timely thing. This is also what we do at CWF: we take a positive, inclusive approach to engaging everyone in the conservation of our natural world. We undertake and fund research to understand the challenges in conservation so they can be solved. We work hard to communicate with Canadians about the pressing issues the environment faces. We offer many opportunities for people across the country to get involved and act on what they have learned, often creating stewardship programs to ensure lasting change. Advocacy too is an important part of what we do, working to ensure governments act to end flawed or harmful practices and policies and to provide proper guidance and stewardship.
So, as we celebrate the efforts of our most recent award winners, we also celebrate the passion and spirit of stewardship that is growing throughout Canada and the contributions of the millions of Canadians who devote time, money or both to supporting conservation. Rick J. Bates CEO, Canadian Wildlife Federation