Robert Bate­man Con­ser­va­tion Award

Canadian Wildlife - - BIGGER PICTURE -

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of CWF’S 50th an­niver­sary in 2012 and to honour “one of the top 100 en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­po­nents of the 20th cen­tury,” the Robert Bate­man Award was es­tab­lished to rec­og­nize an in­di­vid­ual or group that has fur­thered the aware­ness and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Canada’s wildlife and habi­tats through artis­tic ex­pres­sion. Pre­vi­ous win­ners in­clude sculp­tor Brent Cooke and singer-song­writer Sarah Harmer.

For the Birds Art Ex­hibit Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity in part­ner­ship with the Cana­dian Wildlife Service, a branch of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada

Au­gust 16, 1916, saw the sign­ing of the Canada-u.s. Mi­gra­tory Birds Con­ven­tion, an early and im­por­tant eco­log­i­cal agree­ment. To cel­e­brate the cen­ten­nial, the Cana­dian Wildlife Service in part­ner­ship with Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity’s Fac­ulty of Arts, or­ga­nized an ex­hibit with the theme of bird con­ser­va­tion. Re­spond­ing to a call for sub­mis­sions, 16 “Mount-a” fine arts un­der­grads cre­ated di­verse art­works on the theme of bird con­ser­va­tion. The re­sult­ing works in a va­ri­ety of me­dia com­bine or­nithol­ogy, bi­ol­ogy and ecol­ogy with the in­di­vid­ual per­spec­tive of each artist. The or­ga­niz­ers’ goal for the event was to stim­u­late public in­ter­est in and sup­port for bird con­ser­va­tion. Clearly it was “mis­sion ac­com­plished”: the ex­hibit For the Birds im­pressed first at two sep­a­rate shows in Sackville, N.B., be­fore trav­el­ling to the Cana­dian em­bassy in Washington, D.C., as part of a spe­cial event mark­ing the cen­ten­nial of the con­ven­tion sign­ing. It will spend the sum­mer at Cape Jouri­main Na­ture Cen­tre, part of a spectacular na­tional wildlife area on the Northum­ber­land Strait in New Brunswick.

WHAT THE NOMINATORS SAID

“For sci­en­tists, it can be dif­fi­cult to por­tray the im­por­tance and deep value of wildlife con­ser­va­tion us­ing research and tech­ni­cal papers, me­dia re­ports, or brief­ings.… The value of the ex­hibit in bring­ing a bird con­ser­va­tion mes­sage to a wider au­di­ence can­not be over­stated.”

“The stu­dent artists, who did not have any pre­vi­ous knowl­edge of bird con­ser­va­tion, did a bril­liant job of seam­lessly in­cor­po­rat­ing con­ser­va­tion mes­sages into their art­work, evok­ing emo­tion and deeper thought.”

WHAT THE OR­GA­NIZ­ERS SAID

“We pre­sented our stu­dents with the chal­lenge of mak­ing art based on research, knowl­edge and a mean­ing­ful in­ter­ac­tion with the sub­ject mat­ter. We pre­sented this as a se­ri­ous com­mis­sion, and th­ese un­der­grad­u­ate artists re­sponded to the chal­lenge. A small school like ours in a phys­i­cally beau­ti­ful ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment draws stu­dents who have an affin­ity with the nat­u­ral world. I think that’s prob­a­bly why we had such great art. It went way be­yond what we ex­pected. We were plan­ning some­thing re­gional but it re­ally took off.” — Prof. Thad­deus Holow­nia, head of the de­part­ment of fine arts at Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity

LEARN MORE

Visit the univer­sity’s alumni mag­a­zine at mta.ca/record/is­sues/2016_fall/birds/.

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