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