Owl hero recognized
Interpretive Centre’s educational work key to survival of species
species is native in Canada. Johnson’s work will be recognized at an SBOIC fundraising dinner on Nov. 4.
The Bernadine Marie Melanson Award, is given out every year by the non-profit educational group to someone who makes a contribution to outdoor and environmental education in Saskatchewan.
The winner of the award gets a lifetime membership with SaskOutdoors and the opportunity to apply for funding down the road, along with some other benefits.
Johnson was nominated for the award by Lorne Scott, who won it himself in 1987 for the work he did with Wascana Centre Authority as a park naturalist.
Scott explained he felt that Johnson was deserving of the award as the SBOC does a good job in getting out and educating members of the public.
“I nominated her because of the continued outreach program in the name of conservation here in Saskatchewan provided by Lori and SBOIC,” he said.
Johnson speaks to groups ranging from school children to seniors in retirement homes and does so with little funding.
“There is no conservation organization in the province that reaches as many young people … and adults,” he said.
Scott credits this to the organization being a small one which allows them the ability to get out and do what it needs to do with very little red tape and high praise for their work. “They do a wonderful job,” he said. With the burrowing owl being an endangered species, due to loss of habitat and the use of pesticides among other issues, education efforts become all the more important.
“Because they (burrowing owls) are an endangered species we want to make sure we spread the news and get people involved in and actively helping our native species survive,” Johnson said.
For Johnson, the award is coming at a good time.
“Environment education is something that is gaining momentum as more and more people realize that connection between humans and nature,” said Johnson.
She added that she enjoys her work because much of it involves going out to talk to people and groups.
“I like to see how much people personally enjoy making that connection with nature,” she said.