No Experience Necessary: Your Guide to Becoming A Canadian Conservation Hero

Before we get started, let’s be clear.

Being a conservation hero with the Canadian Wildlife Federation will not require you to:

  • Identify tree species by their Latin name on your next hike
  • Host a public forum on Canadian animals at-risk
  • Start an eco-fundraiser for your community

You may have seen past “Conservation Heroes” receiving awards from CWF for a variety of reasons.

BUT! While every action, individual and specific interest in wildlife is important to us, we are here to tell you that it can very easily be your name on the press release, awards trophy and banquet reception honouring today’s Conservation Heroes.

Whether you submit your name now, or plan to enter for next year, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Nominating has never been easier!

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Our newer, easier online nomination is just one click away. The submission deadline is January 31, 2019, so check it out now: Nominate Online

2. We’re looking for Canadians of all ages

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Conservation actions big and small contribute to the protection of our country’s natural heritage. So share with us those who deserve to be recognized!

3. Look in your own backyard

boy twine outside

Does your community have someone who attends all the town hall meetings in support of a greener community? Do you have a local teacher, student or neighbour who goes the extra mile to make a difference? That’s exactly who we want to hear about.

4. Ask Google

Browse the internet or national papers to see who deserves the spotlight. It’s okay if you don’t know the individual at all. Imagine if they win and you’ve brought their work to the forefront?

5. Find inspiration from those who’ve paved the way

man holding try by river

Take a look at the Conservation Heroes from 2018 who we are proudly featuring on our website. See what kind of actions blew away the committee last year.

And before you get started, we should be clear, if you WANT to learn tree species, or host forums or raise eco-funds/awareness for your community YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT. But those aren’t the only ways to shine when it comes to wildlife and habitat. Have a question? Let us know.

Ready to start a nomination? We think you’re starting to look like a Conservation Hero already!

Meet the 2018 Conservation Achievement Award Winners, Honouring Canadians From Coast to Coast

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is proud to announce the winners of its national conservation awards.

This year’s recipients represent seven provinces and countless Canadians who are making a profound and positive impact for wildlife and habitat from coast to coast.

“Wildlife are the real winners when citizens get involved in conservation,” said Rick Bates, CEO of CWF. “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of these dedicated Canadians, we are helping to ensure a bright future for Canada’s wildlife.”

The CWF Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards were presented June 16, 2018 at a special ceremony in Regina.

And the Winners Are…

Aleta Karstad, Bishops Mills, Ont.

Winner of the Robert Bateman Award recognizing an individual whose art has furthered the appreciation of Canada’s wildlife and habitats.

Aleta Karstad has been writing and illustrating books since 1979 bringing to life the natural history of little-known areas. Working in partnership with local citizens and conservation organizations, she has taught and promoted respect for biodiversity through her remarkable visual arts, her tireless fundraising and an exceptional online presence.

“It’s a big step to be recognized nationally,” Karstad said. “I’m amazed and grateful that my art has reached out so far to inspire others.”

James G. Wilson, Quispamsis, N.B.

Winner of the Roland Michener Conservation Award recognizing a commitment to promoting, enhancing and furthering the conservation of Canada’s natural resources.

James G. Wilson has played a central role in advancing the knowledge of birds in New Brunswick. He conducts nocturnal owl surveys and has co-authored several books. He also helped establish the Point Lepreau Bird Observatory, a source of invaluable data on seabird and monarch butterfly migration which is used by academics and researchers all over the world.

Sue Penney, Shubenacadie, N.S.

Winner of the Wild Educator Award recognizing the efforts of CWF WILD Education facilitators and instructors who provide innovative and meaningful nature experiences for youth.

As an education co-ordinator at a popular wildlife park, Sue Penney delivers workshops on a wide range of ecological subjects to children of all ages. She shares her remarkable enthusiasm for nature with everyone she meets. She has trained and inspired countless other educators in order to connect even more young Canadians to conservation.


Ray Makowecki, Edmonton, Alta.

Winner of the Roderick Haig-Brown Award recognizing a significant contribution to the conservation, development and wise use of Canada’s recreational fisheries.

As a teacher, biologist, environmental consultant and outdoor enthusiast, Ray Makowecki has motivated many Canadian anglers. Through his career as a manager within the fish and wildlife division programs of the Alberta government and as a private consultant and steadfast volunteer he has encouraged the conservation of Canada’s recreational fisheries. A father of six and grandfather of 16, Makowecki believes we have a responsibility to mentor youth so they value fish and wildlife habitat.

Griffin Andersen, Belcarra, B.C.

Winner of the Wade Luzny Youth Conservation Award recognizing youth who have inspired exceptional habitat and conservation projects.

In elementary school, Griffin Anderson took charge of a salmon enhancement program. Ever since, he has been active as a youth ambassador and fundraiser with a focus on biology and living creatures. In high school he created a website called Wishful Thinking which supports not-for-profit conservation organizations including the Mossom Creek salmon hatchery in Port Moody. He volunteers for many charitable organizations and considers himself lucky to grow up in an area bordered by parkland on one side and marine life on the other.

G3E Education and Water Monitoring Action Group, Quebec City, Que.

Winner of a Youth Mentor Award recognizing individuals and groups who create, present and encourage habitat and wildlife conservation programs for young Canadians.

Thanks to a network of regional coordinators, G3E has delivered high-quality citizen science programs to a diverse and dynamic youth population, fostering community while conserving water resources and habitats for the enjoyment of generations to come. From programs like Adopt-a-River to science training and outreach, the G3E Education and Water Monitoring Group has engaged more than 50,000 young people in conservation.


Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s, Nfld.

Winner of a  Youth Mentor Award recognizing individuals and groups who create, present and encourage habitat and wildlife conservation programs for young Canadians.

For 26-years, the Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador has provided youth with employment training, a sense of communal responsibility and an understanding of environmental and climate change issues. Through this program, thousands of students have been inspired to learn more and to take action to reduce environmental impacts in their own lives and in their communities.

“CWF thanks all the recipients, nominators and nominees for demonstrating that it’s in our nature to volunteer for the conservation of wildlife and habitat,” Bates said.

To learn more about the awards, visit or pick up a copy of Canadian Wildlife or Biosphère magazines, available on newsstands or by subscription.

Time to honour Canadians making a difference for wildlife

Not all superheroes wear capes. In fact, there are nature heroes working to protect wildlife and wild spaces all across Canada.

Working to conserve wildlife is its own reward. The people who work or volunteer in conservation don’t do it for the recognition, and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Still, it’s important to pause and acknowledge our fellow Canadians who go above and beyond to make a difference.

Each year CWF takes time to honour these groups and individuals with the Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards. The actions of these artists, advocates, political and community leaders, educators and more contribute to the protection of our country’s natural heritage.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of these conservation heroes and how they’re making a difference for wildlife.

Sylvie Roussel-Janssens

Conservation heroes come from all walks of life – from science and technology to education and art. Sylvie Roussel-Janssens won the 2016 Robert Bateman Award for bringing wildlife and nature into her sculptural installations. Each one inspires us to think about our relationship with the natural world.

Neil Fletcher

Neil Fletcher is a wetland conservation warrior. He’s played an important role in fostering local stewardship of wetland ecosystems through outreach and education in B.C. For all his hard work and dedication, Neil received the Canadian Outdoorsperson of the Year Award in 2016.

Lorne G. Mann

When Lorne G. Mann saw how an abandoned paintball field was hurting the environment, he took it upon himself to revitalize the area. After Lorne got rid of the trash left by paintballers, he planted more trees, cleared thistle patches by hand, and filled in trenches. Now, the space is a place that families, hikers, and all kinds of wildlife can enjoy. Lorne won the Roland Michener Conservation Award in 2016.

Bonnie Anderson

Bonnie Anderson has been with CWF’s WILD Education program since 1988. That’s 28 years! Her commitment to nature and education go far beyond her work with CWF, but Bonnie’s years of training educators earned her the inaugural WILD Educator of the Year Award in 2016.

D.C. Reid

If you want to know about fishing, D.C. Reid is the person you want to look up. D.C. is a tireless advocate for ending the practice of farming for salmon in open-ocean pens. It’s one of the many reasons he won the 2016 Roderick Haig-Brown Award.

Do you know someone who stands up for nature? Visit us online to nominate them for a Canadian Conservation Achievement Award. The deadline is coming up fast – January 31.

Nominate a nature hero today

Canadians Honoured for Conservation Achievements


Green Party leader Elizabeth May is among the natural winners of CWF’s conservation awards presented June 25 in Ottawa.

The awards showcase the dedicated efforts of political leaders, students, teachers and community organizations to preserving wildlife and habitat.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is very grateful for the leadership, mentorship and accomplishments of these environmental heroes. Continue reading “Canadians Honoured for Conservation Achievements”