Emily Thoroski: Red-winged blackbird in St. Vital, Winnipeg, MB Spring 2020

Canadian Wildlife Pioneers

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Canadian Wildlife Pioneer Recognition


The CSTWS first initiated the Pioneer Recognition Committee as an ad hoc committee in 2017. This committee came about as a result of CSTWS members, such as Merlin Shoesmith and Don Sexton, identifying the importance for the CSTWS to acknowledge groundbreaking and original work of Canadian wildlife professionals to wildlife conservation and management. As such, they proposed this committee to the CSTWS Executive and the Executive proceeded to establish an ad hoc committee to this effect. The first co-chairs of the Pioneer Recognition Committee were Merlin Shoesmith and Don Sexton. Given the committee was originally established as an ad-hoc committee, the co-chairs prepared a committee charge. As the committee become established, it became apparent that there would hopefully continue to be wildlife professionals through time that would potentially make original, ground-breaking contributions to wildlife conservation and management, and as such, this committee should be converted to a standing committee and as such, develop a formal ToR.

The purpose is to identify individuals who were important in the origins and evolution of wildlife conservation and management in Canada and to recognize them for their outstanding achievement. There are many possible candidates going back 60-75 years. Of course, many are deceased although a number of them are probably still living well into retirement. The approach would be to gather background information on as many candidates as likely can be found and judge their suitability to appear on the Wall of Fame as pioneers in wildlife conservation and management in Canada. Many of them worked in government, conservation organizations and universities. Criteria to determine suitability are described below
Criteria for Pioneer Recognition
  1. A pioneer by definition is one who is first in any field of inquiry, enterprise or process OR one who is the first to do something that is later continued and developed by others. 
  2. Any trained wildlife professional working and living in Canada.
  3. Can be living or deceased.
  4. Belonging to The Wildlife Society in their career will not be the main focus for judging acceptability. It will be of interest but not a deciding factor.
  5. Any wildlife-trained professional working in Canada that made a significant contribution to the development and evolution of wildlife conservation, management, research, education, and public outreach in Canada.
  6. Significant Contributions may be defined as (but not limited to the following examples):
    1. Development of new or standard techniques for monitoring and conserving wildlife.
    2. Approaches to habitat evaluation and effective management.
    3. University course development and training of future wildlife professionals.
    4. Research and protection of species at risk and their habitats.
    5. Contributions to the understanding of population regulations and the effects of limiting factors on wildlife populations such as disease, predation, and habitat loss.

Develop a preliminary list of potential nominees from the literature, personal knowledge or recommendations from wildlife colleagues, etc. The intent is to go back in time and work forward to the present and to make adjustments in criteria as we go along that are more concise than initially described above. The complete list would be evaluated in a timely manner to ensure that deserving Canadian wildlife professionals receive due recognition. The number of candidates for review may number 40-50 or more individuals. The complete list would be evaluated in a timely manner to ensure that deserving Canadian wildlife professionals are recognized. All reviews are done by a Pioneer Recognition Committee of the Board of Directors, CSTWS. This Committee will annually bring nominations to the attention of the Board for a final vote and placement on the Canadian Section Website. 
How to Nominate a Candidate
  • If you know of someone that fits the Pioneer Recognition Criteria, please forward the candidate's name and any information you may have available to you, including their CV if possible to the above-noted co-chairs or to the CSTWS email: csoftws@gmail.com
  • The committee will assess the candidate relative to the criteria
  • Once the committee arrives at a decision, their decisions and recommendations will be brought to the CSTWS Board for discussion and review
  • Names will be announced at annually at the CSTWS Annual General Meeting and will be featured on the CSTWS website.