Jim Wilson, described as “the public relations person for wildlife in New Brunswick,” has been awarded this year’s Roland Michener Conservation Award. Wilson, of Quispamsis, has played a pivotal role in advancing knowledge, appreciation and protection of birds in the province.
Established in 1978 by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the award is a tribute to Canada’s former governor general, the Right Honourable Roland Michener, who was known to be an outstanding outdoorsman.
In an interview on CBC’s Information Morning with Hance Colburne, Wilson spoke about what this award, and environmental conservation, mean to him.
“I’ve always been an advocate in my mind of education being opening eyes, and when people learn about things and understand them better in the natural world, then that appreciation leads eventually to conservation in the long run,” he told the CBC.
“You can’t conserve something, you can’t protect something, if you don’t know much about it. So the more people learn about it, or at least get theirs eyes open toward these kinds of things, the better it is in the long run, particularly for the next generation coming along.”
The award is given to any individual who has demonstrated a commitment to conservation through effective and responsible activities that promote, enhance and further the conservation of Canada’s natural resources.
Jim’s dedication to birding in New Brunswick, and educating others, made him a stand-out contender for the award, according to the former president of the Saint John Naturalists Club, Jan Riddel.
“Jim is outstanding in our club. We have the largest naturalist club in the province and I think it’s because of Jim, particularly because he gives his time effortlessly, it seems, to educate people through workshops and presentations,” said Riddel, who nominated Wilson for the award.
“The Oxford Dictionary says a conservationist is a person who advocates for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife, and he does that very modestly by taking everyone under his wings and telling us about the environments that we have here in New Brunswick. He’s been all over the province doing this for over 50 years,” she told the CBC.
For decades, Jim has dedicated his time and knowledge to educating others across the province and encouraging New Brunswickers to become involved with nature.
Wilson has also co-authored bird atlases, and is responsible for establishing the Point Lepreau Bird Observatory – a source which provides data on seabird migration used by researchers all over the world.
Congratulations on this honour, Jim, and thank you for your years of dedication to conserving and preserving New Brunswick’s beautiful natural habitats and the many birds that call these spaces home.