information on Biodiversity in the Yukon, go to the Environment
Winners of the Yukon Biodiversity Award
Helmut is a founding member
of the Yukon Bird Club and director for the past fifteen years; leading
countless birdwatching trips, bird counts and breeding bird surveys.
An editor for the Northwestern Canada Region of American Birds of
the National Audubon Society for nine years, Helmut continues to be
link between Yukon and the North American birding community. Helmut
published his detailed observations of one of the Yukons rich
wetlands in Birds of Swan Lake, Yukon (1994), and is an author of
Birds of the Yukon Territory (2003). While best known for birdwatching
activities, his contributions to Yukons biodiversity are extensive.
Helmut has served as director for the Yukon Conservation Society,
founding their renowned Nature Appreciation Series and is an active
voice for ecosystem conservation and climate change within the territory.
Robert Frisch (posthumously)
ornithologist, botanist Robert (Bob) Frish moved to the Klondike Valley
in 1970, and was renowned for his epic solo journeys through the Tombstone
region. Bob spent countless hours along the Dempster and into the
mountains searching for bird life; perhaps his most significant find
being the first known nest-sites of Surfbirds in Canada. Eventually
Bob compiled his observations into his book Birds by the Dempster
Highway(1982), which 20 years since his passing, remains the definitive
birding resource of the region.
2002 Charlie Peter
Charlie was a key figure in the establishment of the Porcupine Caribou
Management Board. With his seemingly endless knowledge of the Old
Crow area, Charlie served as guide and consultant to several generations
of researchers working in the Yukon. Always a strong supporter of
environmental issues in the Old Crow region, Charlie has kept traditional
knowledge alive with his stories about caribou and "how things
use to be." In 1988, his many years of service to Old Crow, to
the Gwich'in language and traditional knowledge, and to the Yukon
as a whole were recognized as Charlie Peter Charlie was admitted to
the Order of Canada.
Phil Caswell (posthumously)
volunteered thousands of hours to Kluane National Park Reserve, investigating,
collecting and identifying plants from the Park and surrounding areas.
He also volunteered his botany skills briefly in Vuntut National Park
and Asi Keyi Territorial Park. Perhaps his two greatest Yukon discoveries
were Bering Sea Dock, a species new to Canada, and the rediscovery
of Yukon Draba, Canada's rarest plant. Studying plants for 20 years
in Alaska and Yukon, Phil was exceptionally talented in his field,
but exceedingly humble, calling himself a plant chaser,
fearing the term botanist too professional.
his Yukon fieldwork in the 1960s, Cody had the monumental task of
classifying the Yukons unique and diverse flora. He spent the
next 20 years collecting plant specimens, ensuring the most complete
collection possible. Flora of the Yukon (1996), his best known contribution
to northern botany, quickly became a benchmark in taxonomic keys.
Extraordinarily committed to his work as an Honourary Research Associate,
in retirement Bill continues to provide an enormous amount of information
on plants to the agricultural sector, natural resources staff, wildlife
biologists, First Nations, and landscape planners. Always willing
to help, every year he identifies thousands of Yukon plants and continues
to publish articles on the flora of the Yukon in scientific journals
of Manfreds most enduring traits is a steadfast, often wonderfully
stubborn conservation ethic. Endangered species management has always
been a passion of Manfreds, as is seen in the remarkable success
of the Wood Bison Recovery Project. His work on the Committee on the
Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Endangered Species
Act will be an enduring Yukon legacy. Manfred first arrived to Yukon
a PhD candidate studying Dalls sheep and their critical habitats
in Kluane. Some of the first and decisive lobbying for the eventual
creation of Kluane National Park came from his work in those days.
Eventually, Manfred joined the Game Branch of the Yukon
Territorial Government, filling almost every job from field work to
biodiversity databases, unrivalled in Yukon, have raised awareness
of birds of prey, ducks, geese, swans, grouse, ptarmigan and songbirds.
The cornerstones of Biodiversity Awareness in Yukon including programs
such as Celebration of Swans, Swan Haven, the Dempster Interpretive
Centre, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Yukons Wildlife Viewing Program,
the Biodiversity Working Group, and the Biodiversity Forum, have arisen
out Daves efforts to raise awareness of biodiversity and biodiversity
issues. He has made hundreds of forays into classrooms to inspire
children, many of those presentations remain ingrained it the youth
and young adults today. Dave continues to raise the awareness of biodiversity
to a new generation of researchers and communicators as an instructor
and researcher at Yukon College, Whitehorse.
Ted Murphy-Kelly, Ben Schoneville
2001, Ted started the Albert Creek Bird Observatory at Upper Liard,
west of Watson Lake providing an amazing amount of information on
bird migration through Yukon. In 2002, Ted was joined by Ben, an enthusiastic
summer student whose vitality and energy combined with Teds
experience and knowledge helped the station to become an important
centre for data collection and monitoring of bird populations and
migration patterns. In 2005, Ben established the Teslin Lake Bird
Observatory and both stations have been operating ever since. To encourage
community involvement, the banding stations welcome the public and
each year they receive hundreds of visits from Yukoners and tourists
alike. The stations host popular public education events for a variety
of groups from the Yukon Bird Club to youth and school groups. Their
efforts have made a significant contribution to our knowledge and
awareness of Yukons diverse and spectacular bird life.
(2 winners) Joe Johnson
(Joe) Johnson was a Southern Tutchone leader who advocated not only
for First Nation people and their rights but for the environment and
its importance to all Yukoners. Joe grew up living a traditional way
of life, travelling seasonally throughout Yukon, hunting and fishing.
During this time he developed a special bond with the land, animals,
and his people.
Joe was instrumental in initiatives such as the protection of the
Ruby Range Sheep area and the Kluane Caribou herd. Using both traditional
and scientific knowledge he sought ways to balance First Nation rights
and environmental protection when making management decisions.
In the early 1970s Joe entered politics seeking to improve the
lives of Yukon First Nations People. He served many terms as Chief
of Kluane First Nation and supported aboriginal and environmental
issues during the land claim process. After retiring Joe served on
several committees including Yukon Fish and Wildlife Board, Yukon
Heritage Resources Board, Kluane National Park Management Board, and
Northern Native Broadcasting. He also worked as a wildlife monitor
for KFN and was meticulous in recording changes on the land. His Southern
Tutchone name, Matsan Natsatsulia, means You
expect something from him; Joe always delivered with a huge
avid birder and photographer, James (Jim) Hawkings is recognized for
his contributions to our knowledge of Yukon birds and conservation
efforts throughout the territory.
Having worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service for over 25 years,
Mr. Hawkings is well-known in Yukon communities from Old Crow to Watson
Lake for his passionate swan presentations. Mr. Hawkings has long
been a supporter of the Yukon Bird Club, leading numerous field trips
and volunteering with the Trumpeter Swan Society for more than 10
years. In 1986 he started the Yukon Bird-a-thon, an ongoing annual
fundraising event for the club.
Hawkings has also been instrumental in several conservation initiatives,
working behind the scenes to provide information to support the creation
of the Nisutlin Delta National Wildlife Area, Vuntut National Park,
Old Crow Flats Habitat Protection Area, and the Tagish River Habitat
Protection Area. He has promoted conservation measures for MClintock
Bay and has long been a supporter of Swan Haven.
You may see some of Mr. Hawkings photographs in publications
such as Birds of the Yukon Territory (2003) and Ecoregions of the
Yukon. He has donated amazing swan footage for the Celebration of
Swans information film that plays at the Whitehorse Airport.
has been a teacher and an educator in Yukon for over 40 years. Some
of the many highlights of his contribution to biodiversity awareness
focus on engaging youth. Bob has been a teacher trainer for Global
Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program
for 13 years. He along with Remy Rodden and Alain Dallaire brought
the international Envirothon competition to Yukon in 2003. Bob has
been involved with International Polar Year, to get grade 11 students
doing hands-on projects in the field.
Bob's vision initiated the Experiential Science Program when he was
superintendent in 1991. This Yukon public school program for grade
11 students integrates Biology, Geography, Forestry, Chemistry, Art,
and Field Methods. The program evolved from a realization that learning
and understanding would benefit from hands-on experiences on the land.
The program excites, inspires, challenges and motivates students with
rigorous field methods, well kept data and sound scientific methodology.
Over 500 Yukon students have participated in the program many continuing
their education through College and University. He continues to help
Yukon teachers and students to get outdoors and discover their environment.
He received the Prime Minister's Award of Excellence for Teaching
in 1997. His influence reaches nearly every Yukon community and he
has lived and taught in Carcross, Old Crow, Ross River and Whitehorse.