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  6. Canadian Museum of Nature announces winners of the 2018 Nature Inspiration Awards

Canadian Museum of Nature announces winners of the 2018 Nature Inspiration Awards

Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature.


Ottawa, November 7, 2018— An activist scientist combatting ocean plastics, a teenage researcher advocating against ocean acidification, an Inuit-owned publishing house, and an innovative organisation to safeguard migratory birds are among the recipients of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s 2018 Nature Inspiration Awards. They join other honorees announced this evening at a gala hosted by the museum, which is Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences.

The Nature Inspiration Awards, inaugurated by the museum in 2014, recognize individuals, groups and organizations whose leadership, innovation and creativity connect Canadians with nature and the natural world. The 2018 awards cover seven categories: Youth (aged 17 and younger), Adults, Not-for-Profits (small to medium), Not-for-Profits (large), Businesses (small to medium), Businesses (large), and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 2018 winners include:

·         teenager Isabella O’Brien from Dundas, Ontario, for environmental advocacy and youth-science projects about ocean acidification;

·         scientist and community activist Dr. Max Liboiron for research, community engagement, and new methods to reduce ocean plastics;

·         wildlife biologist Dr. Dave Mossop from Whitehorse for four decades of leadership in species discovery and conservation;

·         FLAP Canada, for initiatives to reduce bird collisions with buildings;

·         The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for advocacy in nature conservation and the protection of public lands;

·         Iqaluit-based publishing house Inhabit Media for stories about the land, animals and peoples of Canada’s North;

·         The Plastic Bank from Vancouver for reducing ocean-plastic waste and promoting community sustainability;

·         CN Rail for focus on tree planting and community-greening initiatives.

See videos of the winners here

“These leaders in nature inspiration show the many ways that individuals, organisations or businesses can inspire and create a more healthy engagement with the natural world,” says Meg Beckel, CEO and President of the Canadian Museum of Nature. "We congratulate not only the winners, but also all those who submitted nominations this year, and we are grateful for the opportunity to recognize their achievements."

A jury selected the winners after paring down the applications to a shortlist. Winners receive $5,000 that they can designate to a program of their choice. The 2018 awards were supported by presenting media sponsors The Walrus and The Globe and Mail. Category sponsors were Ontario Power Generation (Not-for-Profits, small to medium) and Bruce Power (youth).

Winners of the 2018 Nature Inspiration Awards:

Youth category (aged 17 and under) – Isabella O’Brien, Dundas, Ontario
On a diving trip at age 11, she learned about the adverse effects of ocean acidification on coral. Through science fair projects, she has doggedly explored how to recycle calcium from harvested shells and return it to the sea in order to reduce acidity. Isabella received gold medals at the 2014 and 2016 Canada-Wide Science Fairs, and continues to speak about the issue of calcium depletion in lakes and oceans.

Adult category – Max Liboiron, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
A scientist, activist and community organizer, Max Liboiron directs a unique marine-plastic-pollution laboratory at Memorial University. Trained in biology, she moved into fine arts, cultural studies and media studies during graduate degrees. Her lab monitors food webs for plastics and their associated toxicants. She has invented community-based methods and technologies to make the science accessible to non-scientists.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dave Mossop, Whitehorse, Yukon
A Professor Emeritus of Yukon College, Dave Mossop has dedicated more than four decades to research, nature conservation, education and advocacy. The wildlife biologist has been at the forefront of national and international efforts to protect endangered species, especially the Peregrine Falcon.-He is a founding member of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and continues to share his passion for nature, especially birds, as an advisor and mentor for biodiversity research and educational outreach.

Not-For-Profit category (small to medium organization) – FLAP Canada, Toronto, Ontario
FLAP works to safeguard migratory birds in urban environments through education, policy development, research, rescue and rehabilitation. Its formal rescue initiative in Toronto for birds that collide with lit office towers or with mirrored commercial buildings was a world first. FLAP has developed Bird Safe, a building-standard and risk-assessment system for identifying the threat level that individual building façades pose to birds.

Not-For-Profit category (large organization) – CPAWS Canada
Canada's only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of public land has influenced some significant decisions in nature conservation and management of protected areas over the last five decades. CPAWS's leadership, policy expertise and lobbying efforts led to the Government of Canada announcing $1.3 billion dollars for conservation in the 2018 federal budget—the largest investment in conservation in Canada’s history.

Business category (small to medium organization) – Inhabit Media, Iqaluit, Nunavut and the Plastic Bank, Vancouver, British Columbia
Inhabit Media is the only independent, Inuit-owned publishing house in Nunavut. It publishes titles that preserve Inuit traditions and knowledge; most titles focus on nature and related connections. Since its creation in 2006, Inhabit Media has published more than 100 titles in four languages (French, English, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun) in all genres—from children's books to scientific information to graphic novels.

In 2013, entrepreneur David Katz founded The Plastic Bank to reduce ocean plastic pollution while providing alternative livelihoods by monetizing plastic waste. The Plastic Bank is now active in Haiti, Brazil and the Philippines. Plastic that people collect is accepted as a currency that can be redeemed for cash, or saved for items such as education, healthcare insurance, or food. Each collection centre provides an income for approximately 100 recyclers and their families, so each centre affects about 500 people.                                                                                                             

Business category (large organization) – CN, Montreal, Quebec
Since 2012, CN has been the leading non-forestry tree-planting company. Working with Tree Canada, CN has planted 1.7 million trees, which offsets the use of wood in rail operations and the company's carbon footprint. The company's EcoConnexions-from- the-Ground-Up program also helps Canadian municipalities take part in community tree-planting and greening initiatives. Since 2012, this program has supported the planting of 112 492 trees and shrubs through 199 grants to Canadian communities.


About the Canadian Museum of Nature:
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6-million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site,

Information for media:
Dan Smythe
Head, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613-698-9253 (cell)

John Swettenham
Director, Marketing and Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4249; 613-868-8277 (cell)