Past Award Winner - Bob Whittam
Bob Whittam is a life-long naturalist who has enjoyed a forty year career in conservation that has been varied in its breadth and scope. He has worked as the chief bird bander at Long Point Bird Observatory; as a naturalist at Bon Echo Provincial Park, on fish at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as developing interpretive programs for the 1,000 Islands National Park. While with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa, Bob completed natural heritage inventories for Cap Tourment National Wildlife Area and Perce Rock National Park.
Bob’s most significant accomplishments in conservation however, came when he was appointed as Executive Director of the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. Bob spent twenty four years in this position mentoring staff and the public alike. As a testament to his outstanding knowledge of birds, plants, insects and general ecology, many of his former staff members have since accepted significant positions with environmental conservation organizations nation-wide. It was Bob’s passion for and commitment to his work that enabled the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre to remain open to this day when all other wildlife centres across the country have since been closed due to budget constraints. Bob spearheaded fundraising efforts that resulted in the Centre being operated successfully on a non-profit basis under the direction of the Friends of Wye Marsh.
Bob Whittam’s work has been widely recognized. He has received awards from the local Rotary Club and Business Association in Midland, the Ontario Lieutenant Governor and the Silver Jubilee medal from the Queen. His role was so valued by the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan that they have created the “Bob Whittam Environmental Award” which recognizes individuals who exemplify environmental advocacy and stewardship to the Severn Sound watershed. Through all of this, Bob has always taken the time to recognize the good work of others and doesn’t look for recognition himself. He continues to be one of nature’s strongest advocates.
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