CWF Announces 2024 Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards

Recognizing Outstanding Leadership for Wildlife and Habitat

OTTAWA, June 17, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is pleased to announce the eight recipients of this year’s prestigious Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards. These remarkable citizens have shown exceptional commitment, innovation and leadership in their respective fields, making a lasting impact on the conservation landscape.

“The awards recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to safeguard wildlife and their habitats for the use and enjoyment of all,” said Rick Bates, CEO of CWF. “Their unwavering dedication and passion serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the power of individual action. We are immensely grateful for their contributions and proud to recognize their outstanding efforts.” 

CWF presented the following awards on June 15 at a ceremony in Moncton, N.B.

  • Stan Hodgkiss Canadian Outdoorsperson of the Year Award:
    Heather Fraser of Stilesville, N.B. has enjoyed a 40-year career in forestry, fish, wildlife and environmental management. She taught outdoor science-based education, managed forest land and developed a model watershed stewardship program. She collaborated with private landowners and companies to conserve and protect natural resources. She runs a sugar bush operation and recently founded an outdoor guiding and education business called Explore Nature’s Bounty.

    “I want to share what I have learned with others as I build new nature ambassadors that will appreciate and care for the environment as I do,” she said.
  • Roland Michener Conservation Award for Conservation in Action:
    Ben Mitchell-Banks of Invermere, B.C. has dedicated his personal and professional life to conservation causes. Trained by the F.B.I., he worked in uniform and undercover with the B.C. Conservation Service and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). While no longer in enforcement, he continues to volunteer for many long-term conservation activities. This includes the Abel Creek Culvert Rehabilitation Project which provided kokanee salmon and Rainbow Trout with improved access to spawning habitat.

    “We need to rebuild and repair what we humans have degraded or destroyed; we owe this to the many generations that will follow us,” Mitchell-Banks said. “Many species are struggling to survive; what may seem like small changes and gains now will be seen as paying big dividends later.”
  • Roderick Haig-Brown Award for Conservation through Fisheries:
    Michael Fralic of Brooklyn, N.S. is president of the Medway River Salmon Association. He has engaged volunteers and corporate partners in many conservation activities along the river. From sludge clean ups to the monitoring of oxygen levels, pH levels and water clarity, he has been a tireless advocate for the restoration of the river.

    “I have always loved all places wild,” he said. “There are lots of issues and problems but there are solutions if everyone, including DFO, works together. It is unacceptable to do nothing.”
  • Wade Luzny Youth Conservation Award: Two Recipients:
    Adrea Reykdal of East Selkirk, Man. loves ice fishing, camping and helping wildlife. She built and installed a bird nesting box in her yard, she has volunteered to remove black knot, pick up trash and conduct bird surveys for Nightjars and nocturnal owls. She also transplants seedlings and has helped to plan events for youth such as ice fishing on the Red River with the CWF WILD Outside program for 15 to 18 year-olds.

    “Wildlife and nature give me an overall sense of calm and freedom,” she said. “There is no feeling that compares to waking up by a lake and hearing birds as you watch the sunrise.”

    Brayden Chatlain of Victoria, B.C. is a champion of CWF’s WILD Outside youth program for 15 to 18 year-olds. Through this program as well as through school and community groups, he’s helped with plant identification, invasive species removal, species monitoring, and native species planting. He also volunteers at a local non-profit aquarium, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, contributing to the efforts to strengthen Chinook Salmon population numbers.

    “Being outdoors has always been very important to me, and being able to couple that with environmental and conservation work has been a great way to give back to nature,” he said.

  • Youth Mentor Award:

Lisa Nadon of Breslau, Ont. is a paralegal who spends her free time volunteering with CWF’s WILD Outside teen conservation program. She plans events and activities to teach youth outdoor skills like camping and orienteering. She also volunteers with her local trail and recreation associations as well as tree planting group. Through these activities, she inspires others to enjoy and conserve nature and wildlife.

“Volunteering helps in countless ways, from helping in your community, to educating others about your passion or hobby, to connecting in your community and learning and growing as a person,” she said. “I love being outdoors. I love educating youth about nature and I love learning from them as well.”

  • Robert Bateman Award for Conservation in the Arts:
    Harrison Burton of Pine Grove, N.S. is an underwater cinematographer, filmmaker and aerial photographer who focuses on the health, well-being, and protection of aquatic environments. His credits include the award-winning documentary Expedition Nictau which explores the wonders and dilemmas facing the lake, located in a New Brunswick’s provincial park.

    “It’s my belief that visual storytelling and dive exploration, like the work we conducted in Nictau Lake, are a key step in inspiring people to both care and act on protecting these natural spaces for future generations,” he said.
  • WILD Educator of the Year Award:
    Crystal Roberts of Minto, N.B. is a senior experiential learning coordinator for a school district as well as a trained education facilitator with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. She grew up in rural Manitoba but moved to rural New Brunswick in 2019, initially teaching French Immersion before taking on her senior coordinator role in 2021. She uses CWF’s WILD Education program to empower other teachers in integrating outdoor learning into their curriculum.

    “I do my best to make sure that learning is fun, and it isn’t difficult to make it that way,” she said. “I want people to see how important this type of education is, but also how much curiosity it can inspire in students and educators.”

The recipients are featured in the July/August issue of Canadian Wildlife and Biosphère magazines.

CWF thanks all the nominees and nominators. Applications for the next Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards will be accepted from Nov. 1, 2024 to Jan. 31, 2025.

For more information, visit

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to conserving Canada’s wildlife and habitats for the use and enjoyment of all. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on wildlife and the environment, carrying out actions to conserve and restore species and habitats, developing and delivering conservation education programs, advocating for changes to government policy and programs, and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit


Heather Robison
Media and Community Relations Officer
613-599-9594 x 212


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Recognizing Outstanding Leadership for Wildlife and Habitat