Cliff Bennett of Carleton Place, Ontario is the recipient of the Canadian Wildlife Federation 2014 Stan Hodgkiss Canadian Outdoorsperson of the Year award, in recognition of Canadian outdoorspeople who have demonstrated an active commitment to conservation.
A lifelong naturalist, Bennett first began learning about the outdoors as a child in the 1930s, when his father would take him on nature walks. Later in life, he became a teacher and introduced nature as a key theme in his work with children with learning disabilities.
In the community, Bennett was a founding member of Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists in 1988 and led the development of various activities, including the group’s environmental education program, its international outings program and a canoeing program. Bennett also served in local government as a municipal councillor and deputy mayor. During that time, he led the process that created a community-developed official plan — the first of its kind in Ontario — which established many policies aimed at protecting natural assets, such as wetlands and forests.
Bennett has received many awards over his career. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists also honours his contributions with the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund, which supports local post-secondary students involved in nature or environment studies. He also remains active in the cause of conservation, leading nature walks, organizing birding trips for the community and writing columns for the local newspaper.
“Cliff Bennett’s story is as inspiring as they come. Cliff’s ability to incorporate nature with education activities is award worthy,” says Wade Luzny, CWF CEO and Executive Vice-President. “This is what’s great about our Conservation Achievement Awards. We get to celebrate and award volunteers, professionals, youth and conservationists from all walks of life who care about our natural world.”
Every year, the Canadian Wildlife Federation recognizes Canada’s most-deserving conservationists through its Conservation Achievement Awards. The awards pay tribute to individuals and groups who have made exemplary contributions in the area of wildlife and habitat conservation and education. The awards will be presented at the Canadian Wildlife Federation Awards Banquet on Saturday, June 7th in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.