Order of the Bighorn

Nominate a youth or adult whose outstanding volunteer efforts advance conservation in Alberta.


Volunteer conservation efforts have significant positive local, regional and provincial impacts and are an inspiration to their communities.

Established in 1982, the Order of the Bighorn recognizes Albertans for their exceptional volunteer efforts towards fish, wildlife and habitat conservation. Since its inception, the award has honoured 114 individuals and organizations for their contributions. In addition to recognition, winners receive the distinguished Bighorn sheep bronzed bust. The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep is Alberta’s official mammal, embodying the diverse wildlife and resources of the province.

The awards also acknowledge the importance of ongoing stewardship of our natural resources. Members of the Order of the Bighorn have distinguished themselves and enriched the lives of all Albertans through their commitment to the environment and Alberta’s world-renowned fish and wildlife.

To celebrate Alberta Environment and Parks’ 50th anniversary in 2021, the department resumed the Order of the Bighorn. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, the awards will be held every 2 years.


The public nominate individuals who have made significant voluntary contributions towards fish, wildlife and habitat conservation in Alberta. Nominations are submitted via mail or email.

Nominees must demonstrate outstanding volunteer efforts in one of these award categories:

  1. Engagement of youth in conservation initiatives.
  2. Enhancement of local, regional or provincial fish or wildlife populations through direct actions.
  3. Focus on community engagement and inspire others to act.
  4. Increased public education and awareness about conservation and the environment.
  5. Promotion of habitat conservation or land stewardship ethics.
  6. (NEW) Demonstration of conservation by Albertans under 18 years of age.

These volunteer efforts should:

  • focus on collaboration and building partnerships
  • demonstrate vision and/or leadership
  • inspire and influence others
  • demonstrate long-term involvement or commitment to volunteer efforts
  • result in tangible outcomes that benefit native fish, wildlife and habitats

After nominations are received, an award jury reviews all applications and recommends recipients to the department.

2021 Award recipients

2021 award recipients are:

  • Calvin Rakach
  • Gerry Hurley
  • Heinz Plontke
  • Dr. Jim Smith
  • Dr. Rex Coupland

Find out more: 2021 Order of the Bighorn Recipients – Biographies.

Past award recipients

  • 2015 award recipients

    Bazil Leonard

    Gottlob Schmidt

    John Campbell Jr.

    Maurice Nadeau

    Tim Dietzler

    Tom Partello

  • 2008 award recipients

    Tom Bateman

    Dr. Charles Bird

    Neil Downey

    Merv Kopperud

    Kelly Semple

  • 2006 award recipients

    Kim Allan

    Jay Bartsch

    Tony Blake

    Rod Dyck

    Dr. Bob Fisher

    Jim Potter

  • 2004 award recipients

    Donald (Don) Andersen

    Garry Hackler

    Ed Scarlett

    Ryk Visscher

    Canadian Forces Base Suffield

  • 2002 award recipients

    Edgar & Jeanne Jones

    Murray MacKay

    Dave Powell

    Norman Rodseth

    Andrew (Andy) Russell

    William Turnbull

    Bow River Irrigation District

  • 2000 award recipients

    Ray Cromie

    George Loades

    Robert (Bob) Scammell

    Robert Tanghe

    Phil & Helen Trefry

    William (Bill) Wishart

  • 1998 award recipients

    Bob Gruszecki

    Darryl Hebert

    Bruce Masterman

    Barry Mitchell

    Dr. Martin Paetz

    Bow Habitat Station Core Committee

  • 1995 award recipients

    Gavin Craig

    Westwind Flyfishers

    George Freeman

    Lew Ramstead

    Trout Unlimited Canada

    Special Minister's Award: Bull Trout Task Force

  • 1993 award recipients

    Alex Kurash

    Dr. Darryl Smith

    Ralph Schmidt

    Eastern Irrigation District

    Strathcona County

    Lethbridge Community College

    Special Minister's Award: Lethbridge Community College

  • 1991 award recipients

    Metro Hawaleshka

    Carol Kelly

    Oswald Schalm

    Cardinal River Coals Limited

    Special Areas Board

    Special Minister's Award: Federation of Alberta Naturalists

  • 1990 award recipients

    Ken Kultgen

    Elmer Kure

    Bob Neufeld

    Ben & Toni Rosnau

    Alberta Government Telephones

    Special Minister's Award: Alberta Conservation Education Program

  • 1989 award recipients

    Louis Bartle

    Ann & Sandy Cross

    Frank Lafoy

    Wendy Slaytor

    Colin Weir

    Special Minister's Award: Ducks Unlimited Canada

  • 1987 award recipients

    Bryce Chase

    Reinhold Eben-Ebenau

    Joy and Cam Finlay

    Norris Gray

    Kerry Wood

    Brooks and District Fish & Game Association

  • 1986 award recipients

    Irvin & Irene Arndt

    Ted Blowers

    Lawrence D. Halmrast

    Nyal Dee Hirsche

    British Columbia Forest Products Ltd.

    Calgary Zoological Society

  • 1985 award recipients

    Garnet Anthony

    John Overguard

    Vic Scheuerman

    Lloyd Shea

    Ducks Unlimited Canada

    Shell Canada Resources Limited

    Stony Plain Fish & Game Association

  • 1984 award recipients

    Robert & Jeannette Burns

    August Peters

    Ray Salt

    Miles Smeeton

    Canadian Hunter Exploration Limited

  • 1983 award recipients

    Alva Bair

    Charlie & Winnie Ellis

    George Mitchell

    Helen Ridgeway

    Athabasca Fish & Game Association

  • 1982 award recipients

    Emma and W.G. Bowthorpe

    J.B. (Jim) Cross

    Archie Hogg

    C.E. (Curly) Wren

    Alberta Fish & Game Association


Connect with awards program staff:

Email: [email protected]

Order of the Bighorn awards
Fish and Wildlife Stewardship
6th Floor Forestry Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2M4