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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:
- Engagement of youth in conservation initiatives.
- Enhancement of local, regional or provincial fish or wildlife populations through direct actions.
- Focus on community engagement and inspire others to act.
- Increased public education and awareness about conservation and the environment.
- Promotion of habitat conservation or land stewardship ethics.
- (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 (PDF, 231 KB)
Past award recipients
2015 award recipients
John Campbell Jr.
2008 award recipients
Dr. Charles Bird
2006 award recipients
Dr. Bob Fisher
2004 award recipients
Donald (Don) Andersen
Canadian Forces Base Suffield
2002 award recipients
Edgar & Jeanne Jones
Andrew (Andy) Russell
Bow River Irrigation District
2000 award recipients
Robert (Bob) Scammell
Phil & Helen Trefry
William (Bill) Wishart
1998 award recipients
Dr. Martin Paetz
Bow Habitat Station Core Committee
1995 award recipients
Trout Unlimited Canada
Special Minister's Award: Bull Trout Task Force
1993 award recipients
Dr. Darryl Smith
Eastern Irrigation District
Lethbridge Community College
Special Minister's Award: Lethbridge Community College
1991 award recipients
Cardinal River Coals Limited
Special Areas Board
Special Minister's Award: Federation of Alberta Naturalists
1990 award recipients
Ben & Toni Rosnau
Alberta Government Telephones
Special Minister's Award: Alberta Conservation Education Program
1989 award recipients
Ann & Sandy Cross
Special Minister's Award: Ducks Unlimited Canada
1987 award recipients
Joy and Cam Finlay
Brooks and District Fish & Game Association
1986 award recipients
Irvin & Irene Arndt
Lawrence D. Halmrast
Nyal Dee Hirsche
British Columbia Forest Products Ltd.
Calgary Zoological Society
1985 award recipients
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Shell Canada Resources Limited
Stony Plain Fish & Game Association
1984 award recipients
Robert & Jeannette Burns
Canadian Hunter Exploration Limited
1983 award recipients
Charlie & Winnie Ellis
Athabasca Fish & Game Association
1982 award recipients
Emma and W.G. Bowthorpe
J.B. (Jim) Cross
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
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