Blue Racer Award Recipients

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Year Recipient Comments
2001 Dr. Francis Cook


Canadian Museum of Nature

Dr. Cook (left) with Christine Bishop

2002 Dr William (Bill) B. Preston


Manitoba Museum



2003 Robert R. Johnson


Toronto Zoo, Curator of Amphibians

Robert R. Johnson (L) with Ben Porchuk (M) & David Galbraith (R)

2005 Dr. Ronald J. Brooks


University of Guelph



2006 Dr. Patrick T. Gregory


University of Victoria

Pat (R) with Ron Brooks

2007 Dr. David M. Green


McGill University

Dave(R) with Ron Brooks (L) and Pat Gregory (M)

2010 Dr. John Gilhen


Curator Emeritus of the Nova Scotia Museum



In recognition of his continuing contribution to public understanding of the issues of amphibian decline, the importance of amphibians to aquatic ecosystems and the status of the wood turtle in Nova Scotia through his publications in broadly accessible nature magazines and lectures to the general public and amateur specialist groups. His annual spring "salamander meander" has been an annual public program through the Nova Scotia Museum for 27 years!

His 1984 volume, the Amphibians and Reptiles of Nova Scotia, remains the definitive work on the 24 species then known to occur in the province (one has since been added).

Full citation is available here
2011 Wayne Weller






Wayne Weller of Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for both his private and professional efforts to map and monitor the diversity of herps in Ontario. Wayne was one of the co-founders (with Mike Oldham) of the Ontario Herp Summary, the largest herp atlas in the world. He continues to work and add to this database and remains one of the biggest contributors of records to the project. Wayne spends more personal time than any other non-professional herpetologist that I know in the field documenting species occurrence records. Most occurrence records for Northern Ontario were contributed by Wayne. Through his employment, Wayne has risen to become a senior environmental scientist with OPG and he continues to strive to have his employer consider Herp SAR and to institute monitoring programs at its generating stations. Wayne has also collaborated or assisted many of us in our own research and conservation efforts and has managed to keep publishing despite being engaged in other environmental duties. He is a long-standing CARCNET member and conference attendee.
2012 Dr. Jim Bogart


University of Guelph



2013 Dr. Roger Bider

McGill University



Dr Roger Bider was honored posthumously with the Blue Racer award for his career achievements, which include his pioneering work and devotion to the conservation and research of amphibians and reptiles in Quebec. Dr. Bider was a professor at McGill University and founded the Ecomuseum zoo, a well-recognised organization known for research, conservation and education projects on amphibian and reptiles in Quebec.
2014 Dr. Tom Herman

Acadia University



Dr. Herman is a Professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Dr. Herman has authored or co-authored more than 50 refereed publications, presented more than 70 papers at professional conferences around the world, and generated more than $1.3 million in external and contract research funding. Dr. Herman is a Past President of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, President of the Science and Management of Protected Areas Association, and Vice-Chair of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute. He sits on several national and regional advisory committees on endangered biodiversity, as well as the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Environmental Science Network and the Offshore Energy Environmental Research Association. In Nova Scotia, he is perhaps best known for his work in and around Kejimkujik National Park on recovery efforts for the endangered Blanding's Turtle. Dr. Herman, his colleagues, students and community volunteers have worked to preserve and restore the habitat of this unique species through a campaign of public education and stewardship. Throughout his career, Dr. Herman has actively promoted environmental awareness, citizen science, and community engagement.
2015 Dr. Steve Hecnar

Lakehead University



Dr. Stephen J. Hecnar was presented with the Blue Racer Award in recognition of his outstanding life-long contributions to applied reptile and amphibian research and conservation in Canada. Dr. Hecnar is a Professor of Biology at Lakehead University in Ontario. He has over thirty years of herpetological research experience and over 100 published research contributions. Dr. Hecnar's dedication to long-term studies of Five-lined Skink and amphibian populations in southwestern Ontario has revealed information on landscape-scale processes and long-term population dynamics that is invaluable to the management and conservation of these species. Dr. Hecnar has been actively involved in reptile and amphibian conservation throughout his career, including serving as a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada Reptile and Amphibian Species Subcommittee and on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Herpetological Society. Dr. Hecnar has also been an inspiration to many students that have pursued careers in reptile and amphibian conservation, as was evident during the presentation of this award by Dr. Connie Browne, one of Steve's former students.
2016 Dr. Jacqueline D. Litzgus


Laurentian University

Dr. Jacqueline D. Litzgus was presented with the Blue Racer Award in recognition of significant contributions to reptile and amphibian research and conservation in Canada. Dr. Litzgus is a professor at Laurentian University in Ontario. She has established Laurentian University as an entirely new and respected centre of regional and Canadian herpetology. Her research program combines field and lab-based approaches, and basic and applied science. Projects in her lab address questions in the areas of evolutionary ecology and conservation biology of reptiles, including examination of the adaptive significance of life-history variation, and the application of these data to mitigation andrecoveryactions for Canada's reptiles at risk.Dr. Litzgus is a member of the CHS Board of Directors and the COSEWIC Amphibians and Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee, co-editor of The Canadian Herpetologist, and member of various recovery teams and research and conservation committees. Dr. Litzgus has mentored many talented undergraduate and graduate students, and has created what amounts to an entirely new generation of well-trained, theoretically grounded, methodologically competent, communication-savvy educators, managers, and researchers. The groundwork she has laid through a critical mass of published research and student mentoring augers well for the future of the discipline in Canada, and will likely inspire others to take up the same torch. As such, her cumulative contributions have far exceeded typical expectations of the short time-frame in which they occurred.