Silver Salamander Award Recipients

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Year Recipient Comments
2016 Dr. Anthony Braithwaite

Dr. Anthony Braithwaite (Tony) has been on the cutting edge of reptile research and conservation in Essex County for over 20 years, providing his expertise as a veterinarian to assist in reptile research. During this time, Tony has been at the forefront of surgical implantation of radio-transmitters into some of Ontario's most at-risk snake species. Beginning with snake projects on Pelee Island in the mid 90's, word of his expertise spread to other researchers,and he has now performed over 650 radio transmitter implant surgeries for several projects since that time. Tony has a love of wildlife and passion for conservation and he offers these services free of charge, and often works late into the night after his typical work day is over. His extensive volunteer efforts with snakes have included projects at Hillman Marsh, Ojibway Park, the City of Windsor, Point Pelee National Park, and Rondeau Provincial Park. Tony also donates veterinary expertise for a number of other wildlife projects,making him a true champion for wildlife, and very deserving of the Silver Salamander award.
2016 Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Dr. Sue Carstairs accepted the Silver Salamander Award on behalf of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC; home of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre). The OTTC is a registered charity that is unique in its scope and impact within the world of turtle conservation. The hospital is the only one of its kind in Ontario, if not Canada, that specializes in rehabilitating and releasing injured or ill native turtles found throughout Ontario. The OTCC treats almost 500 adult turtles and hatches out approximately 1000 eggs each season. By utilizing cutting-edge veterinary methods to return turtles into the wild, adult turtle mortality is mitigated. The impact is magnified by the support and training they provide to other centres throughout Canada, to encourage and mentor them while they address injuries on a smaller scale. The OTCC has a direct conservation impact for at-risk turtle species by not only carrying out treatment of injured turtles, but also through field research, head-starting, and education programs. For example, the OTTC radio-tracks both rehabilitated animals and captive-hatched juveniles upon release to assess their behavior and habitat use compared to wild individuals. Overall, the many programs carried out by the OTTC serve to address a multitude of threats to Ontario's turtles, and it is this multipronged approach that offers a significant contribution to turtle conservation in Canada.
2016 Bob Johnson

Few people can ignite passion for the natural world quite like Bob Johnson. As humble as he is committed, Bob has worked locally, nationally and internationally to kick-start a wide variety of community-based conservation projects to protect reptiles and amphibians wherever the need is greatest. He has had a truly remarkable career, having spent 41 years with the Toronto Zoo, making extraordinary contributions to conservation through his professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication. Bob is regarded as a visionary leader by wildlife managers and zoo professionals throughout North America for his pioneering efforts to develop model conservation programmes that resonate with local communities. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements has been the development of the Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme, an award winning programme established in 1991 that provides educators, students, land managers and community groups with stewardship resources and educational opportunities to protect, restore and conserve wetland habitats and biodiversity. The programme has blossomed into a large-scale stewardship effort with an expanded group of citizen science initiatives, including Ontario Turtle Tally and the Wetland Guardians Registry. These initiatives provide a valuable tool for people looking to connect with their local environment, with thousands of people participating every year. They fill in important knowledge gaps about animal populations and locations, and provide a tangible way for the public to take part in species conservation. In addition to its citizen science initiatives, research and monitoring projects, and species recovery programs, Adopt-A-Pond also delivers outreach and education programs to classrooms, professional networks and community groups throughout Ontario. The programme fosters respect and teamwork among staff, volunteers and partners to achieve mutual goals that benefit species and their habitats. Even in retirement Bob continues to inspire by serving in an advisory role on several key conservation projects. It is for the development of this outstanding programme that Bob Johnson received the Silver Salamander award in 2016.
2001 Nature Trust of New Brunswick

For their establishment of Hyla Park in 1995; this park was established to protect the most northeasternly population of the Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
2001 Ducks Unlimited

For their establishment of the Small Marsh Program; the goal of this program is to establish or enhance existing small wetlands.
2002 Dave Roberts
Manitoba Conservation

Dave Roberts (L) with Phil Johnson and Ken Erikson from Manitoba Hydro

In recognition of his important conservation efforts at the overwintering dens of the red-sided gartersnake, Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis, in Narcisse, Manitoba.
2002 Manitoba Hydro

Dave Roberts (L) with Phil Johnson and Ken Erikson from Manitoba Hydro

In recognition of the donation of volunteer time, expertise and equipment to install kilometres of drift fence and "snake tunnels" constructed under the highway at various locations along the migration corridor of the red-sided garter snake in the Interlake region of Manitoba.
2003 Ben Porchuk
Wilds of Pelee Island

In recognition of continued support for conservation of amphibians and reptiles on Pelee Island
2004 Laura Friis
British Columbia Ministry of Environment

Contribution to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Canada, through overseeing BC's Wildlife at Risk brochure series on amphibians and reptiles; involvement in many conservation programs for amphibians and reptiles, ranging from on-the-ground recovery projects for individual species, to establishing the BC Frogwatch program, to general advocacy for wetland conservation
2004 Steve Brechtel
Alberta Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development

Steve (L) with Dave Cunnington

Contribution to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Canada, through establishing the Alberta Northern Leopard Frog reintroduction project; also development of Albertan conservation initiatives such as the Volunteer Amphibian Monitoring Program, the "less official" snake den inventory, the Provincial Status Report series, and the Species at Risk brochure series
2005 Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

In recognition of the Rideau River Biodiversity Project
2005 Canadian Museum of Nature

2005 Dr. Frederick W. Schueler

In recognition of conducting more than two decades of "Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills"
2006 Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program

Doug Adama (R) with Dave Cunnington

In recognition of continued support for the recovery of the Southern Mountain population of the Northern Leopard Frog
2006 West Kootenay Community Ecosociety

Suzy Hamilton, Joanne Cohen & Gord McAdams

In recognition of commitment to the conservation of Painted Turtles in British Columbia
2006 Michael Rankin, In memory
Canadian Museum of Nature

In recognition of operating the Rideau River project "turtle hot line". A true friend of Canadian herpetology and a man with turtles in his heart
2007 Kids for Turtles, Peterborough, ON.

Kids 4 Turtles was the inspiration for the formation of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. This group of young conservationists, ages 3-10, raised almost $5,000 to purchase turtle crossing signs for Peterborough County. Their efforts have undoubtedly saved countless turtles by warning motorists to slow down and keep an eye out for turtles.
2009 Wakamow Valley Authority,
Moose Jaw, SK

Margaret Moran with Andy Didiuk

In recognition of Northern Leopard Frog conservation -A contribution to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Canada
2010 Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute
Kejimkujic National Park and National Historic Site

In recognition of Blanding's Turtle Nest Monitoring. The two organizations have worked together at protecting Blanding's Turtle nesting sites and raising awareness of their importance in the Park and the greater community around southwest Nova Scotia. Other species at risk they are involved with includes Eastern Ribbonsnake, particularly stewardship initiatives to protect them: Species at Risk Stewardship.
2011 Thunder Bay Field Naturalists

The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club is one of the earliest formed clubs in Ontario and is at the forefront of conservation and educational efforts in Northwestern Ontario. The club and its members have participated in several monitoring programs, its members contribute records to the OHS and Ontario Nature databases. Some of the club's past members have published papers in the herp literature. They have invited speakers in to talk about herps, conduct regular hikes highlighting frog breeding, and have acquired through purchase and donation numerous conservation reserves protecting over 3,000 ha. Currently some of its members are investigating ways of protecting western painted turtle nesting sites near Sturgeon Lake.
2012 BC Painted Turtle Working Group
Accepted by Purnima Govindarajulu

The Western Painted Turtle is a species of conservation concern in British Columbia and there are a number of efforts under way to conserve the species, decrease threats and restore and enhance habitats. The British Columbia Western Painted Turtle Working Group formed in 2009 as a way to share knowledge and resources, standardize survey and monitoring methodology, test and improve habitat restoration methods, collaborate on research, share public education and outreach materials, and collaborate on grant writing and fund raising proposals. Members come from diverse organizations including government agencies, non-government environmental groups, stewardship organizations, and academia. The group meets once or twice a year to coordinate projects/initiatives and sometimes hold training workshops. The group also serves as a source of expertise and rapid response if there are threats or issues concerning Western Painted Turtles in B.C. Looking forward, the group is hoping to host the first Western Painted Turtle survey blitz in B.C. on the World Turtle Day May 23rd, 2013.
2013 Centre d'information sur l'environnement de Longueuil (CIEL)

Scott Gillingwater (right) presenting Silver Salamander to Tommy Montpetit (left), who accepted the award on behalf of CIEL

The Silver Salamander award went to the Centre d'information sur l'environnement de Longueuil (CIEL) in recognition of their important contribution to Chorus Frog protection in the greater Montreal area.
2014 Alberta Amphibian and Reptile Specialist Group

Kris Kendell accepted this award for the Alberta Amphibian and Reptile Specialist Group (AARSG). The group is chaired by Alberta Conservation Association and consists of a network of scientists, biologists, educators and naturalists, representing government and non-government organizations that are dedicated to the study and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Alberta. The AARSG's vision is to share and promote knowledge and understanding of ecological and conservation issues facing Alberta's native amphibians and reptiles. For more information about the AARSC, visit the Alberta Conservation Association website
2015 Canadian Sea Turtle Network

Kathleen Martin, Executive Director of the Canadian Sea Turtle Network, accepted this award for the collaborative work of the CSTN with scientists, fishermen, and community members in protecting sea turtles, both within Canada and internationally.
2015 Department of National Defence

Deanna McCullum accepted this award for the efforts that she led with the Department of National Defence to protect Wood Turtle populations at Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.
2017 Doug Collicutt

The Silver Salamander Award is presented to an individual or an organization in recognition of a specific contribution to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Canada. This year, we were delighted to present the award to Doug Collicutt, for his contribution to the development of the Manitoba Herps Atlas. Doug has been an essential promoter of natural history in Manitoba, through contributions such as the "What's Outdoors" column in the Winnipeg Free Press and (Manitoba's online nature magazine). hosts the Manitoba Herps Atlas, giving all Manitobans a chance to contribute to the knowledge and conservation of Manitoba's reptiles and amphibians.
2018 Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre
Osoyoos, British Columbia

Christine Bishop (L) presenting SS award to Dana Eye (R) on behalf of Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre

The Silver Salamander award is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of a specific contribution to the conservation of amphibians and/or reptiles in Canada. This year, the CHS recognizes the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep), a state-of-the-art interpretive centre beautifully and sensitively constructed into a hillside in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre was established and is operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band, and has a long and outstanding history of support for herpetological research and conservation in the South Okanagan. They have facilitated, funded, and supported snake research conducted by award recipients Dr. Christine Bishop and Dr. Karl Larsen. The interpretative centre showcases to the public the herpetological species present on their lands (which includes Canada's only 'pocket desert'), both through live exhibits and presentations by interpreters and researchers. They have hosted an International Day of the Snake celebration each July 16th for the past three years, which includes walking tours with researchers, interpretative talks, and generally raising awareness of snakes and snake conservation issues.
2019 Ecomuseum Zoo
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC

The Silver Salamander award is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of a specific contribution to the conservation of amphibians and/or reptiles in Canada. This year, CHS recognizes the Ecomuseum Zoo for their long and outstanding support of herpetological research and conservation in Québec. The Ecomuseum, opened in 1988, with a goal of focusing the education, research, and conservation activities of the Saint-Lawrence Valley National Historic Society. As a major partner with the provincial government, the Ecomuseum Zoo supports and coordinates the Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles of Québec (AARQ), which acts as the information source for the Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec (CDPNQ) and informs the preparation of species status reports that help guide habitat conservation. Over the years, the Ecomuseum Zoo’s Research and Conservation team has led and assisted with projects on Northern Map Turtle, Eastern Musk Turtle, and Spiny Softshell populations, including the release of 475 softshell hatchlings incubated from eggs rescued from flooding at one of only two known nesting sites in Québec. In 2014, the Ecomuseum Zoo collaborated with the Biodôme de Montréal and the University of Ottawa to develop a captive breeding program for the Western Chorus Frog, which was listed as vulnerable in Québec in 2000 and has been subject to continued breeding habitat loss and fragmentation. The Ecomuseum Zoo continues to be instrumental in public outreach and education on reptile and amphibian conservation in Québec, producing publicly available guidebooks and information on practical conservation solutions.
2020 Joe Crowley
Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

This year the Silver Salamander award was presented Joe Crowley for his outstanding support of herpetological research and conservation in Canada and his unwavering dedication and achievements as a Board member of the Canadian Herpetological Society, and prior to this, the Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network (CARCNET). Joe is a Species at Risk Biologist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, where he provides science-based advice to assist in the implementation of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. He was also a key figure in the development of the widely successful Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) program, teaches an annual field course, travels nationally and internationally to observe and photograph reptiles and amphibians, and participates in conservation and research programs throughout the province. Joe is also a member of the COSEWIC Amphibian and Reptile Specialist Subcommittee and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group, among other conservation organizations and committees. With experience gained from all aspects of his academic, professional and personal life, CHS has benefitted from Joe’s dedication in ways most will never realize. A board member since its inception, Joe has served as a Director at Large, Secretary, Vice-President, President, and Past-President. He has provided oversight and direction to the Board of Directors and the membership; updated the society’s constitution and bylaws; led and supported the development of organizational policy and procedures; chaired or participated on all CHS committees; led the development of the society’s website, blog, and associated content; served as co-editor for the society’s publication, The Canadian Herpetologist; organized the annual conferences; and engaged and corresponded with the general membership, other societies, the public and sponsors. Reptiles and amphibians across Canada have and will continue to benefit from his tireless efforts, and he has taught us all the value of hard-work, dedication, and the patience to realize meaningful initiatives.
2022 Dr. Maureen Toner
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development

Dr. Maureen Toner was presented with the Silver Salamander Award in recognition of her long-term contributions to herpetofauna conservation, particularly Wood and Snapping Turtle, in the Province of New Brunswick. As a member of the Species at Risk Program in the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development with the New Brunswick provincial government, Maureen has been the lead manager for various herpetofauna, mainly wood turtle and snapping turtle, for over 30 years. She has been responsible for or heavily involved in all work with these species, including landowner contact, environmental impact assessment, public interaction, research, enforcement, and conservation. Maureen is the NB provincial representative on the Habitat Stewardship Program with CWS, the provincial representative on COSEWIC (2003-2011), Recovery Planning initiatives (2004 – present), and RENEW (2012-2015) [RENEW was the precursor for national recovery plans]. She has organized numerous meetings with stakeholders on wood turtle, and recently published: Browne, Constance L. and Maureen Toner. Open Standards Planning for Wood Turtle in New Brunswick. in American Turtle Observatory (ATO). 2016. Blanding’s and Wood Turtle Conservation Symposium, 2016. Westborough, MA. 28 pp.
2023 Scales Nature Park
Orillia, Ontario

Sarah Jane Stanger Guy (left), Jeff Hathaway (centre), Kelsey Moxley (right)

This year, the Silver Salamander Award was presented to Scales Nature Park in recognition of their extensive, long-term outreach and education efforts fostering the conservation of Canada's amphibians and reptiles and their habitats. The nature centre is home to the largest collection of native amphibian and reptile species in Canada. It provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see, learn about and connect with Canada’s native species and, in doing so, Scales is fostering much-needed support for the conservation of our native amphibians and reptiles. However, the nature centre is only the tip of the iceberg; Scales staff travel across Ontario, and sometimes other provinces, bringing live animals and their hands-on programming to classrooms, festivals, and public events of all types. The scope and magnitude of this programming is massive and reaches thousands of people across the province every year. Scales’ extensive education and outreach efforts have—without any doubt—been one of the major contributors to the positive shift we are finally seeing in public understanding and appreciation of amphibians and reptiles in the province. In adding to public education, Scales has also become an epicenter for training the next generation of Canada’s herpetologists. Staff, volunteers, students and collaborators receive intensive hands-on training and work experience in a variety of areas, including public outreach, animal care and a diversity of field skills. The magnitude of this contribution is unparalleled in Canada, with the number of individuals being trained in the field of herpetology each year numbering in the dozens. This mass-training of early career herpetologists has resulted in a huge influx of professional biologists across Canada with a specialized skill set and appreciation for Canada’s herpetofauna and their conservation needs.