Science Ambassador Award Winners


Dr. Jeremy Kerr 2018
 Dr. Kerr has devoted his career to engaging the public and policy makers around the excitement and value of nature and biodiversity. He has brought science, and especially global change biology and conservation science, into the lives of Canadians thanks to his high profile scientific discoveries, leading to globally impactful papers in journals like Science. Popularly known as the “butterfly guy” in some CBC broadcasts, his contributions to citizen science have had wide-ranging impacts on public awareness of conservation issues, especially for pollinators, like bees and butterflies. Dr. Kerr is a driving force behind landmark national and international efforts around continent-wide conservation in North America, bringing together communities of citizen scientists of all ages to search for butterflies and bumblebees everywhere.  Dr. Kerr’s is a well-known research leader, publishing work around bumblebees, climate change, and pesticides in high impact factors journals Jeremy Kerr
 Dr. Stephen Lougheed 2017

Prof. Stephen Lougheed is currently a professor at Queen’s University in the Department of Biology as well as serving the position of Director of the Queen’s University Biology Station (QUBS). His research studies how genetic structure and adaptation of animal populations are affected by abiotic and biotic factors. Dr. Lougheed works to raise public awareness of the importance of science in Canada and around the world exemplified by his engagements with the public in his many visits to China and other countries. His commitment is highlighted in his ambitious pilot of a weeklong QUBS environmental camp for over 50 youth from Beijing. His dedication to Canadian conservation has led to awards such as a recent $9.2M from Genome Canada and other partners to track the impact of climate change on Polar bears, using an innovative non-invasive fecal-based biomarker toolkit. Amongst his other great achievements, Prof. Lougheed is responsible for establishing the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. It includes 400 hectares of protected forest and a private lake, and is a unique venue for outreach and education in biodiversity; providing Eco-Adventure Camp for youth 10-14, and hands-on field focused programming, among others.

 2017 - Lougheed
 Dr. William A. Montevecchi  2016

University Research Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Bill Montevecchi leads an interdisciplinary program on seabird behavioral ecology, probing their responses to environmental change and perturbation.  As Olympian survivors, seabirds are exploited as messengers of changing environmental conditions and degradation.  Students drive the research endeavors.  Micro-technology provides the tools to address previously insurmountable questions.  By tracking seabirds throughout the ocean, multispecies hotspots are identified leading to better understanding of ocean habitat vulnerability and resiliency.  We too are ocean messengers using seabirds to engage public discourse, to exchange information and to promote conservation initiatives. Research support by NSERC, DFO, CWS, USFWS.

2016 - Montevecchi
 Dr. Brock Fenton

M.B. (Brock) Fenton is a biologist who studies the biology of bats.  He is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biology at Western University where he continues to teach and to study bats.  People’s fascination with bats has made it easy for Brock to use these animals to illustrate how basic animal research advances knowledge.  The technical side of bats, their ability to “see with sound,” allows people to appreciate how we can learn from bats. Learning how vampire bats thwart the clotting mechanisms in the blood of their prey can provide medical benefits.

2015 Fenton
 Professor Jeremy McNeil  2014

Professor Jeremy McNeil, Helen I Battle Professor at Western University, and recipient of the Science Ambassador Award. Professor Jeremy McNeil has received a number of national and international awards for his research, including the Gold Medal from the Entomological Society of Canada, the Fry Medal of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, a Humboldt Prize and the Silver Medal of the International Society of Chemical Ecology. He has been active in scientific outreach for over 30 years, regularly giving talks in schools, libraries, and nature clubs.

2014 - McNeil
 Dr. John Smol  2013

Dr. John Smol, Professor, Department of Biology at Queen’s University and winner of the Science Ambassador Award says, “To a large extent, the public pays for the science we do. As scientists we often hear from our colleagues that the public does not care about what we do. I believe most citizens do care and are very interested in science, but the onus is on us to get these messages across. For a democracy to function effectively, we need an informed and an engaged public, and scientists can help bring this about.”

2013 - Smol