CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 10, 2012) - Five deserving Albertans were awarded today in Calgary with The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for their contributions to conservation and their work with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). The medal serves to honour contributions and achievements made by Canadians who represent the full breadth of our society.
DUC, as a national conservation leader, was given the privilege by the Government of Canada to nominate worthy individuals as recipients of the medal. An extensive national search and selection process was undertaken by the Nominating Committee of DUC's Board of Directors. Thirty Canadians from across the country have been nominated by DUC and will be recognized by the organization at ceremonies in their local areas over the coming months.
"Ducks Unlimited Canada was honoured to be able to nominate outstanding Canadians for this prestigious medal," said Jack Hole, Chairman of the DUC Board and Nominating Committee. "The five proud Albertans we are recognizing today are great leaders, passionate conservationists and true friends to Canada's conservation community. Through their support of Ducks Unlimited Canada and other worthy organizations, all have made tremendous contributions to wetlands, waterfowl and the overall health of the environment."
A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.
Those recognized today include: Mel Belich, David Bissett, Richard (Dick) Bonnycastle, and Bill Turnbull from Calgary, as well as Neil Downey from Red Deer.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at www.ducks.ca.
Medal Recipient Biographies
Mel Belich has been an active and committed volunteer with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) since 1976, serving as President and later Chairman for the organization from 2001 to 2004. He continues to provide passionate leadership as a national Board member and Senior Provincial Director for the province of Alberta. He is also a long-time organizer of the prestigious and highly successful DUC Calgary Dinner.
David Bissett is a distinguished business leader and is well known for his philanthropic support of education, community, cultural and wildlife organizations. In 2011, he made a remarkable individual donation of two million dollars to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), which established the David Bissett Sportsmen's Legacy Fund. The fund ensures prime upland game bird and waterfowl habitat in southern Alberta is maintained and managed in perpetuity. Bissett is also a founding member of the DUC Calgary Dinner Committee and has been a long-standing supporter for over 30 years.
Richard (Dick) Bonnycastle
Dick Bonnycastle is a true conservationist in every way, having lent his support to several important and deserving organizations. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is extremely fortunate to have benefited from his tremendous scientific knowledge and foresight. Bonnycastle was chairman of DUC's Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research from 1985 to 1990, and also shared his time and talents as a national Board member. Book publishing has long been both a business and an abiding personal interest for Bonnycastle. His generosity to DUC has included underwriting the costs of publishing three significant books - the most recent being The Marsh Keepers Journey - The story of Ducks Unlimited Canada, which commemorates DUC's 75th anniversary.
Neil Downey has been volunteering with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) since 1981. His passion and commitment to the cause shone through during his term as President and later Chairman of the organization from 2007 to 2011. Downey continues to be an inspiring conservationist through his role as a national Board member - and particularly as the chair of DUC's 75th anniversary steering committee.
Bill Turnbull has a strong and diverse background in the field of wildlife conservation. He is a highly skilled fundraiser and has organized several extremely successful events for Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) in Alberta and beyond. Serving as President and later Chairman in the years from 1994 to 1999, his leadership and conservation prowess helped advance DUC's mission and continental conservation efforts. He was also instrumental in establishing DUC's head office at Oak Hammock Marsh in Manitoba, which is now a world-class interpretive and visitor center. Turnbull continues to deepen his conservation legacy as an honorary Board member for DUC.