Parks Canada

Parks Canada

January 28, 2011 11:12 ET

National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, Wade Davis a New "Friend" of Gros Morne National Park


Editors Note: A photo for this release is available via Marketwire's website.

Dr. Wade Davis, currently an Explorer in Residence with the National Geographic Society, has accepted an invitation from the Gros Morne Co-operating Association to help support and raise the profile of the Co-op's work in fostering a positive and productive relationship with nearby national park communities, and was today named the honorary chair of the Association's Board of Directors.

Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. A veteran ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, Davis has been described as "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity."

Davis' work focuses on modern society's increasing sense of disconnect from nature, and on strategies for connecting people back to natural and protected spaces. A prolific author, he has written 13 books, including One River (1996), which was nominated for the 1997 Governor General's Literary Award, as well as The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986) and The Lost Amazon (2004). His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel.

Not only has Davis lectured extensively about his research around the globe, his work has also been the subject of more than 800 media reports and interviews, and has inspired numerous documentary films. In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures which were published as his latest book, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.

"The relationship that protected areas have with the communities surrounding them is very important," said Davis. "I have been learning about some of the results the Co-op has achieved in the Gros Morne region and I think some of the strategies they have developed are worth celebrating and sharing with others."

Chair of the Co-op's Board, Raymond Cusson, said that he considers Davis to be an extraordinary citizen of the world. "He has demonstrated passionate advocacy for protected areas and for the role natural spaces can play in peoples' overall well-being. Both he and his work have earned a tremendous amount of international respect.

"We heartily welcome Dr. Davis' involvement with our "friends of the park" organization and look forward to working with him to continue to build Gros Morne's international profile. This is most appropriate given the park's UNESCO World Heritage status," added Cusson.

"What we have today," said Colleen Kennedy, Executive Director of the Co-op, "is a relationship between the national park and communities that just gets more mutually productive over time." She added, "We have come to recognize a lot of common ground between us."

The Association supports Parks Canada in protecting all those things that are considered special about Gros Morne for future generations, and to work with others in the region to develop a destination that really wows its visitors by helping them to connect with the place in ways that are meaningful to them. "By working closely with Parks Canada, we are able to help communities benefit from the national park's existence, and ultimately, that can play a role in helping to sustain them environmentally, socially and economically."

Since its beginnings nearly 20 years ago, the Gros Morne Co-op has made a substantial contribution to community and economic development in the national park region. It has been responsible for a direct and indirect investment of some $20 million. Its three permanent and 35 seasonal staff members are engaged in such activities as the management of the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism, working with the business community to market the region, and developing and operating facilities like the swimming pool, the park-wide system of cross-country ski trails, as well as visitor facility gift shops. Additionally, they co-ordinate the support the Association lends to various community events as well as its involvement in educational programming in provincial schools. The Co-op is also the support behind the publication of many high-quality materials that tell story of the national park, and it is the project management force behind several public/private partnership undertakings such as the construction of Memorial University's Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point. As a non-profit association, all of the Co-op's earnings are re-invested in park and community programs and projects.

According to Jeff Anderson, Parks Canada's Field Unit Superintendent in Western Newfoundland and Labrador, the Co-op's invitation to Dr. Davis to be associated with its board is yet another example of the type of partnership network that the Co-op is helping to build in and for the Gros Morne region. "This is a highly effective "friends" group," said Anderson, "and I look forward to a dynamic association with its new honorary chair."

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Contact Information

  • Raymond Cusson
    Chair, Gros Morne Co-operating Association