Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An Advocate By Nature

By Cliff Wallis, Vice Chair, Nature Canada Board of Directors

From an early age, Cliff Wallis knew that the outdoors and nature interested him immensely. From camping trips in Waterton National Park to travelling around the province with his dad who was a service manager for farm equipment, he developed a love for the parklands and prairies of his newly adopted home – Alberta, Canada.

Later, graduating from the University of Calgary in zoology and botany, he was able to put his knowledge and passion to work with Alberta Parks – it was during this time that his growing awareness about the loss of grasslands sparked his involvement with conservation groups, like Nature Canada, advocating for nature and the environment.

Cliff has been involved with Nature Canada for many decades, both as a member and as a volunteer on its Board of Directors.  An ecologist by trade, he often acts as a science expert on the organization’s key conservation campaigns. For example, he has played a critical role in our efforts to protect the endangered Sage Grouse and secure much needed grasslands for their recovery.

“Canada hasn’t lost a bird species since the passenger pigeon in 1902.  I won’t accept that my daughter will be unable to witness the greater sage grouse’s amazing mating dance when she’s my age”

He has a strong track record of successes under his belt, from spearheading the designation of sites like Hay-Zama Lakes area in northern Alberta as a wildland park, securing Suffield as a National Wildlife Area, helping to strengthen environmental assessment through a historic win in the Supreme Court of Canada, and stopping the proposed Meridian Dam on the South Saskatchewan River to name a few.  He believes his success has come from a simple formula: combining science and passion with a strong dose of positive action.

Four decades later he is as enthusiastic and committed about making a difference for nature. He notes, “Change only happens with hard work, and a little bit of luck”.

Each and every member can make their own difference for nature. Cliff decided that he wanted his lifetime of conservation work to continue well after his time.  So he made a gift for Nature Canada’s future conservation and advocacy efforts in his Will, joining as a charter member of the Whittemore Legacy Circle.

"I want every Canadian to have the opportunity to experience nature the way that I have. We need a strong voice advocating for nature the way Nature Canada does. We can help to educate Canadians and to protect nature for our children and many generations to come by writing Nature Canada into our Wills today."

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