WWF honours Parks Canada with Gift to the Earth award

WWF today conferred its highest honor on the federal agency – Gift to the Earth, in recognition of significant achievements, both past and planned.

(C) Ximena Salcedo/WWF-Canada

The prestigious award was bestowed at an event held in Ottawa’s grand old Chateau Laurier Hotel, with the Rideau Canal, Ottawa River and the Parliament Buildings as backdrop – a fitting setting for the grande dame of parks.
Environment Minister Peter Kent (also responsible for Parks Canada), along with Alan Latourelle, Parks Canada’s CEO, and WWF-Canada’s CEO and President Gerald Butts were joined by hundreds of celebrants.
Minister Kent, WWF’s Gerald Butts and Parks’ Alan Latourelle – (C) Parks Canada

The accolade recognizes PC’s creation of four globally outstanding areas since 2007 (totalling an area bigger than California) and the planned establishment of six more areas. These include precedent-setting achievements such as the world’s largest freshwater protected area (Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area); First Nations’ participation; world’s first protected area spanning mountain summits to deep sea bed (Gwaii Haanas in British Columbia); and the reintroduction of two endangered mammal species (plains bison and the rare black-footed ferret).
Minister Kent’s ferret tickles Mr. Latourelle – (C) Ximena Salcedo/WWF-Canada

Building on these achievements, Parks also announced today the enlargement of Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park.
(C) Ximena Salcedo/WWF-Canada

In effect, it’s Parks Canada and all Canadians who are giving this gift to the planet, by sharing this parks legacy with the world. In recognizing an action as a Gift to the Earth, WWF is highlighting both the environmental leadership and the inspiring conservation achievement contributing to the protection of the living world. More than 100 Gifts to the Earth have been recognized worldwide since 1996, each representing an important success within WWF’s Global Conservation Program.
Read our news release,  jointly issued with Parks Canada.

WWF-US and WWF-Canada conservation teams involved with the funding, research, and release of the Black-footed ferret celebrating at the release event at Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada, October 2, 2009 (c) WWF/Troy Fleece