Parks Canada recently honoured Dr. Tom Herman with its highest award for volunteerism and conservation - the Key to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada.
"Dr. Tom Herman has been a prominent figure in the Kejimkujik area for many years. His leadership and ability to empower students and average citizens, alike, created the fertile ground to build a broad-based conservation program for the region," said Dr. Stephen Flemming, an ecosystem scientist with Parks Canada Agency.
He adds that in addition to decades of active research, Dr. Herman was instrumental in the formation of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and helped to build the conservation movement in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.
"He continues to be an inspiration to many that have taken up his cause," added Dr. Flemming. "Several species at risk, including Tom's beloved Blanding's turtle, are the beneficiaries of this conservation groundswell. If that were not enough, Tom continues to contribute his volunteer time to this effort, leading by example, as he has always done."
In accepting the award, Dr. Herman thanked the organization and the people involved in volunteering. "Parks Canada has created an extraordinary environment at Keji to encourage and foster stewardship of species and landscapes at risk." he said. "The response of the community has been overwhelming, and I applaud the efforts of so many, many volunteers - it is an honour to be part of such a great movement."
Dr. Herman serves as Acadia University's Vice-President, Academic, and has enjoyed a long career as a researcher and conservationist.
"Acadia is very fortunate to have an academic leader of Tom's calibre," said Mr. Ray Ivany, Acadia's President and Vice-Chancellor. "This award honours more than his volunteer efforts; it is a recognition of his life's work and the passion he brings to his research and shares so generously with our colleagues, students, and the community."
The award was presented December 5 during the fourth annual Volunteer Appreciation Night for the Greater Kejimkujik Ecosystem, which is one of the largest volunteer contributions to conservation in Canada, with more than 10,000 volunteer hours logged this year.