By Margaret Skeel (Chair, Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas Steering Committee) and Ellen Jakubowski (Communications Specialist, Bird Studies Canada)
Al Smith (left) and Dan Sawatzky (right) Photo: Andy Didiuk
Congratulations to Alan (Al) Smith on his receiving the 2018 Ludlow Griscom Award from the American Birding Association! This award is in recognition of “an individual who has dramatically advanced the state of ornithology in a particular region.” Previous recipients include Roger Tory Peterson, Chandler Robbins, and Ken Kaufman. Dan Sawatzky, who nominated Al, made the presentation in Avonlea, SK, on 13 October.
Al has been dedicated to the pursuit of advancing knowledge about and interest in birds in Saskatchewan over many decades. This has included numerous valuable contributions to Bird Studies Canada’s Citizen Science programs. Al has participated in the Christmas Bird Count for over 50 years and has served as the CBC Coordinator for Saskatchewan. He has also lent his time and talents to the Saskatchewan Nocturnal Owl Survey and breeding bird atlas projects. Al recently retired from Bird Studies Canada’s Board of Directors after serving since September 2015.
Al is the author of The Atlas of Saskatchewan Birds; co-author of the recently published Best Places to Bird in the Prairies; and senior co-editor of the new Birds of Saskatchewan, which will be available in early 2019. Al established the Last Mountain Bird Observatory in 1989 for bird monitoring and education, and continues to manage it.
Congratulations, Al, on this well-deserved honour! Thank you for helping us all better understand, appreciate, and conserve Saskatchewan’s birds.