This is where members of OERS are given the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on major issues involving marine mammals, the environment, and current and past government policies.
Recognition of OERS
OERS Education Director Wins Teaching Award
Carin Wittnich, OERS Education Director, has received the 2008 Undergraduate Teaching Award from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. This award was given to Carin as a professor within the faculty for her work in creating new undergraduate courses at the university thereby exciting expanding the opportunities for undergraduate students to learn new subjects. The award was based on the student evaluations and comments concerning her ability to present the course content in her unique style. When teaching her two most favorite topics-physiology and marine mammals- Carin has a passion and energy which never fails to infect her students and has them wanting to learn more.The award specifically focused on Carin’s development of the first ever Department of Physiology field course in marine mammal physiology and a third year course dealing with the comparative physiology of diving adaptations in marine mammals. She has been teaching acourse on the ecology, biology and physiology of marine mammals within another department for 3 years now. However, due to being inundated with requests from science students, she has developed another more intensive course dealing with marine mammal physiology which will be commencing in the winter of 2009. In total Carin has created and runs 4 separate courses dealing with marine mammal physiology or ecology.
OERS has been happy to aassist with these efforts by gladly supplying teaching materials and ‘hands-on’ specimens and sharing invited guest lecturers from its own education initiatives. This award is further proof of the professionalism, dedication and expertise that OERS is prepared to share with everyone. OERS is extremely proud of Carin for winning this award and of her ongoing achievements in spreading the interest and knowledge in the little studied field of marine mammals.
Mr. Michael Belanger President and Director of OERS received the 15 year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for his self-less work with OERS. He was recognized at the awards ceremony in Barrie, Ontario in October.
Dr Carin Wittnich Vice –President and Director of OERS received the 15 year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for her work with OERS. She was recognized at the awards ceremony in Barrie, Ontario in October.
2 OERS Directors Are Granted Membership into the IUCN- Otter Specialist Group!
OERS Directors, Dr Carin Wittnich and Mike Belanger, have both been invited to become Affiliate Members of the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Species Survival Commission (SSC)-Otter Specialist Group (OSG). The letter of invitation describes the IUCN’s SSC as being “a global, science-based network of thousands of volunteer experts, working together towards achieving the vision of “A world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity”. The major role of the SSC is to provide information to the IUCN on the conservation of species and on the inherent value of species…”. The OSG provides leadership towards the conservation of every species of otters, reviews and determines their needs, and promotes their management.
Being the only 2 Canadians presently within the Otter Specialist Group (with a third to be named shortly), Carin and Mike are both extremely pleased at having been invited, which recognizes their long term commitment to both the conservation of otters and preservation of biodiversity. OERS President Mike gave credit to the work of everyone within the organization. “I am deeply honored at having been asked to join the IUCN’s Otter Specialist Group as it recognizes the efforts of everyone who has played a role into making OERS the organization it is today”. Carin, OERS Vice President, expressed her pleasure when she found out. “I was very humbled and honored to receive notice that the Species Survival Commission had appointed me and Mike as OSG Affiliate members. Their recognizing us as having long term commitment towards the conservation of otters is wonderful and especially as we are only 2 of 3 Canadians so listed at present. I take this responsibility very seriously and look forward to working with the OSG group towards their goals.”.
Mr. Karim Bandali received the 5 year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for his work with OERS. He was recognized at the awards ceremony in Scarborough, Ontario in November.
Ms. Nesime Askin received the 5 year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for her work with OERS. She was recognized at the awards ceremony in Toronto, Ontario in December.
Mr. Michael Belanger received the Outstanding Achievement Award for Volunteerism (click) given by the Ministry of Citizenship for what the review committee felt was an impressive lifetime volunteering effort and his initiatives in helping marine animals.
Details on this award can be found at www.awardsandhonors.gov.on.ca. The award was given to Mike by the Honorable Carl DeFaria, Minister of Citizenship, at an awards ceremony at the North York Theatre of Fine Arts in December. Mike was the only awardee that year to be recognized for environmental efforts.
Mr. William Jack Wallen received the 5 year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for his work with OERS. He was recognized at the awards ceremony in Toronto, Ontario in December.
Mr. Michael Belanger President and Director of OERS received the 10 Year Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario for his work with OERS.
At the awards ceremony in November in Barrie Ontario, it was noted that Mike was representing the only environmental group to receive the service award that year. Yea Mike. Joe Tascona congratulated him personally for his efforts in this area.
Dr. Carin Wittnich, one of OERS’s Directors and Senior Scientist was invested with the Order of Ontario for her work in promoting awareness and education of heart disease in women and children by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, her Honour Hiliary Westin, at a ceremony at the Ontario legislature on December 4th, 2001.
Details on this award and her efforts can be found here. This was followed by a black tie dinner at the Royal York Hotel, at which she had the distinct honor to be asked to be the valedictorian. Her speech emphasized how we can all make a difference and Dr. Wittnich also took the opportunity to introduce OERS and make a plea for the marine environment. The audience was extremely appreciative.