A few weeks ago, Rose De Clerke-Floate wrote a post about her experiences as the Chair of the ESC Achievement Awards Committee and announced the recipients of the Gold Medal and the C. Gordon Hewitt Award. Today, she announces additional honours bestowed upon more of our valued members.

We applaud the following worthy members of the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) whom are to be made Fellows of our Society in recognition of their major contributions to entomology.

Dr. Robb Bennett

Dr Robb Bennett is exemplary in his scientific contributions and dedicated service to entomology in Canada. As an entomologist with the British Columbia (B.C.) Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (1992-2010), he created and expanded a major research program in cone and seed pest management that had international collaborative spread and influence. His successful lobbying for provincial support garnered $400,000 in annual funding and the establishment of the Pest Management Technical Advisory Committee of the B.C. Forest Genetics Council, which he initially chaired (2003-2010). During this period, his participation was critical for ground-breaking research that produced the first ever description of a cecidomyiid fly pheromone (named “Bennettin” in recognition of his work), and the use of infrared radiation by a herbivore in host-finding (Leptoglossus occidentalis). Dr Bennett also is highly respected as one of Canada’s leading spider systematists, and has shared this expertise through volunteer curation of the spider collections at the Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria), where he is a Research Associate, and the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (Ottawa) (CNC). The results of his scientific efforts are 45 peer-reviewed papers, 44 technical publications, 3 on-line arthropod identification guides, and the mentoring of many undergraduate and graduate students. He also has been an active advocate in conservation entomology where he has volunteered on various committees as a Specialist, Member or Chair: for example, B.C. Ministry of Environment Invertebrates-at-Risk Team (2001-06), Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Arthropods Specialists Subcommittee (2006-present). Of particular note have been his contributions to the ESC, for which he has served on several committees starting in 1998 and as Editor-in-Chief of The Canadian Entomologist (TCE) (2007-11). In the latter role, he is to be commended especially for elevating the quality of the journal, thereby setting a solid stage for its move to electronic publication and a new publisher.

Dr. Gary Gibson

Dr Gary Gibson is internationally respected for his research contributions in the taxonomy and systematics of the Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera), contributing significantly to our understanding of the evolution, morphology and systematics of this group of parasitoid wasps for over 30 years. During his productive career as a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Ottawa, the taxonomy of numerous chalcidoid taxa has been stabilized and unified for use by others, particularly those involved in pest management research. He has long been committed to providing taxonomic support in the identification of parasitoids for use as biological control agents against insect pests affecting some of Canada’s major agricultural industries (e.g., canola, dairy and beef). His publication record of 59 refereed papers, 19 books and book chapters, and numerous technology transfer articles, including on the internet, has allowed a broad outreach of his valuable research. Particularly notable is his leadership in being one of the first to develop web-based insect identification services.

Dr Gibson also is being recognized for his long-time dedicated service to entomology within AAFC and the ESC. He has served in various capacities to enhance the CNC and the CanaColl Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports visits by experts to curate portions of the CNC. In his 30+ years as an active member of the ESC, he has also served in a number of societal roles, including as Associate Editor of TCE (1990-95), Chair of the Finance Committee (1992-95), and Treasurer (1996-2004).

Dr. Neil Holliday

During his 35 year career as a faculty entomologist at the University of Manitoba (U of M), where he is currently an emeritus professor, Dr Neil Holliday has contributed significantly in the areas of crop protection and forest entomology research, entomology education, student mentorship and departmental and societal administration. His research interests and internationally-recognized contributions range from the population biology and ecology of carabid beetles and geometrid moths, the biodiversity of arthropods in natural and managed ecosystems, to the more applied studies of biological and cultural control of insect pests of forests and crops. The tangible output of his efforts has been 60 peer-reviewed papers and 82 other publications providing extension of his work to the scientific community, agricultural industry and public. He is particularly respected as a dedicated and hard-working educator, who has taught in 24 different university courses mostly in agricultural science and entomology, supervised or co-supervised 34 graduate students and 20 undergraduate student projects, and has earned 2 teaching awards (U of M; 1991, 2009). He has excelled at administrative tasks and his service on several ESC committees over the years has been greatly appreciated. He also served for 15 years at the U of M as Head of the only remaining Department of Entomology in Canada, during which time he led its rescue from near extinction. The Department has recently hired three entomology faculty members and an instructor, thereby adding new blood and a sense of optimism to the Canadian entomological community at large.  In recognition of his many outstanding contributions to Canadian entomology, Dr Holliday received the ESC’s Gold Medal in 2009.

By Rose De Clerck-Floate, Chair of the ESC Achievement Awards Committee

On June 4 I was on a high despite it being the end of a long work day, and a Monday no less. This is because I had the pleasure of informing two distinguished Canadian entomologists that they will be this year’s recipients of our Society’s most prestigious awards; the Gold Medal and the C. Gordon Hewitt Award.

Last December when embarking on my duties as Chair of the Achievement Awards Committee, I had no idea of how the whole process of serving on the Committee which receives and reviews the nominations and then selects the nominees for final ESC Board vote, would profoundly expand my understanding and appreciation of both our entomologist colleagues and our Society. First, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Committee, which was made up of well-respected and accomplished entomologists in their own right. Secondly, I was taken aback by the quality of candidates, which made our job of choosing only one nominee per award challenging. Finally, I was impressed with the nomination packages themselves, and by how eagerly and selflessly our members rose to the large task of pulling together these rather detailed and long documents during their busy lives.  It spoke volumes of the dedication, volunteerism, and team-work of our members, and ultimately, how vibrant we are as a Society.

When I placed the calls, I was both excited and nervous; the latter because there is a fair dash of humility that comes with realizing that these people, even though they are acquaintances and I have interacted with them in the past, all of a sudden stand out as amazing both academically and in their capacity for giving back to the communities they are part of. I honestly had no idea how accomplished they were until reading the nomination packages. Wow! Quickly though, their own humility shone through the phone call; both were thrilled and honored by the news, with one blurting with heartfelt candor, “I have always so loved entomology, and to be recognized by my fellow entomologists means a great deal to me”.

So what our current Prez, Michel Cusson, told me in December is very true. Having the opportunity to tell someone that they are being honored by peers for their contributions to science and society is really a very special moment. And for someone (i.e., me) who has never taken the time to nominate another for one of the awards our Society has to offer annually, this experience also has transformed me. I am now looking more closely at my colleagues; appreciating who they are and what they are contributing to Canadian entomology, and seeing future nominations everywhere! My hope is that others will be inspired down the same fulfilling path of recognizing and giving on behalf of our Society.

After all this, I guess I should let you know who the recipients of this year’s honors are: congratulations to Dr. Felix Sperling for being the awardee of the Gold Medal, and Dr. Brent Sinclair, awardee of the C. Gordon Hewitt Award…….more details to come.

Dr. Felix Sperling, recipient of the ESC Gold Medal

Dr. Brent Sinclair, recipient of the ESC C. Gordon Hewitt Award