The Fur-Bearers are proud to announce the winners of our 2023 Clements Awards!
The Clements Awards was created to highlight the outstanding work of the many wildlife advocates and animal lovers in Canada; in honour of long-time directors and leaders of The Fur-Bearers, George and Bunty Clements, these awards are presented to celebrate those who have followed in their footsteps as advocates for fur-bearing animals in Canada.
An online event to celebrate these individuals, share success stories, and have a great evening together is held on February 23, 2023, at 5:30 pm PT / 8:30 pm ET via Zoom. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Click here to register via Zoom now.
The 2023 Clements Awards honourees are:
Outstanding Artist - Sarah Ronald
Sarah Ronald is a multidisciplinary artist living on the west coast of Canada. Ronald’s diverse upbringing in the rural Okanagan shaped her future as a conservation-minded animal artist and aspiring creative writer. After graduating with her BFA from Okanagan University College, Ronald relocated to the lower mainland of BC, eventually settling in Port Coquitlam where she now creates out of her home studio.
Outstanding Documentary - Taimoor Choudhry
For years, Taimoor Choudhry was one of the top jewelry designers in Pakistan, leading a life of glamor and extravagance – rubbing elbows with celebrities, fashionistas and the elite as he grew his family’s diamond and gold jewelry empire in Pakistan. His passions and priorities took a dramatic turn after witnessing animal cruelty in a cattle market. That moment changed him forever and he knew that he had to do something.It soon became his mission to raise awareness through the art of documentary film. After moving to Canada to pursue a film degree, he was shocked to learn that the animal exploitation he thought he’d left behind in Pakistan was very much present in his new home! In response to this, Taimoor founded Arise Productions and has dedicated the past five years to making change though cinema and his films.
Outstanding Leadership - Lesley Sampson
Lesley Sampson has been working on behalf of canids for more than two decades and is the co-founding executive director of Coyote Watch Canada. She holds a BPhEd (Honours) from Brock University (1998) and a post-baccalaureate diploma in Education from D’Youville College (2000) as a certified secondary school educator.
To further her commitment towards wildlife education, advocacy, and informed care, Lesley completed accredited courses through OWREN (Ontario Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Network); Wildlife Rehabilitation Basic Skills Course, OWREN Beyond Basic Skills and Foster Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Course, Enrichment for Wildlife in Captive Rehabilitation, and Raptor Basic Workshop guidelines.
Her research and practice center on canid behaviour and non-lethal coexistence methodologies. She is consulted across North America and abroad, facilitating human-wildlife conflict resolution and outreach. Her extensive fieldwork experience has included collaborations with both scientific and government agencies, working with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, local governments, community scientists, and researchers from Queen’s, Manitoba, Toronto, and Guelph Universities.
Outstanding Media - Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson is a veteran broadcast journalist and documentary film director, best known to Canadians for his television field reporting for Global News. He has reported on major events around the world and has produced many current affairs and documentary films. As a long time open water swimmer he considers the dolphin to be his favourite animal and suspects he may have been one in a previous life.
Outstanding Organization - Animal Justice
Animal Justice is Canada’s only national animal law advocacy organization.
They believe that animals need lawyers, and our legal team works to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. Canada has some of the worst animal protection laws in the western world, and our mission is to overhaul the legal system to better reflect our country’s values of compassion and justice for all.
Whether animals are used for food, fashion, experiments, entertainment, or in the pet trade, Animal Justice’s lawyers fight for the legal protections that these animals desperately need and deserve.
Learn more at AnimalJustice.ca.
Outstanding Research & Education - Dr. Kristen Walker
Dr. Kristen Walker has studied wildlife for the past 20 years. She holds a PhD in Animal Welfare and she is currently on faculty in the Applied Animal Biology program at the University of British Columbia. Kristen teaches and conducts research in the area of compassionate conservation – a discipline that aims to address the issues in the conservation of wild populations of animals by respecting the inherent values of individuals. Kristen has studied a variety of species including giant pandas, sea otters, and sea lions. Currently Kristen’s work is focused on identifying humane deterrents systems for urban coyotes that allow for greater co-existence in Vancouver.
Owen Patterson Advocacy Award - Dr. Jan Hajek
Jan was born in Toronto and moved to Vancouver during the winter olympics in 2010. He is an infectious diseases specialist at the Vancouver General Hospital and a clinical assistant professor of medicine. Several years ago, he stopped eating animal products and thinks that helped him be a better advocate for people and animals. His career highlights have been helping to start treatment programs for drug resistant TB in Uzbekistan and helping to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The City of Winnipeg is receiving a Certificate of Appreciation, to be accepted by Leland Gordon, General Manager, Animal Services. This is for the City’s efforts to protect people, pets, and wildlife through bylaw changes that implement restrictions on dangers traps and prioritizes coexistence by prohibiting the feeding of wildlife.
Bios, photos, and more about these honourees will be available as we approach the event. We’d love to see you at the 2023 Clements Awards to learn more about these incredible advocates, the work of The Fur-Bearers, and celebrate together. Click here to register now via Zoom.
Special thanks to creative maker, Michael Sizer of Hamilton, Ontario for designing and creating each wooden Clements Award by hand.