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.