Manitoba Historical Society
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Richard Allan “Rick” Wishart

Wildlife biologist.

Born at Calgary, Alberta on 3 June 1949 to parents George and Mary Wishart, the family relocated to Winnipeg in 1951 where he completed public school. Wishart graduated in 1971 from Macdonald College of McGill University with a BSc (Agr) degree. In 1970, he assisted in an impact assessment of the proposed Mirabel International Airport. This led to continued work and completion in 1973 of an MSc degree from McGill with a thesis titled “The Behaviour and Habitat Requirements of the American Woodcock in Quebec”.

After working briefly as a whale research technician at the Arctic Biological Institute and then as an instructor at Vanier College CEGEP in Montreal, he returned to Manitoba to work at the Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station. Between 1975 and 1978, he conducted field studies in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba at the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1983 with a PhD degree in Zoology. His thesis was titled “The Behavioural Ecology of the American Wigeon (Anas americana) Throughout its Annual Cycle".

In 1983, he began a 32-year career with Ducks Unlimited Canada, starting as a research biologist and becoming Manitoba provincial biologist. Seconded in 1986 to work with the Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station to develop the first evaluation program for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the following year he became the Manitoba provincial manager for Ducks Unlimited and was part of a planning team for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre.

Between 1992 and 1995, he was the provincial manager for Ducks Unlimited in Ontario. He returned to Manitoba as the director of membership and fundraising (1995-1998). For the remainder of his career he was national director for education programs. During that time the youth education program expanded significantly and was recognised in 2004 with an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. He taught a wildlife management course at the University of Manitoba (1989), was an adjunct professor in the Department of Education there (2011-2017), and volunteered as a student advisor in the Department of Environment and Geography (2010-2014).

Wishart was a member of the Wildlife Society and served on the Board or steering committee for the Manitoba Wildlife Federation Habitat Foundation, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, Manitoba Heritage Marsh Committee, Canadian Forestry Association, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, Green Street Education Program, and the Environmental and Communications Network. He was founding co-chair of the Manitoba Education for Sustainable Development Working Group and was on the national Board for Education for Sustainable Development Canada. He was a volunteer with the Manitoba Envirothon and was on the organising committee for the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

He retired from Ducks Unlimited in 2013 and was Vice-President of the Green Action Centre (2016-2022). He served as the Manitoba representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (2012-2019).

Page revised: 16 February 2022

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