Dr. Scott Petrie wears many hats: scientist, educator, hunter, OFAH director-at-large and Long Point Waterfowl Executive Director.
Each of those different facets of his makeup were represented last weekend as Petrie was presented with the Jack O’Dette Conservation Leadership Award by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Board of Directors at the 86th OFAH AGM/Fish & Wildlife Conference in Mississauga.
“It was pretty cool,” Petrie admitted of what ‘probably is the highest professional recognition’ of his career. “It is nice, especially when you are recognized by people using the resource and understanding the resource.
“I see it as a reward for our team, rather than just a reward for myself.”
O’Dettte was a conservationist, angler and hunter whose conservation efforts earned him the Order of Canada. The award is presented annually in his name to an OFAH director in recognition of similar hard word, dedication and motivation.
Petrie is a dedicated scientist, assistant professor at Western University in London (wildlife ecology and management) and unapologetically passionate hunter unfazed in the face of self-righteous vegan or organic dogma.
“Don’t be self-righteous about what’s on your plate, be concerned about how it got there,” he countered, citing as an example, the carbon footprint comparison of a white-tailed deer harvested in one’s own ‘backyard.’ “That’s a heck of a lot better than strawberries shipped in from Mexico.”
Petrie is also philosophically-comfortable representing a community which contributes a correspondingly significant proportion (the ratio may run as high as 12:1) to habitat preservation and enhancement which he sees as the core to conservation.
“Lots of non-hunters contribute. It’s just on average, more hunters contribute.”
And while hunters do have a vested interest in habitat and resultant hunted inhabitant or migrant health, the environmental benefits of the efforts of conservatory organizations such as the OFAH, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl or LPW extend well into non-hunted species’ and overall eco-system health.
“Everyone in society has a vested interest in managing and conserving habitat.”
Petrie has been a member of the OFAH Board of Directors for 10 years, noted OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo in a press release.
“During that time, his depth of knowledge, experience and passion has been an invaluable addition to the board.”
Petrie’s vast knowledge of waterfowl has played a key role in the success of the OHAH Wetlands/Migratory Birds Advisory Committee which he has been a part of since 2004, Lombardo continued.
“Through his association with Long Point Waterfowl, he has been able to give many youth the opportunity to learn the biology, identification and habitat of many species, and introduced a new generation of young people to the experience of waterfowl hunting.”
Petrie realized from a very young age exactly what he wanted to do courtesy of an introduction to the outdoors at his grandfather Jim’s dairy farm, and his father Ken’s passion for duck and rabbit hunting.
“When you can make your passion into your profession, you don’t feel like you’re going to work every day.”
Long Point Waterfowl’s focus is applied and relevant research contributing directly to the management and conservation of waterfowl and wetlands in the Great Lakes area. The OFAH is Ontario’s largest non-profit fish and wildlife conservation-based organization representing 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters and 720 member clubs across the province.
“It’s a wonderful partnership between the two organizations that will continue in the future,” said Petrie, uniquely placed to be a cooperative bridge. “We are just really glad to be part of it.”