October 25, 2004
Friends and Colleagues of Ken Cox:
On October 7 I had an opportunity to visit with Ken Cox at his home near Ottawa. As most of you know, Ken is terminally ill and will not be with us much longer. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of that visit.
The official reason to be there was to present to Ken the International Canvasback Award on behalf of the North American Waterfowl Management Committee and partners here in the United States. A nomination for this award was received from several Canadian partners and after review by the appropriate award committee members, Ken was found to be highly meritorious to receive this highest NAWMP award. This is based on his many years of involvement in delivering the NAWMP in Canada, his service on every update to the Plan in 1994, 1998, and in 2004; his participation and leadership of the Secretariat of the NAWCC, Canada later expanding to NABCI, Canada; his leadership in wetlands conservation in Canada including national wetlands policy, wetlands mitigation policy, wetlands conferences and numerous publications; many years of liaison with the US NAWCC representing Canadian partners and projects and responding to many questions and information requests from the Council; and especially for his positive attitude and willingness to participate and get involved with partners to further conservation in North America. Theresa Dupois and Clayton Rubec also participated in presenting the award. I have attached a photo of Ken receiving the award.
Ken was completely unprepared to receive this award and was extremely appreciative and humble. He was in good spirits and was able to navigate out onto his deck overlooking the Ottawa River. It was a perfectly beautiful blue sky day, sunshine flooding the deck, warblers moving through the old pines, and Canada geese passing by on the River. His mind is sharp, but his body is failing rapidly. His wife, two daughters, and many family friends are surrounding Ken now.
Ken expressed his compliments to the staff of DBHC, the US Wetlands Council members and staff, the Plan Committee, the Joint Venture Coordinators, and many, many partners with whom he has worked in the United States. He clearly has enjoyed his work with us and got back as much as he gave. He asked about funding prospects for the next year and was delighted to hear that our Secretary had at last signed the 2004 Plan Update.
As we were parting, he asked me to "tell everyone good-bye," which I am doing now. We are losing a good friend.
David A. Smith,
Chief Division of Bird Habitat Conservation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Note: Ken Cox has long been associated with Ramsar activities in Canada and served, in his capacity of Executive Secretary of the North American Wetlands Council, with the Canadian delegation to the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Costa Rica, 1997. He was co-author of one of the lead chapters in the 1996 Ramsar publication Wetlands, Biodiversity and the Ramsar Convention