The Canadian Parks Council Annual Awards of Excellence

CPC Awards of Excellence

A Celebration of Park Leadership across Canada

Each year, the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) presents Agency and Individual Awards of Excellence to recognize and encourage extraordinary achievement, innovation, organizational leadership and the advancement of park and protected areas programs by Canada’s national, provincial and territorial park agencies. Nominations for CPC Awards are submitted through CPC Board of Director representatives.

The Awards

Individual Award of Excellence

To recognize extraordinary achievement, innovation, leadership and/or advancement of park and protected areas programs by an employee, contractor or volunteer of a CPC member agency.

  • Achievement being recognized should be innovative, contribute to the advancement of, and be of extraordinary significance to, the parks and protected areas program of the nominating agency.
  • The organizational leadership demonstrated by the nominee shall be considered in assessing his/her contributions. 
  • The candidate’s length of service in the parks and protected areas field and the locality of the nominee relative to the award ceremony shall only be minor considerations. 
  • Due regard should be given to the size and resources of the nominating jurisdiction in assessing the significance of the achievement. 
  • Nominations may be made for posthumous awards. 
  • Individuals shall generally be entitled to receive only one Individual Award of Excellence throughout their careers. In exceptional circumstances the Awards Committee may approve the awarding of a “special award” to a previous recipient.

Agency Award of Excellence

To recognize extraordinary achievement, innovation, leadership and/or advancement of park and protected areas program by a CPC member agency.

  • Achievement should be of extraordinary significance to the parks and protected areas program of the agency as well as significant in the context of Canadian and international parks and protected areas initiatives.
  • Achievement should demonstrate a dedication to the principles and objectives which are normally attributed to park and protected area systems in Canada and should be important to the public and park users.
  • Due regard should be given to the size and resources of the jurisdiction in assessing the significance of the achievement.
  • The Awards Committee may be proactive in identifying potential candidates and in preparing nominations. 
  • Where the achievement being recognized involved significant collaboration with NGO’s, community organizations, corporations, other governments (e.g. Indigenous or municipal) other federal, provincial and territorial government departments, businesses etc., those who contributed may be recognized along with the park agency.

Micah Messent Young Professional Award of Excellence

This award was created in memory of Micah Messent, a young BC Parks employee of inspirational leadership who lost his life in a tragic accident while en route to meet other young leaders for the United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya in early 2019. This award recognizes a young employee, intern, contractor or volunteer of a CPC member agency who demonstrates leadership in parks and protected areas management in the areas championed by Micah Messent, most notably a passionate commitment to:

  • environmental stewardship and conservation awareness;
  • youth leadership and internal capacity development; and,
  • reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
  • The nominee should demonstrate outstanding leadership and initiative in a least one of the areas listed above.
  • The achievement being recognized may be for cumulative impacts to the nominee’s agency, or work undertaken on an individual project.
  • The actions taken by the nominee should help to engage and connect people with nature.
  • The nominee must have been between the ages of 18-30 during the period for which they are being nominated.
  • The organizational leadership demonstrated by the nominee shall be considered in assessing their contributions.
  • A candidate’s length of service or the proximity of their workplace or residence to the location of the award ceremony shall not unduly influence a decision to issue an award.
  • Due regard should be given to the size and resources of the nominating jurisdiction in assessing the significance of the achievement. 
  • Nominations may be made for posthumous awards. 
  • Individuals shall be entitled to receive only one Young Professional Award throughout their careers. In exceptional circumstances, the Awards Committee may approve the presentation of a “special award” to a previous recipient.

Operational Award of Excellence *NEW*

An award to recognize Operational Excellence across our parks. This award is designed to recognize the essential operational work that happens in every jurisdiction, the importance of operational, on-the-ground, work in parks, and further ensure that awards are accessible to all CPC member jurisdictions and are comprehensive to recognize all facets of park and protected area systems management

  • Recognition of excellence in parks in the areas of operations
  • Substantially contributes to park or park system operations (e.g. interpretation, education, visitor experience, maintenance, operations, administration)
  • Nominee demonstrates organizational leadership as part of their daily work or project
  • Length of service or the proximity of their workplace or residence to the location of the award ceremony shall not unduly influence a decision to issue an award.
  • Regard should be given to the size and resources of the nominating jurisdiction in assessing the significance of the achievement. 
  • Nominations may be made for posthumous awards.

High Achiever Award

A special award to recognize the special contributions of a member agency and its appointed board member. To be considered for the High Achiever Award, a jurisdiction and/or its appointed board member must not only meet representational expectations, but must also:

  1. exceed expectations by demonstrating exceptional leadership;
  2. a willingness to support the greater good for the benefit of Canada’s parks; and/or,
  3. emanate a collaborative spirit that reinforces a team approach.
  • The nominee should demonstrate outstanding leadership and initiative in a least one of the areas listed above. 
  • Length of service to the CPC, particularly where cumulative and multi-year impacts can be demonstrated, are valued, yet not essential. 
  • Nominations may be made for posthumous awards. 
  • Proximity of their workplace or residence to the location of the award ceremony shall not unduly influence a decision to issue an award. 
  • Individuals shall be entitled to receive only one High Achiever Award throughout their careers. In exceptional circumstances, the Executive Director may decide to present a “special award” to a previous recipient. 
  • The CPC’s Executive Director is the sole person through which an award recipient can be determined.

2023 Award Recipients

The 2023 CPC Awards of Excellence Ceremony was hosted on September 20 on the traditional and unceded territory of the Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) Nation in St-Andrews, New Brunswick.

Micah Messent Young Professional Award of Excellence

Paden Lennie

Resource Management Officer, Parks Canada

Paden Lennie received the 2023 Micah Messent Young Professional Award of Excellence from the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) in recognition of his achievements, leadership, and passion as he contributes to environmental stewardship and conservation on behalf of Parks Canada. Additionally, Paden’s contribution to bridging the gap between traditional ecological knowledge and scientific research no doubt will serve the Parks Canada Agency, Parks more broadly, and Indigenous communities for years to come.  

Individual Awards of Excellence

Volker Michelfelder

Planning Section Head, BC Parks

Volker Michelfelder received an Individual Award of Excellence from the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) in recognition of his leadership, vision and project management skills to create the new BC Parks Green Plan. His ability to create, implement and on-board leadership, staff, and partners in alignment with the new plan in such a short timeframe is inspirational and hopefully replicable across the Country 

Agency Awards of Excellence

PEI Parks

Disaster Recovery and Restoration

PEI Parks received the 2023 Agency Award of Excellence from the Canadian Parks Council (CPC)This award is given in recognition of PEI Parkstremendous teamwork, diligence, and immediate action to restore their parks after Hurricane Fiona, one of the strongest storms in Canadian History Led by the team, this significant accomplishment required the coordination of many partner organizations, local stakeholders, private citizens and the support of local governments. 

Congratulations to all the recipients!