We’re excited to announce the winner of this year’s Alan Duncan Bird Conservation Award, Melissa Hafting!

The Alan Duncan award is given annually to honor contributions to local bird conservation through the arts and sciences, celebrating individuals, groups or organizations that are leading the way in bird conservation within the Greater Vancouver region.

Melissa Hafting is an ecologist,bird guide, author, and photographer. She founded the BC Young Birders Program in 2014, which aims to bring together youth of all races, sexual orientations, and genders to look at birds on fun excursions in the natural world. The program also helps teach youth about citizen science and the importance of bird conservation. She is also passionate about making birding more inclusive for all, especially for BIPOC birders like herself. Melissa started a Tree Swallow and Purple Martin nest box project in several parks in the city of Richmond in 2021 that are now thriving in the city. Melissa fights diligently for bird conservation issues in BC, such as her work to help ban the use of rodenticides in the province. She also promotes ethical photography and birding practices to reduce harassment and educates the public on relevant bird conservation issues. Melissa’s first book “Dare to Bird Exploring the Joy and Healing Power of Birds”  will be released on June 18. Melissa is an eBird reviewer for the province of BC and sits on the board of directors of the Frontiers in Ornithology Association and Wild Bird Trust of BC. She was also a judge for the 2022 and 2023 Audubon Photography Awards, the recipient of BC Nature’s 2021 Daphne Solecki Award for contributing to nature education for her work with children in British Columbia, a finalist for the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards for the Canadian Museum of Nature, and a lead in the 2020 CBC TV birding documentary, Rare Bird Alert. Her photography can be viewed on her Instagram account @bcbirdergirl 

On behalf of the Vancouver Bird Celebration Steering Committee, and Stanley Park Ecology Society, we would like to invite you all to join us in congratulating Melissa for her exemplary achievements in Bird Conservation.