Dr. Ian McTaggart Cowan was one of The Nature Trust of BC’s original life Board members appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada. Ian worked hard to establish the reputation and conservation legacy that The Nature Trust of British Columbia enjoys today.
He was one of the founders of the study of environmental ecology in Canada. A graduate of the University of BC and the University of California at Berkeley, he was a pioneer of conservation.
As a Professor of Zoology at UBC, he established the first vertebrate zoology program in Canada to study the biological basis of wildlife conservation. He inspired generations of academics, supervising the research of more than 100 graduate students.
Dr. McTaggart Cowan was a strong voice in convincing the Canadian government to hire professional wildlife biologists for their wildlife programs. As a public educator, he pioneered the use of television, bringing environmental science into the home of Canadians through programs such as Fur and Feathers, The Living Sea and the award-winning Web of Life inspiring young people to become involved in conservation advocacy, teaching and research.
Among his extensive public service contributions, Dr. McTaggart Cowan was
- A founding member of the National Research Council of Canada
- Chair of the Environment Council of Canada
- Inaugural and 19-year Chair of the Public Advisory Board of the BC Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (Foundation)
- Instrumental member and later Chair of the internationally acclaimed Birds of British Columbia author team
- Chancellor of the University of Victoria from 1979 to 1984
- And long-serving director of The Nature Trust of British Columbia (1977-2010).
His lengthy record of awards and distinctions, including Orders of Canada and British Columbia, is a testament to his outstanding contributions to Canada and conservation of our natural surroundings.