Dr. Bill Freedman, a generous, 25-year volunteer with NCC and a tireless champion of nature, passes away. (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Dr. Bill Freedman, a generous, 25-year volunteer with NCC and a tireless champion of nature, passes away. (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

NCC mourns loss of a giant in Canadian conservation and ecology

September 27, 2015
Halifax, NS


Dr. Bill Freedman passes away

A Halifax man, instrumental both in the Atlantic Region and nationally, with Canada’s largest private land conservation organization has passed away.

It is with great sadness the Nature Conservancy of Canada is announcing the death of Dr. Bill Freedman (1950-2015). He died Saturday at his home in Halifax surrounded by family after a courageous battle with cancer.

Freedman volunteered for over 25 years with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and served as National Board Chair from 2008-09 and as Atlantic Board Chair.   In 2013, Freedman authored a book on the 50 year history of the organization.

Freedman was an ecologist and former Chair of the Department of Biology and was professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University.  A respected researcher and professor, Freedman authored over 100 refereed scientific papers and publications, including science textbooks.

"D‎r. Bill Freedman was a true force for nature,” said John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "Dr. Bill was a champion for the Nature Conservancy of Canada-- he was also a mentor, wise counsel and friend to me and to many in our organization.  He taught us all to cherish our natural world.  Today we remember a generous, thoughtful man who leaves a conservation legacy right across this country that will be appreciated by generations to come.”

“This is a very sad day for NCC but also for the conservation community.  Bill Freedman has been a dear friend and inspiration to many people, volunteers and students,” said Linda Stephenson, Atlantic Vice President with NCC.  "Dr. Bill’s torch for protecting our unique special areas for wildlife, plants and people will be carried on. Our deepest sympathies are with his wife George-Anne Merrill, their two children Jonathan and Rachael and many friends."

To recognize Freedman’s contributions, last week the NCC announced the dedication of its 372 acre Prospect High Head site as the Bill Freedman Nature Reserve. Known for its beauty and natural values, this popular coastal spot for hikers, bird watching and photography is located 23 kilometres southwest of Halifax.  A plaque will be installed in the coming weeks.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has also created a Science-In-Conservation Internship in Freedman’s name, to be awarded annually to a student at Dalhousie University.  The family has asked that Memorial donations may be made to it.

For more information on it and how people may contribute, visit: www.natureconservancy.ca/freedmaninternship 

There will be a celebration of his life at a later date along with a walk at the Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve, at Prospect High Head. 


• In May of 2015, Dr. Bill Freedman became just the fourth person to be given the rare honor of being named a life member of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
• Freedman served on NCC’s National Board of Directors from 1991-2011. From 2007-2009, he was Chair, and served as Past-Chair from 2009-2011.  Freedman also served on the Atlantic Board of Directors of NCC from its inception in 1998 until his death. 

Some of Dr. Bill Freedman’s writings:

• History of the Nature Conservancy of Canada: http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199004164.html
• Canadian textbook in ecology: http://www.cengage.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20bI&product_isbn_issn=0176501142&template=NELSON
• Canadian textbook in environmental science: http://wps.pearsoned.ca/ca_ph_freedman_envirosci_5/
• Textbook Environmental Ecology on-line: http://books.google.ca/books?id=gD14h8SKdeoC&pg=PR11&lpg=PR11&dq=environmental+ecology+bill+freedman&source=bl&ots=Rdzmnu5xUV&sig=2TJFat-lpV9kKpguXD9NSZnfLU0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=034KUYTDG8-B0QHZy4DgCg&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBQ#
• Global Environmental Change: http://www.springer.com/environment/pollution+and+remediation/book/978-94-007-5783-7
• Ecology of a Polar Oasis: http://www.captus.com/information/catalogue/book.asp?Book+Number=45


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares), coast to coast.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the longest serving land conservation organization in Nova Scotia, protecting over 32,400 acres at 42 nature preserves here since 1971.  www.natureconservancy.ca\ns

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