People passionate about nature

Roger Turenne

Servive Award Recipient 2017

President’s Award Recipient 2015

Presiden't Award Recipient 2008

Crocus Award Recipient 1996

From Crocus Award write-up:

The Crocus Award is presented to Roger Turenne in recognition of his outstanding achievement in raising public and political awareness of the importance of the protection of Manitoba’s parks and natural areas. |He is particularly recognised for his leadership, tenacity, and creativity in promoting the Little Limestone Lake and Long Point areas for the national park in the Manitoba Lowlands region.

In March 1991, having recently retired from his position as Director of French Language services for the Provincial Government, Roger applied himself full-time to his duties as the first Chair of the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), including publication of a chapter newsletter, Manitoba Parks and Wilderness. Roger’s talents as an editor and writer are evident in the nine issues published to date, which have been well-read by both CPAWS members and politicians alike. The newsletter has helped establish CPAWS’ identity as a credible force in the many issues surrounding protection of our parks and wilderness areas.

The Manitoba Lowlands National Park became a key issue for CPAWS in the summer of 1992, when Parks Canada and the provincial government were on the verge of announcing an agreement that would turn Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park into a national park in the as-yet unrepresented Manitoba Lowlands region. Roger immediately launched a campaign to head off this agreement. Largely due to his efforts and leadership, the two governments instead announced a feasibility study of three areas for the national park, including the Long Point and Little Limestone Lake areas, which CPAWS then set about to promote as the best candidate sites for a national park.

Over the next two years, Roger dedicated himself to becoming intimately familiar with the Long Point and Little Limestone Lake area. On solo trips and with others, he canoed the Lake Winnipeg north basin in summer and trekked along it’s frozen shore in spring. He explored the landscape from above, experiencing the visual beauty of the land and water from an airplane, and from below, in the underground wilderness of the limestone caves. He captured, in photographs and in prose, the spirit of this place; produced a detailed promotional brochure that was widely distributed, and then spent long hours weaving images words and music together into a presentation called Blue Wilderness.

Together with a dedicated crew, Roger organized the logistics for the Blue Wilderness tour and the show went on the road in the spring of 1994 to nine locations from Winnipeg to Thompson. Blue Wilderness was acclaimed for its artistic qualities, but more importantly, it introduced hundreds of Manitobans to a unique area of their province, gaining support for its protection and raising funds for CPAWS’ campaign. During the rest of 1994 and 1995, Roger kept the pressure on by writing letters and articles, and in meetings with the government and the consultant hired to conduct the feasibility study.

In February of this year the two governments released their proposal for the Manitoba Lowlands national park, and portions of both Long Point and Limestone Bay area are included. Roger continues to coordinate CPAWS’ efforts to obtain the best possible boundaries for the new park on ecological grounds. He has brought to this process the right combination of determination, political savvy, creativity, and a love of wilderness. He richly deserves to receive the Nature Manitoba Crocus Award in recognition of his outstanding work for the preservation of a unique part of Manitoba in its natural state.

From President's Award and Service Award write-ups: 

With his extensive experience and knowledge of both the organization, and of the landscape in which we operate, Roger Turenne has given me much needed help over the past few years. Whenever I am uncertain of a particular action that I should take, or if I need more background relating to a particular issue, Roger is there to support me. This has ranged from the simple, yet important, things, such as knowing the difference between the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and the Manitoba Wildlife Society, or for more complex issues such as what to be prepared for when meeting with a Provincial Minister.  Additionally, Roger’s wealth of knowledge and experience, particularly as it relates to the political aspects of environmentalism, is a great resource at board meetings.

In this aspect, Roger ne garde pas sa langue dans sa poche, which roughly translated means, Roger does not keep his tongue in his pocket. This is, of course, a sought-after quality in a board member, as Roger’s enthusiasm for the verb has led to many animated board discussions, sparking an exchange among our Directors that brings out the different viewpoints on a subject or action. Bringing out these different opinions that would be representative of those of our members is, after all, one of the important aspects of running our organization.

Roger is also well-versed in the official protocols for the running of a board, and he keeps us on track in both our decision-making process and with respect to our bylaws, particularly when it comes to the timing of specific actions that we must complete according to a specific schedule. While I might not always be compliant with Robert’s Rules of Order in order to keep the meetings a bit more informal and open, Roger has been very helpful in guiding me to find that balance between chaos and strict regimen that keeps us functional as a board. I suspect that perhaps Roger was responsible for me taking on this role, when he approached me and asked if I would be interested in taking over as President. Rather than hold that against him, I am thankful that he considered me for this role, as it is certainly an interesting and personally rewarding position. And finally, Roger also demonstrates much patience, as he must remain Past President for as long as I remain President. To him I say: I promise one day you will soon be free from that role!

Roger has been actively volunteering his time and talents for Nature Manitoba for over 25 years. Few members have had a greater impact on our Society. He has served on the board for nine years and counting, three of them as President. More importantly, he provided leadership and vision on this board at a critical time. He restructured the way the board functioned, including our committee structure, and masterminded the change in our visual identity with a new logo and slogan. He modernized our communications, from website to newsletter to social media. For nine years he has chaired the newsletter Editorial Committee and the Communications and Promotions Committee, both of which he established.

He has written more articles and columns for the newsletter than any other member except Gordon Grieef. His popular “Roger’s Rant” column was often the first thing people read in the newsletter, both those who agreed with his views and those who didn’t. He has made more Discovery Evening presentations than anyone in recent history, at least 10 to my knowledge, and they have always been well attended. Proceeds of sales of DVDs made from some of these presentations were donated entirely to Nature Manitoba. Over the years he has led numerous trips for the Outdoor Program and the Grey Hares.

Perhaps most importantly for nature, Roger has also been a respected voice on environmental issues on behalf of Nature Manitoba, with advice both sought and listened to by government. Roger’s passion for nature and his loyalty to Nature Manitoba make him a fitting recipient for a Service Award.