Emerald Award winner Jerry Brunen looks back to see the future

In June 2016, Jerry Brunen received one of the highest honours an Albertan can achieve, a prestigious Emerald Award, for his commitment to protecting the environment through conservation and education.

The always-humble Brunen jokingly refers to it as "the grey hair" award for his longevity in these fields, but says "it was nice to be recognized," adding he was "surprised and had no idea I was nominated," for serving Alberta’s environmental community for 35 years.

The award was a welcome and positive event when you consider the challenge Brunen has been facing for the last year. This time, it’s not an environmental challenge, but a far more personal one: cancer.

Brunen’s voice is a bit weak from a recent, tough run of chemotherapy and complementary treatments, but he still has lots to say about conservation in the last 40 years. And about why he is so inspired to keep caring for the natural spaces he and so many others cherish.

It’s a passion the lifelong conservationist has enjoyed for as long as he can remember.

"When I was a kid, I’d try to get outdoors as much as I could," recalls Brunen. "I wanted to do what the birds were doing. I wanted to fly!"

He may not be able to fly, in a literal sense, but Brunen’s earned his wings through his work. And he’s given wings to people he’s mentored over the years, as well as to the waterfowl and other wildlife that have benefited from his impressive body of work.

Full Article Written by Leigh Patterson: http://www.conservator.ca/2017/02/conservation-brings-meaning-to-life/