2004 Winner: Journalism: General Public
Making the Complex Issues Concise
For more than 20 years, Edmonton Journal science writer Ed Struzik has educated the public on important issues related to the environment and conservation through his clear, insightful reporting. Struzik combines keen observational skills and his vast experience in the outdoors with solid factual research and personal interviews to shine a light on complex challenges facing the environment. He has tackled an impressive list of topics, from northern pipeline issues to the impact of receding glaciers on water supply in Alberta.
Struzik’s excellence in science writing has been acknowledged many times over with national awards, including four National Magazine Awards, five Canadian Science Writers’ Association Awards, three Roland Michener Awards for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism, and the Sandford Fleming Medal of the Royal Canadian Institute – an honour presented to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of science in Canada.
Struzik is awarded the 2004 ASTech Excellence in Science and Technology Journalism Prize: General Public for a series of articles that appeared in the Edmonton Journal in 2003 and 2004 on issues related to conservation and environmental biology in Alberta. Two of these articles deal with the arrival of cougars in Elk Island National Park and the growing number of encounters between humans and cougars. The stories explain why park naturalists welcome these giant cats and explore how cougar behaviour and human activities interact to increase human-cougar encounters. Two more articles focus on the plight of the sage grouse on the southern Alberta prairies. One describes the loss of habitat and subsequent decline in numbers of this endangered species over the last three decades. The second reveals the impact of West Nile virus on the survival of young sage grouse. Another series of articles deals with issues related to hunting, such as the Alberta government’s controversial decision to continue the spring grizzly hunt in the face of low bear numbers and the losing battle Fish and Wildlife officers are fighting against poachers as a result of budget cuts.
Struzik also wrote numerous articles over the past two years on economic issues affecting environmental biology, from government funding of national parks infrastructure to the use of groundwater by the oil sands industry to recover oil from bitumen. The articles Struzik writes for the Edmonton Journal are often carried in other publications in the CanWest Global Communications family, such as the Calgary Herald and the National Post, which help readers throughout the province and across Canada understand a wide range of complex issues in Alberta.