Biology Prof. M. Brock Fenton, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, who was named the 2002 McNeil medallist earlier this year, received the medal recently at a ceremony in Ottawa.
The Royal Society of Canada citation about Fenton, who is also a research associate with the Department of Mammology, Conservation and Biodiversity, Royal Ontario Museum, says, “M. Brock Fenton…is a leading expert on the biology of bats who has taken advantage of the general public”s natural curiosity about these ubiquitous flying mammals to pursue a diverse program of public awareness for more than 20 years. Using the print and electronic media, as well as personal contact with groups of all ages, he has communicated not only information about bats, their behaviour, communication and ecology, but also his own enthusiasm for science. His demonstrations using live bats and his bat walks have engaged the interest of many hundreds of people every year. He has also acted in a leadership role to encourage his students to increase public awareness of science.”
Fenton has written articles for nature magazines, youth science newsletters, museum quarterlies and city newspapers, in addition to numerous academic papers, chapters and reviews based on research that has taken him around the world. He has designed bat exhibits for the Royal Ontario Museum and National Museums of Canada. His seven books include a comprehensive natural history full of colour photographs called The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky published by Key Porter in 1998 and revised and republished by Fitzhenry & Whiteside in 2001.
The McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science was established in 1991 through McNeil Consumer Healthcare and is awarded by the Royal Society of Canada. It is intended to highlight the important role that science plays within our society and to encourage the communication of science to students and the public. The medal is given to a candidate who has demonstrated outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada.
The Royal Society of Canada, The Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities, is the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scientists and scholars. Its primary objective is to promote learning and research in the natural and social sciences and in the humanities.