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Bill Mason Scholarship Recipient 2020/2021

man in a red kayak

We are pleased to announce that Evan Sullivan is this year’s recipient of the Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship!

“I am incredibly grateful to be chosen as the 2020-2021 recipient of the Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship Award. Bill Mason formed a central character in my love of canoeing and kayaking from a young age, and paddling remains my most beloved experience. I am lucky to have been brought up in central Ontario, where Georgian Bay and Algonquin were only short drives away, and my family could be together on the water. Through college, I was able to take
my paddling up to northern Ontario in Sault Ste Marie. Here I became acquainted with Lake Superior and spent the next 4 years exploring the land and the water of the big lake. Through guiding around Lake Superior, I developed a greater goal of protecting freshwater. Leading trips is an excellent way to bring Canadians out from highly urbanized environments to the natural land integral to our quality of life. I made the environmental message central to my guiding style and found I needed to increase my knowledge of the conservation of these important systems. After college, I decided to enroll at the University of Northern British Columbia for the Wildland Conservation and Recreation program. I am now into my second year of a transfer agreement between the college and university and, despite, the current learning environment, very much enjoying my studies. Through this time I have found that the education of youth and adults alike through place-based learning and experiential education in natural landscapes is necessary to a healthy conservation ethic. This is something we need in Canada more than ever. Bill Mason knew that sharing experiences with the people around you can make a real difference in the way people think about nature. For every person you can inspire with the natural world the better chance we have at creating a sustainable future for people, wild species that share this space, and the ecosystems which provide food, water, clean air, and cultural fulfillment. Nature is not a separate space untouched by people or defined by park boundaries; it is the base for everything we do and have. Paddling is a way of experiencing that connection intimately. The Bill Mason Scholarship, for years, has been supporting young Canadians in their mission to better themselves through environmental studies, contribute to conservation in Canada, and share paddling with the people around them. Thank you for this generous award. It is motivating to know that Paddle Canada will continue to support students looking to make positive changes in the environments they love.”

We wish Evan all the best, and are proud that one of our younger instructors is combining his love of the paddle with his passion for conservation.

We would also like to thank the Scholarship Committee for their continued efforts to keep this award moving forward every year.