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A night to remember

Back in December, I was given the task of planning a special reception for a special person for a very special award. Working as CPAWS does, myself, CPAWS staff, and some dedicated volunteers put their heart and soul into creating an event that would meet the occasion.

Finally last night, after weeks of hard work, I had the pleasure of attending the beautiful award reception held at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, where CPAWS honoured Nikita (Nik) Lopoukhine with the prestigious J.B. Harkin Award for conservation. Nik was honoured for his lifetime of commitment to promoting scientific discussion and ecological integrity within Parks Canada and for championing Canadian conservation and park values globally. Click here to read the full citation.

The evening began with a cocktail reception in the stunning Stone Wall gallery as guests mixed and mingled. Many familiar faces and some new were brought together in honour of Nik, including M.P. Fin Donnelly and past J.B. Harkin award recipients Jacques Gérins, Stephanie Cairns, Stephen Woodley and M.P. Elizabeth May. The room buzzed with energy and possessed an ambiance only felt when surrounded by friends.

Nik Lopoukhine delivered an acceptance speech that resonated with the crowd. He shared his “many blessings” throughout his career and the important people he met along the way. Mr. Lopoukhine was joined by his wife Mary Ann and their children. His entire family beamed with pride. The audience was invited to share moments from Nik’s past with a special video highlighting his many milestones filled with photographs collected by his son Raphael. Nik received a beautiful bronze medal and a framed citation to commemorate his honour. After the award ceremony Nik personally came to thank me for the evening, truly demonstrating his genuine and sincere nature.

A special presentation by guest speakers Alexandre Bevington and Dalal Hanna, two members from Trans CanEAUDA, invigorated the evening with a burst of energy as they shared stories from their 7000km paddling journey that they undertook last spring to raise awareness for watershed conservation. The group shared pictures and videos from their trip and led the audience from laughter to sheer awe. Notable moments included an intimate encounter with a lynx and their war against mosquitoes.

As the evening settled down, guests were invited to submit their final bids for the silent auction. People left the evening feeling inspired and toting a tent courtesy of MEC, rafting adventures from Esprit and many other great items such as spa packages, mini getaway retreats, fine dining and art.

Nik Lopoukhine was honoured in great fashion with an evening that shall be remembered for time to come.