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- Freedman, Bill
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Bill Freedman, born January 20, 1950, was a dedicated naturalist, conservationist and environmental scientist. He was a professor and researcher in the Department of Biology and in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University from 1979 to 2015. Throughout his career, he served as Chair of the Biology Department from 2000-2007, held the George H.S. Campbell Chair in Biology from 2007-2010 and was appointed an Emeritus Professor when he retired in 2015. Freedman taught or co-taught classes in introductory biology, environmental science, and environmental ecology.
Freedman’s work examines the effects of human economic activities on ecosystems and biodiversity. His research has examined the ecological effects of a wide range of industrial activities, but he focused on those associated with forestry. Freedman was also involved in work on the ecological effects of pesticides, metals, sulphur dioxide, acidification, and nutrient inputs to freshwater. Other research examined forests as CO2-emission offsets, urban ecology, the design of environmental monitoring programs, and ecologically sustainable systems of resource use.
Freedman's research was largely carried out in the Arctic and in boreal and temperate forest regions of Canada. However, he also travelled to various other countries to observe ecosystems and biodiversity on a global scale. He participated in numerous environmental impact assessments of proposed and operating industrial facilities, and have served on several advisory panels to government. Freedman was a vigorous writer who published ten books (including the first Canadian Environmental Science textbook), more than one hundred peer-reviewed journal articles, hundreds of scientific papers and research reports, and several thousand encyclopedia entries.
Freedman dedicated his time to volunteering with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). He was a national Trustee and served for twenty-six years on the national Board of Directors (1991-2015). He was also chair of the Atlantic Regional Board and Chair of the organization's national Science Advisory Network. In 2000, he retired as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tree Canada Foundation, an organization that raises funds towards the planting of non-industrial trees in both urban and rural settings.
In 2006, Freedman was the recipient of the Canadian Environmental Award, Gold Medal Level in the category of Community Awards for Conservation from the Canadian Geographic Society and, in 2007, he received a Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Council of University Biology Chairs.
Freedman died September 26, 2015. Shortly after his death, the NCC dedicated a coastal reserve in Prospect, Nova Scotia in his honour, renaming it the Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve.
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