New J.W. ‘Bud’ Bird Endowments to Fund Indigenous Student Research at UNB and STU
Working with the Atlantic Salmon Federation and Miramichi Salmon Association, Fredericton entrepreneur and conservationist J.W. ‘Bud’ Bird has established two $100,000 endowments to fund annual student research projects at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.
A $100,000 endowment at the Atlantic Salmon Federation and a $100,000 endowment at the Miramichi Salmon Association will annually fund a Wild Salmon Grant of $5,000 for an Indigenous student at each university. Mr. Bird funded the endowments such that $5,000 will be available immediately at each university so that the first student research grants will be awarded this coming academic year.
“It is within the context of wild Atlantic salmon preservation that these grants are being offered at UNB and STU. I hope that they will encourage Indigenous contributions of research and knowledge towards the mission for conservation and enhance the process of reconciliation within the wild salmon community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members alike,” said Bird.
At UNB, the gift will fund the annual ASF Wild Salmon Grant of $5,000 which will be awarded to an undergraduate Indigenous student entering their second, third, or fourth year of study in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management or the Faculty of Science. At STU, the gift will fund the annual MSA Wild Salmon Grant providing an annual grant of $5,000 to an Indigenous undergraduate student in their second, third, or fourth year of study in the Bachelor of Arts.
The grants will fund research and academic work, such as a research project or experiential learning opportunity, undertaken under the supervision of a faculty member or department. The work will include the value of traditional Indigenous knowledge related to the preservation of rivers and natural spaces. To strengthen the public engagement aspect of the research, following the completion of the academic work, the student will share the results through the respective salmon associations for conservation and public advocacy purposes.
“Bud has been a passionate advocate for the conservation of the land and waterways in this region for many years, and has also been a generous supporter of the Canadian Rivers Institute hosted at UNB. This gift is yet another demonstration of how Bud brings people together for the greater good of everyone. He realizes the importance and impact of what experiential learning can do to help support students and their academic pathways. The ASF Grant encourages research and experiential learning, provides support and opportunity for Indigenous students, and fosters collaborations between the university and the Atlantic Salmon Federation,” says Michelle Gray, Acting Dean of Forestry & Environmental Management and Director of the Canadian Rivers Institute.
“During his career, Bud Bird has been an entrepreneur, elected representative, and conservationist, and is respected for his dedication to his province. His gift to STU will create new opportunities for our Indigenous students to complement their class learning with experiential learning and public engagement. Bud Bird has been a long-time supporter of STU, and we are pleased to work with him to benefit students,” said Dr. Kim Fenwick, Acting President and Vice-Chancellor.
Over six decades, J.W. ‘Bud’ Bird has been a leading entrepreneur in the province. His company Bird Stairs Ltd. served the construction industry and he is the chief executive officer of Bird Holdings Ltd., a private investment business. He has held elected office at all three levels of government, having served as Mayor of Fredericton (1969-1974), Member of the New Brunswick Legislature and Minister of Natural Resources (1978-1982), and Member of Parliament for Fredericton-York-Sunbury (1988-1993). A sport fisherman and conservationist, Bird is Chairman Emeritus of the Miramichi Salmon Association, and has been a director of the Atlantic Salmon Federation of Canada and Atlantic Salmon Federation of the United States.
Statement on Wild Salmon Grants at UNB and STU
J.W. Bud Bird
“Throughout history, the wild Atlantic salmon has been a revered and treasured resource among Indigenous people; more recently, to all of us who have been so fortunate as to live near wild salmon rivers, that magnificent fish has become a symbol for environmental sustainability. Regrettably from all perspectives, the wild Atlantic salmon has been in a state of serious decline over many decades, and is now reaching such critically low levels in most wild rivers that its very existence seems soon to become unsustainable.
It is within that context of wild Atlantic salmon preservation, therefore, that these grants are being offered, to encourage Indigenous contributions of research and knowledge towards the mission for conservation, and to also enhance the process of reconciliation within the wild salmon community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members alike. I truly believe that only through such a united sense of working together in partnership among all concerned, can the wild Atlantic salmon resource be fully recovered and permanently sustained.”