Stephen C. Zoltai Award
Biography of Stephen C. Zoltai (1928-1997)
Stephen Charles Zoltai was an outstanding Canadian scientist who made an exceptionally innovative and diverse contribution to our understanding of northern wetlands and, more generally, the relationship between soil, vegetation and permafrost. These contributions can be found in his over 70 refereed publications, and numerous non-refereed publications including his contributions to the book Wetlands of Canada. He also worked towards clarifying the nature of global climate change recorded in the evolution of wetlands throughout western Canada.
In addition to his publications, Steve also mentored many graduate students throughout his career, in many disciplines, all who benefited from his natural curiosity and love of the natural sciences. His contributions to education will be on-going; Steve contributed selections from his extensive collection of photographs to a series of CD-ROMs on the Canadian arctic and subarctic regions, wetlands, permafrost peatlands, glaciers and glaciation, volcanoes and volcanism, erosion and erosional landforms, periglacial landforms, northern environments and engineering, and the boreal forest. Steve's career has been circumpolar, including professional advice on wetland environmental issues for the United Nations in Russia, and developing wetland conservation criteria. His contributions have spanned wider issues that have culminated in the establishment of several Canadian National Parks.
For Steve's outstanding work he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Anniversary Medal and Environment Canada's Merit Award. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
On December15, 1997, Stephen died of cancer. He is sorely missed by all who had the privilege to know him.
The Canadian Society for Peat and Peatlands (the IPS Canadian National Committee) and the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Producers Association (CSPMA) initiated the Stephen C. Zoltai Student Award in memory of this distinguished Canadian scientist at the 11th International Peat Congress (2000) in Québec City, Canada, for recognition of students’ contribution to the scientific program by a high quality presentation of an oral paper or poster related to peatland sciences at an IPS Congress.
The winners, in each category, receive a Meritas certificate for their achievement, and a cash prize of 250 CD$.