Nova Scotia

Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve honours Halifax scientist

A coastal barrens reserve will help honour a beloved Nova Scotia scientist who died last fall.

Professor and nature advocate volunteered for 25 years with Nature Conservancy of Canada

Bill Freedman volunteered for over 25 years with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and served as National board chair from 2008-09 and as Atlantic board chair. (Mike Dembeck/Nature Conservancy of Canada)

A coastal barrens reserve will help honour a beloved Nova Scotia scientist who died last fall.

The Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve will commemorate Freedman, a former chairman of Dalhousie University's department of biology.

Family and friends of Freedman gathered Sunday to celebrate his life. They'll meet again this morning at 10 a.m. for a dedication ceremony at Prospect High Head.

The professor got involved in the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 1991 to help the organization buy lands for common use.

John Lounds, president of the conservancy, flew to Halifax to honour Freedman.

"Over the course of the time Bill was involved in the Nature Conservancy of Canada, hundreds of thousands of acres were conserved, and Bill was responsible for a good chunk of that," he said on Sunday.

"We're really missing Bill. He's been a wonderful force for nature for us and a real champion of getting conservation done."

Freedman volunteered for over 25 years with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and served as National Board Chair from 2008-09 and as Atlantic Board Chair.  In 2013, Freedman authored a book on the 50 year history of the organization.

Linda Stephenson, Atlantic regional vice-president with the conservancy, said the reserve was a fitting tribute.  

"Dr. Bill Freedman has left a natural legacy by ensuring our properties remain a home for wildlife and a haven for recreation," she said.

"Dr. Bill was very modest, but we feel it is important to recognize how his actions have helped ensure that our children and grandchildren will have a chance to enjoy this site and many others like it."   

Hikers and birdwatchers make good use of the 372-hectare reserve southwest of Halifax.

Freedman was an ecologist and former chair of the Department of Biology and was professor emeritus at Dalhousie University. 

A respected researcher and professor, Freedman authored over 100 refereed scientific papers and publications, including science textbooks.