News Releases

Soil conservation pioneer nominated to Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame

Indian Head, Sask., March 21, 2012:

Saskatchewan sustainability pioneer, Senator Herb Sparrow, has been honored for his lifetime of leadership in soil and water conservation by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). Sparrow was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in Ottawa, March 21, 2012.

"Few people have made a greater personal commitment in their life to maintaining the quality of Canadian soils and water than Senator Herb Sparrow," says Don McCabe, SCCC president, who presented Sparrow with his award. "The Soil Conservation Council of Canada is considered the face and voice of soil conservation in Canada. Senator Sparrow would be one of the most recognized and honored people in that effort."

Sparrow, who has been a businessman, farmer and rancher, lives in North Battleford, Sask. Born in Saskatoon in 1930, he acquired a farm and a fast food business in North Battleford. In 1968, at age 38 he was appointed to the Canadian Senate and served for 37 years. At his retirement, he was the longest serving member of the Canadian Senate.

As Senator, Sparrow served on a number of Senate Standing Committees and chaired the Standing Committee on Agriculture and later the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. He chaired the committee that produced a report on the state of Canada's soils entitled "Soil at risk, Canada's Eroding Future." That report led to the formation of SCCC, the Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre and the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame.

He has received many awards. He was the first president of SCCC and today is an Honorary Life Member. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and an Honorary Member of the Soil Science Society of Canada. He has been acknowledged by the Soil Conservation Society of America, has received the United Nations Environment Program Leadership Medal and Certificate of Distinction for Soil Conservation. He received an honorary doctor of science degree from McGill University and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was awarded the Order of Canada and in 2011 received the L.B. Thompson Conservation Award from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Sparrow has been a long-time active player in his local community, serving as alderman for eight years and receiving many community service awards. His most recent act of community service was to personally provide funding to help keep a homeless shelter open in that community.

The Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by SCCC to recognize the contributions of Canadians to the conservation ethic in Canada, says Glen Shaw, executive director of SCCC.

"Nominees for induction can be farmers or those directly employed in agriculture or soil conservation related activities, but also scientists, extension workers, educators, writers or anyone who has made a significant contribution through their dedication to promoting conservation. Their accomplishments and contributions may be on a national, provincial, regional or local level."

SCCC is a leading player in National Soil Conservation Week, held this year April 15-21. Information on current soil conservation efforts including acknowledgement of "soil champions" will be highlighted on the SCCC Web site at

"Saluting the efforts of a few of the many producers who have adopted more sustainable soil management practices is important," says McCabe. "Many people take a risk to implement or promote new practices not commonly accepted at the time. That leadership is a reason for the continual progress in sustainable management systems we have today."

For more information, contact:

Don McCabe, President
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (519) 331-6175
Glen Shaw, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (306) 972-7293
Jean-Louis Daigle, Executive Director/Directeur général
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre/
Centre de conservation des sols et de l'eau de l'Est du Canada
Saint-André (Grand Falls), NB
Ph: (506) 475-4040