top of page

The Jamie Smith Memorial Mentoring Award in Ornithology

Throughout the time that Jamie Smith was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia’s Zoology Dept, he mentored countless budding ornithologists at postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate levels.  Well known for his ability to ask the hardest and most penetrating questions, Jamie pushed all those who encountered him to take their science farther. Nothing appeared to please him more than to see students rise to, and meet, his challenges.  Jamie took his role as a mentor to generations of new scientists very seriously, and his influence on Canadian Ornithology is evident in the many former students now working in academia, industry and government.

In recognition of Jamie Smith’s contribution to fostering ornithological research, the Society of Canadian Ornithologists has created The Jamie Smith Memorial Award for Mentoring in Ornithology. 

This award will honour established ornithologists (professional or amateur) from academia, industry, non-government or government agencies who have been nominated by students, colleagues and/or peers in recognition of displayed excellence in mentoring a new generation of professional or amateur biologists.   The award will be presented to the recipient at the Society’s annual meeting.

A tribute to Jamie Smith was published in ACE-ECO (Martin 2007) .


Eligibility and Qualities of the Candidates:

To be eligible, the candidate must have contributed to the training and fostering of Canadian ornithologists.  There are no requirements that the candidate work in a specific field; individuals in academia, public sector, industry, conservation agencies and government are eligible for consideration, providing they exhibit the desired qualities of Jamie Smith himself. 

The candidate must be recognized by those trained as being a consistent motivator, as well as being diligent in pushing students/colleagues to excel.  The candidate should demonstrate a passion for his/her discipline that is transferred to those that he/she has trained.  The candidate should also instill a sense of integrity in those that he/she mentors.

Nomination Process: 

  • Candidates are nominated by former/current students, colleagues and/or peers. 

  • There is no formal nomination form, but the nominator should provide a nomination letter addressed to the chair of the committee that includes a short statement (max. 1000 words) indicating how the nominee has influenced the development of other ornithologists through mentoring. 

  • Nomination letters should be in either Word or .pdf format, and emailed to the Chair of the committee to allow for distribution to other committee members.

  • In the nomination letter or the accompanying email, the full contact information for the candidate should be provided.

  • The nomination must be accompanied by at least two additional letters of support from others (these can be in the form of separately submitted emails).  Support letters should not exceed 500 words, and should indicate they have seen and support the nomination letter.  They may then add their own comments on the nominee.

  • If a candidate is not chosen to receive the award in the first year nominated, the nominee will be automatically considered for next successive years' competition.  The nominator may update the file in the second year if they so chose, otherwise the existing file will be reconsidered.

  • This year's nominations are due by 15 January 2023

Nominations should be sent to:

Kyle Elliot
Chair, Jamie Smith Memorial Mentoring Award Committee
Kyle Elliot

Review Process:
Nominees will be reviewed by an SCO subcommittee of 3 individuals.  The committee members will be chosen to represent as broad as possible a spectrum of academic, government and non-government agencies.  The current committee consists of:

  • Kyle Elliot, McGill University (Chair),

  • Oliver Love, University of Windsor

  • Andrea MacLeod, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority


Donations to the endowment for this award can be made through our secure site or made payable to the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, and sent to:

Junior Tremblay

Treasurer, Society of Canadian Ornithologists

801-1550 Ave d’Estimauville

Québec, Québec


Email: Junior Tremblay

Money for the endowment will be placed into a separate account and managed independently of other SCO holdings to ensure that all proceeds from the account are used to support this award. 

Please include the following donation sheet with your cheque (click here), or specify that the donation is intended for the “Jamie Smith Memorial Mentoring Award” on the cheque itself.  As with other funds, donors who provide a return address will receive a tax receipt for charitable donation.  


Click on highlighted names for citations from Picoides in the year the recipient was presented the Jamie Smith Memorial Mentoring Award

  • 2010 - no award given


The award consists of a plaque bearing the logo of the Society, as well as the name of the award, the recipient, year and purpose of the award.  The award is presented at the Society’s annual meeting. 

The plaque is 8x10 inches (20x25cm) and made of solid cherry wood backing with black matte metal plating.  The Society’s logo rests in the upper left corner, and the title of the Award is etched beside this.  On the lower half of the plate is the name of the current recipient, year and brief description of why the recipient is being honoured.  As the society operates in two official languages, French and English, the award recipient is given the option of having the text of the award in either language.  

The award is typically presented annually, although the society reserves the right to not present the award if suitable nominees are not forthcoming.

bottom of page