Well known Canadian wildlife artist and naturalist Robert Bateman will be in Clearwater the first weekend of October to help wind up Wells Gray World Heritage Year.
Bateman will begin the weekend with a presentation at Clearwater Secondary School on Friday, Oct. 4, starting at 7 p.m. Theme of his talk will be linking children with nature. There will be a minimum donation of $15 per family to attend or $5 per individual. Proceeds will go towards the Wells Gray wildlife corridor project.
On Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 a.m., Bateman will lead a sod-turning ceremony for a research and education building at Thompson Rivers University’s Wells Gray Wilderness Center in Upper Clearwater (about 26 km north of Clearwater on the road to Wells Gray Park).
The building was to have been completed by this fall but unforeseen difficulties delayed its construction.
That afternoon, Bateman will lead two nature walks for kids in Upper Clearwater, probably at Trevor Goward’s home, Edgewood Blue.
To keep the groups to a reasonable size, youngsters in grades five to 12 at Raft River Elementary and Clearwater Secondary schools will be asked to submit a short written piece and/or a piece or original artwork explaining what links them to nature. The entries will be submitted at the schools’ offices and deadline will be Friday, Sept. 27.
Organizers will then draw 20 names from the entries from grades 5, 6, 7, 8 and 20 names from grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. Some transportation will be available for youngsters needing a ride.
Now 83 years old, Bateman was born in Toronto and worked as a high school teacher for 20 years. Although always interested in art and nature, he never planned to make a living at it. His work did not begin to gain major recognition until the mid-1970s, when he began to pursue it full time.
His honours and awards include Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, the Rachel Carson Award, Human Rights Defender Award from Amnesty International, as well as 12 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American universities.
Three schools have been named after him.
Bateman is best known for his highly realistic paintings of animals and nature.