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Remembering a Canadian Nature Innovator

Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature

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Bill Lishman (centre) with Museum President Meg Beckel and guests at the unveiling of his Iceberg Sculpture during the opening of the Landscapes of Canada Gardens, June 2016. 

January 3, 2018

Today the Canadian Museum of Nature honours the memory of Canadian sculptor and naturalist, William (Bill) Lishman, who was a good friend of the museum. Bill passed away December 30 at age 78.

A Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Bill was an award-winning sculptor, inventor, filmmaker, naturalist, and Chair Emeritus of Operation Migration Inc.

Bill was best known for conducting the first aircraft-led migration of birds, a journey that moved the markers of scientific knowledge about bird migration. His successful endeavour to lead migratory birds with an ultralight aircraft was dramatized in the 1996 film “Fly Away Home”. An exhibit about his exploits, including his ultralight, was displayed in our Queens’ Lantern and in downtown Ottawa’s Shaw Centre. His aircraft has now been acquired by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum for its collections.

The majestic steel Iceberg Sculpture that towers above the Museum’s Landscapes of Canada Gardens was his creation. The sculpture is also the symbol for our Nature Inspiration Awards. 

For his life’s work, Bill was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General’s office in 2000. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Lishman family.

Pierre Poirier © Canadian Museum of Nature.

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Bill Lishman’s ultralight aircraft displayed in the museum’s Queens’ Lantern, September 2016.