Locally, he’s a well-loved figure—humble, quiet, courteous—a faithful volunteer and attendee at local events. However, David Christie of Mary’s Point is also one of the most highly-respected and knowledgeable naturalists in the province, a pioneer of the fledgling conservation movement, and an ardent champion for the protection of sensitive habitats and heritage sites.
Because of this work, he has recently joined a special group of citizens invested with the highest recognition the province offers: The Order of New Brunswick. Each year, the province selects ten individuals who have demonstrated excellence and made outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of New Brunswick and its residents.
Nature has been a lifelong love. By age ten, David was already keeping detailed journals of his observations, and has never stopped. His contributions to data collection, research, public policy, and education are significant components of New Brunswick’s history of environmentalism.
He was the first full-time Park Naturalist at Fundy National Park, developing and delivering interpretive programs, documenting the natural history of the park, and creating new nature trails, work for which he received a National Parks Centennial Award in 1985. At age 27, he was appointed Curator and Head of the New Brunswick Museum's Natural Science Department. Passionate and committed to the work of the Museum, David once took six months leave without pay to give the Museum extra funds to build and equip a proper laboratory.
In the dawning years of environmentalism, David also played a pivotal role in establishing what are today New Brunswick’s largest and most influential naturalist and conservation organizations—New Brunswick Federation of Naturalists, New Brunswick Wildlife Council, Conservation Council of NB, Saint John Naturalists Club—to name just a few. For decades, his home served as the first licensed wildlife rehabilitation site in the province, a role now provided by the Atlantic Wildlife Institute.
David likewise advocated for the establishment of Mount Carleton Provincial Park, Caledonia Gorge Protected Natural Area and other protected areas. He has furthered this work by serving on the steering committee of the Nature NB Mary Majka Scholarship Fund to encourage young environmentalists as they pursue their dreams.
I’ve known David for over 40 years. He’s appreciated for his scrupulous honesty, generosity, tireless work ethic, and dedication to preserving a healthy and vibrant environment while deepening our understanding of the province's flora and fauna.
I respect him for his pursuit of excellence and demonstrated expertise, for his patience and kindness, but especially for his commitment to enriching the cultural life of New Brunswick through expanding our understanding of the intricacies of nature’s web of life, and the need to steward and protect it now to ensure our own quality of life and that of coming generations.
Many years ago, he told me one of the most exciting moments of his life was spotting a European redwing during a New Year’s Day bird count. I hope this award will be another highlight for him. He also said that he has one wish: that we would all live more in harmony with nature. Beyond that, he told me, he has had a happy and fulfilling life so has no need for dreams.