John Bicknell Award

John Bicknell Award for Birding Conservation Excellence

The John Bicknell Award for Birding Conservation Excellence honors the legacy of John Bicknell. This award honors the legacy of John Bicknell, who became a Rangeley resident in 1973 and raised a family here until his passing in 2018. Rangeley’s natural beauty spoke to John’s soul, and his connection to nature led him to design and care for the Mingo Springs Trail and Bird Walk. John led the effort to get the Mingo Springs Golf Course designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. He created many rock and flower gardens throughout the golf course, and Audubon International recognized him for his environmental stewardship.

Award Criteria & Nomination Process

To publicly acknowledge those individuals who have worked to further birding and conserve bird habitat in Maine.  This award is intended to recognize those unheralded people who have labored largely behind the scenes and may have been overlooked and need to be acknowledged for their contributions. It is presented to up to one recipient each year (unless we recognize a collaborative effort by two or more people).

  • Outstanding service, professionally or as a volunteer, to promote birding and conserve critical bird habitat.
  • Track record of bringing people together to achieve birding and conservation results.
  • Effective work, alone or with others, to educate the public on the importance of birds as a critical indicator of ecological health and conserving habitat.
  • History of fostering or supporting a conservation organization or foundation seeking to conserve critical and/or intact tracts of land, water bodies, and habitat.
  • Extensive and substantial contributions to birding and bird conservation.
  • Due by April 1 of each year
  • Name of nominee and complete contact information
  • Current CV or resume from the nominee.
  • Clear and concise statement from the nominator justifying the nomination and addressing the award criteria.
  • Letter(s) of endorsement from colleagues that address the award criteria.
  • Other supporting documents as appropriate
  • The award nomination process will be advertised on the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s press releases, the Rangeley Birding Festival webpage, and in other media, e.g., email and publications of partner organizations.
  • A selection committee of the Rangeley Birding Festival core team (minimum of five members), will review nominations and choose a winner by consensus if possible, or by vote, if necessary, by May 1st of each year
  • The award will be presented in person at the annual Rangeley Birding Festival in early June in Rangeley, ME.

To nomiate an indiviadual for the John Bicknell Award upload documents here.

Picture here: MCHT Names Barbara Vickery as Recipient of the 2017 Espy Land Heritage Award

2023 Winner

Barbara & the late Peter Vickery

The 2023 John Bicknell Award for Birding Conservation Excellence was presented to Barbara and the late Peter Vickery of Richmond. Together they have done substantial and permanent work to conserve bird habitats in Maine.

Peter played a deeply instrumental role in researching the Kennebunk Plains’ birds and championing the plains’ importance. His work with the original Maine Breeding Atlas is widely recognized and will continue to educate people about Maine birds for generations.

Barbara was a co-author for several chapters and species accounts and the co-editor of Birds of Maine. She’s presented to numerous audiences the Birds of Maine book, trends in bird populations, and conservation messages.

2022 Winner

Leslie Clapp

The 2022 John Bicknell Award for Birding Conservation was presented to Leslie Clapp of Blue Hill, president of the Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon.

Under Leslie’s direction, the most significant conservation effort of the Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon has been the Bluebird Trail. The trail was started 15 years ago with just 20 houses in two locations. Under Leslie’s direction, it has over 400 homes in 117 areas. Leslie oversees this process, sending out data sheets, instructions, and visuals for the monitoring process, getting GPS coordinates for all houses, and compiling the data sheets. Last year on the Blue Bird Trail, there were 337 birdhouses monitored by citizen scientists.

From those 337 monitored houses, 6 House Wren, 229 Black-capped Chickadees, 393 Eastern Bluebirds, and 572 Tree Swallow chicks fled. Leslie was the grandmother to 1,200 in just one year.

2021: No Awardee

2020: No Awardee

2019 Winner

Carson Hinckley

The 2019 John Bicknell Award honored Carson Hinckley, who has led the effort to restore and conserve Perham Stream, a little-known gem in East Madrid, Maine.

Hinckley, a descendant of original settlers in the valley, created and maintained the Perham Stream Birding Trail with help from the Sandy River Land Trust. It sits across the road from his family’s 18th Century Farm, which will soon be the site of an archaeological dig.