Richard Westwood

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BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr. Richard Westwood joined The University of Winnipeg in 1998 and is currently a professor in both the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences and the Department of Biology. He has completed two five-year terms as Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences and one as Chair of the master’s program in Bioscience, Technology, and Society.

Westwood’s wide-ranging areas of research include conservation of endangered insects and plants in prairie and boreal forest ecosystems, as well as improved urban tree health. His experience was instrumental to the founding of UWinnipeg’s Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research.

In particular, Westwood is a champion of urban forest research. Through his teaching, research, and community service, he has played an important role in advancing — and enhancing public understanding of — urban forestry in Manitoba, especially in Winnipeg, which is home to North America’s largest population of mature elms. To this end, he has been leading new research into the ecology of elm bark beetles and the spread of Dutch elm disease: a complex, invasive pathogen that has threatened Winnipeg’s cherished elm population for over 45 years.

Done in collaboration with community stakeholders, Westwood’s research will contribute to the management of the disease and the preservation of the mature elm canopy that characterizes Winnipeg. 

Westwood’s dedicated community service includes volunteering with local environmental not-for-profit organizations and serving as a long-time board member, particularly with Trees Winnipeg (formerly the Coalition to Save the Elms). He has lead the ReLeaf tree-planting workshops for homeowners; served as a partner to the City of Winnipeg in raising awareness of urban forest issues and offering extension services; and delivered a variety of public workshops and programs over three decades. 

He has recruited and mentored students and passionate volunteers to help build successful partnerships with numerous organizations — finding common ground on shared interests and priorities to save our urban forests. 

For his tireless work on behalf of improved forest health, as well as his exceptional contributions to a better understanding of the survivability and maintenance of trees in urban environments, The University of Winnipeg proudly honours Richard Westwood with the Clarence Atchison Award for Excellence in Community Service.