J. Dewey Soper
|Joseph Dewey Soper|
|Born||May 5, 1893
|Died||November 2, 1982
|Education||University of Alberta|
|Occupation||explorer, zoologist, ornithologist, author|
|Title||first Federal Chief Migratory Bird Officer for the Prairie Provinces;
Chief Federal Wildlife Officer for Alberta, Northwest Territories and Yukon
Soper was raised near Rockwood, Ontario where he developed an interest in wildlife and natural history. His mother wanted Soper to be a minister; his father wanted Soper to work on the farm. Soper spurned organized religion, and was influenced by Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond and the works of Ernest Thompson Seton. He attended Alberta College and the University of Alberta where he studied zoology. Soper was first published at age 20.
- 1923 Arctic expedition
In 1920, W. E. Saunders invited Soper to a naturalist's meeting at Point Pelee, Lake Erie where Soper met Dr. R. M. Anderson who went on to invite Soper to work as a naturalist on the Federal Government's East Arctic Expedition. Soper was commissioned to document the arctic flora and fauna of Baffin Island, Beechey Island, Bylot Island, Devon Island, Ellesmere Island, northern Greenland, and areas of Labrador.
- 1924-26 Arctic expedition
In 1924, the National Museum of Canada retained Soper for an expedition to Baffin Island. Soper headquartered at a Royal Canadian Mounted Police base that was also a Hudson's Bay Company post. During this trip, Soper explored Nettilling Lake, Koukdjuak River, Cumberland Gulf to Foxe Basin, Amadjuak Bay on Hudson Strait, Cape Dorset covering more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) by dog sled, boat, and canoe.
- 1928-31 Arctic expedition
Soper's biggest accomplishment, with the help of local Inuit, was the successful six-year, 30,000-mile (50,000 km) search on Baffin Island for the Blue Goose (C. c. caerulescens) nesting grounds on Bluegoose Plain near Bowman Bay in the Foxe Basin in the spring of 1929. The find was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!, earning Soper the nickname "Blue Goose Soper".(Martin, 1995)
- Government service
Soper joined the government service in 1934, becoming the first Federal Chief Migratory Bird Officer for the Prairie Provinces in the Canadian Wildlife Service. In 1948, he became the Chief Federal Wildlife Officer for Alberta, Northwest Territories and Yukon.
By the end of his career, Soper conducted three Arctic expeditions and published over 130 research papers and articles. His personal records, notebooks, mammal and bird collections, and research materials were bequeath to the University of Alberta.
Soper visited his sister in Wetaskiwin, Alberta in 1927 where he met and married the first graduate nurse in the Eastern Arctic, Carolyn ("Carrie") Freeman. Soper took his wife on his travels, and sometimes his young son, Roland. Though Soper was a zoologist, ornithologist, and explorer, he also collected Inuit art, including ivory figures and enjoyed hunting. When he died in 1982, he was survived by his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren.
- Soper River; Soper Lake; Dewey Soper Migratory Bird Sanctuary (the 3,150 sq mi (8,200 km2) of western Baffin Island from Bowman Bay to the Koukjuak River) were all named after Dr. Soper
- J. Dewey Soper Award by the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists, awarded to Canadian biologists
- 1960, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, University of Alberta
- 1978, Commissioner's Award, Northwest Territories
- Douglas H. Pimlott Conservation Award, presented by the Canadian Nature Federation
- "Hybridization of Canada Geese with Blue Geese in the Wild". unm.edu. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Joseph Dewey Soper". ucalgary.ca. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Playthings and curios: historic Inuit art". civilization.ca. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Martin, Constance, and J. Dewey Soper. Search for the Blue Goose J. Dewey Soper : the Arctic Adventures of a Canadian Naturalist. Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 1995. ISBN 1-896209-14-9
- Dalton, Anthony (2010). Arctic Naturalist: The Life of J. Dewey Soper (Google eBook). Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-55488-746-0.
- —. Waterfowl and Other Ornithological Investigations in Yukon Territory, Canada, 1950. Wildlife management bulletin, no. 7. Ottawa: Issued under the authority of the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, 1954.
- —. The Birds of Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Ottawa: Dept. of Resources and Development, National Parks Branch, Canadian Wildlife Service, 1953.
- —. The Birds of Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1952.
- —. The Birds of Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1951.
- —. Waterfowl and Related Investigations in the Peace-Athabasca Delta Region of Alberta, 1949. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1951.
- —. The Blue Goose <Chen Caerulescens (Linnaeus)> An Account of Its Breeding Ground, Migration, Eggs, Nests and General Habits. Ottawa: F.A. Acland, 1930.
- —. The Mammals of Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. Ottawa: Environment Canada, Wildlife Service, 1973.
- —. The Mammals of Jasper National Park, Alberta. Ottawa: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1970.
- —. The Mammals of Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1953.
- —. The Mammals of Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1951.
- —. The Mammals of Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service, 1951.
- —, and Alice E. Wilson. A Faunal Investigation of Southern Baffin Island. Ottawa: F.A. Acland, printer to the King, 1928.
- Physical geography
- —. Papers on the Canadian Eastern Arctic in Relation to the R.C.M.P., Eskimos, Wildlife, Exploratory Surveying and Other Matters of General Interest. Edmonton, Alta: The author], 1966.
- —. Wood Buffalo Park Notes on the Physical Geography of the Park and Its Vicinity. Ottawa: The Dept, 1939.
- —. The Lake Harbour Region, Baffin Island. New York: American Geographical Society, 1936.
- Local Distributiono f Eastern Canadian Arctic Birds, Soper, 1940
- Biography, University of Alberta- includes list of Field Books, Notebooks, Catalogues, Manuscripts, Reports, Photographs, Sketches, Correspondence
- Reading online
- Soper, J. Dewey (May, 1921). "Notes on the Snowshoe Rabbit". Journal of Mammalogy (American Society of Mammalogists) 2 (2): 101–108. JSTOR 1373693. Retrieved 2012-07-04.