Stueck, Ralph Prescott, 1893-1979

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Stueck, Ralph Prescott, 1893-1979

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1893-1979

History

Ralph Prescott Stueck was born on October 12, 1893 in Abernethy, North-West Territories (now Saskatchewan) to Conrad and Harriett Stueck. He completed his primary and secondary education in the Abernethy district and in 1915 became a member of the first graduating class of the University of Saskatchewan's degree class in Agriculture. Stueck farmed in the Macrorie district for several years before purchasing a farm in the Abernethy district, where he resided until his retirement in 1947.

Interested in nature and conservation, Stueck raised, traded and sold Canada Geese on his Abernethy district farm. After moving into Abernethy in 1947, he deepened a slough which became a bird sanctuary called "Sleepy Hollow". Stueck introduced Canada Geese to Waterfowl Park in Regina and captured various animals, including prairie dogs, buffalo, sandhill cranes and pelicans, for zoos and exhibitions. He practiced taxidermy and built up an extensive collection of birds, animals and artifacts in his home. He travelled extensively, speaking in schools and community halls and showing films of animals in their natural habitat. Stueck served as president of the Saskatchewan Natural History Society (1953-1954) and wrote for the Society's publication "Blue Jay". Stueck died on October 10, 1979.

An avid wildlife photographer, Stueck became interested in motion picture cinematography around 1950 after he borrowed a camera to film a whopping crane. His amateur footage of wildlife was used for research purposes by the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History, shown in schools and televised by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Stueck won several awards at the Yorkton International Film Festival in the early 1950s.

Stueck was the recipient of numerous awards and honours for his contributions to nature conservation. He received awards from the Saskatchewan Natural History Society (1953) and the Canadian Tourist Association (1961). The Saskatchewan Government named Stueck Island in Lac La Ronge in his honor in 1964 and in 1977 the Museum of Natural History made a film depicting his life. In 1990, Stueck's collection of specimens and artifacts was moved to the Nature- Heritage Museum in Abernethy, where they currently (2011) continue to be one of the museum's major attractions.

Stueck married Jean Hammond in 1920. They had two children: Hugh and Joy. After Jean's death in 1965, Stueck married Mary Erner.

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