Nature Canada President Leaves “Dream Job”, Plans to Step Down November 17
Julie Gelfand will be stepping down as Nature Canada’s President after sixteen years of service with the organization.
Julie’s years with Nature Canada were, in her words, “a dream come true.”
“I began at Nature Canada on Nov 22 1992, when I was appointed Executive Director of what was then known as the Canadian Nature Federation. It was a job I’d wanted since I was 19 years old and I was studying biology at Carleton University. I bought my first pair of binoculars from the CNF store in 1980, and eventually got the job of my dreams at the tender age of 31.”
Under Julie’s leadership, Nature Canada has led the struggle to win increased recognition of protected areas, establish many new parks and marine conservation areas protecting hundreds of kilometers of wild nature, and bring about new federal legislation to protect nature, including the Species at Risk Act in 2002, among several others. While Julie was President, Nature Canada also completed the significant undertaking of identifying Canada’s Important Bird Areas, and helped provide tens of thousands of children with experiences in nature through the Parks and People Program.
She has been instrumental in growing Canada’s commitment to BirdLife International, the global alliance of conservation organizations working together for the world’s birds and people. Her dedication to Canada’s community of naturalists has helped strengthen ties with like-minded groups everywhere, ensuring conservation success through effective partnerships. Julie created and chaired the Green Budget Coalition, one of Canada’s most successful environmental coalitions working to promote ecological fiscal reform.
“We are very proud of Julie’s accomplishments as President of Nature Canada and we are confident that her legacy will be remembered for many years,” said Mark Dorfman, Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors. “We sincerely thank Julie for her care of, stewardship of and devotion to Nature Canada.”
Julie has accepted the position of Vice President, Sustainable Development with the Mining Association of Canada, responsible for biodiversity issues and the “Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative,” their award winning corporate social responsibility program.
Nature Canada’s board of directors has announced the appointment of Ruth Catana, Director of Public Affairs, as Acting President effective November 18, 2008.
Ruth has been with Nature Canada for twelve years and has overseen the communication, marketing, fundraising and public outreach programs. She brings with her over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector and has held various leadership roles in partnership development, strategic planning and operations. As Acting President, Ruth will continue to build on Nature Canada’s conservation and outreach programs at the national and international levels.
Nature Canada’s Board of Directors will be conducting a national search for a new President during the coming months.