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Women for Nature

Image of the Women for Nature logo

Image of Janis Johnson

“Nature Canada is the legacy of one woman’s initiative, Mabel France Whittemore. Imagine what 150 Women Strong can accomplish for Nature! I am proud to champion this unique partnership working to protect our natural heritage and connect more Canadians to nature.”

~ Senator Janis Johnson (retired) Chair Emeritus, Women for Nature

About Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, Nature Canada aims to accelerate our positive impact on the natural world with the collaborative partnership of 150 women of influence. Women for Nature is the collaborative voices of Canadian women with vision – women of influence who chose to demonstrate their passion for nature and pass their values on to others to drive change. Women for Nature is a philanthropic initiative comprised of professional women from across Canada – this unique partnership of motivated and influential women champion Nature Canada’s work to their network of colleagues and friends. Together we will be more effective in our efforts to save wildlife, protect nature and inspire young leaders for nature.

Nature Canada was founded in 1939 to honour Mabel Frances Whittemore, an educator and nature lover whose main goal in life was to share her passion for nature with others. Our mission is to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature. We are a member-based non-profit organization of 40,000 supporters and more than 350 naturalist organizations across Canada.

Meet our Members Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Central to the Women for Nature initiative is the opportunity to tell the story of the positive impact honourees have had on our nature and in our communities. We applaud their initiative and commitment to nature. Their generous support and involvement as Ambassadors of our work is much appreciated. Click on the names to read about these remarkable women.

Honourary Chair: Senator Diane Griffin Small icon of leaf

Chair Emeritus: Senator Janis G. Johnson (retired) Small icon of leaf

Kathy AbusowSmall icon of leaf Stella AmblerSmall icon of leaf Hon. Rona Ambrose Small icon of leaf Kristin Anderson Small icon of leaf

Margaret AtwoodSmall icon of leaf Dominica BabickiSmall icon of leaf Céline BakSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Sandra BarrSmall icon of leaf Candice BatistaSmall icon of leaf Janet BaxSmall icon of leaf  Dawn BazelySmall icon of leaf

 Deborah BeattySmall icon of leaf Meg BeckelSmall icon of leaf

 Diane Beckett Small icon of leaf Dr. Valerie Behan-PelletierSmall icon of leaf Amanda BellSmall icon of leaf  Hon. Carolyn BennettSmall icon of leaf 

Annie BlierSmall icon of leaf Alexandra Blum Small icon of leaf Cedar Bradley-SwanSmall icon of leaf Sheefra BrisbinSmall icon of leaf

Hon. Pauline BrowesSmall icon of leaf Lyn BrownSmall icon of leaf Michelle BrownleeSmall icon of leaf Giulia Brutesco Small icon of leaf 

Joan BushSmall icon of leaf Sharon ButalaSmall icon of leaf Stephanie CairnsSmall icon of leaf  Susanna CarsonSmall icon of leaf

  Dawn CarrSmall icon of leaf Caroline CasselmanSmall icon of leaf Nathalie Chalifour Small icon of leafJoanna Chin Small icon of leaf

 Carolyn ChisholmSmall icon of leaf Valerie ChortSmall icon of leaf Cara ClairmanSmall icon of leaf Dr. Amelia Clarke Small icon of leaf

Catherine CobdenSmall icon of leaf Sheila Colla Small icon of leaf Dr.Isabelle CôteSmall icon of leaf

Lisa Courtney LloydSmall icon of leaf Laura Couvrette  Small icon of leaf

 Amy CrossSmall icon of leaf Ashlee CunsoloSmall icon of leaf Radha CurpenSmall icon of leaf Leanne CusackSmall icon of leaf

Professor Ann DaleSmall icon of leaf  Marla David Small icon of leafJoanne DiCosimo Small icon of leaf

 The Honourable Elizabeth DowdeswellSmall icon of leaf Chloe Dragon SmithSmall icon of leafHon. Kirsty DuncanSmall icon of leaf

Linda DuncanSmall icon of leaf Charlene Dunn Small icon of leafCharlene EastonSmall icon of leaf 

Susan R. EatonSmall icon of leaf Lara EllisSmall icon of leaf Karen EtheringtonSmall icon of leaf 

Dr. Karen FarbridgeSmall icon of leaf  Eleanor FastSmall icon of leaf Carolyn FarquharSmall icon of leaf Joelle FaulknerSmall icon of leaf 

Jen FitzpatrickSmall icon of leaf Rebecca FoonSmall icon of leaf Stephanie Foster Small icon of leaf

Anne FouillardSmall icon of leaf Lisa M. FoxSmall icon of leaf Hon. Dr. Hedy FrySmall icon of leaf

Brittany GawleySmall icon of leaf Julie GelfandSmall icon of leaf Lisa (Diz) GlitheroSmall icon of leaf Andrea GoertzSmall icon of leaf  

Susan GoslingSmall icon of leaf Tami GranthamSmall icon of leaf Robyn GraySmall icon of leaf

  Senator Nancy Greene RaineSmall icon of leaf Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Small icon of leafCatherine GrenierSmall icon of leaf

Rachelle Hansen Small icon of leaf  The Honourable Judith Guichon Small icon of leaf Jennifer Haddow Small icon of leaf 

Mrs. Laureen HarperSmall icon of leaf Dr. Isobel HeathcoteSmall icon of leaf  Linda Hohol Small icon of leaf Francesca IacurtoSmall icon of leaf

Mary Anne IvisonSmall icon of leaf Dr. Aerin JacobSmall icon of leaf

 Andrea JalbertSmall icon of leaf Her Excellency Sharon JohnstonSmall icon of leafJess KakneviciusSmall icon of leaf

Jan KasperskiSmall icon of leaf Larkin KeeSmall icon of leaf 

Donna Kennedy-Glans Small icon of leaf Dr. Brenda KennySmall icon of leaf Elizabeth Kilvert Small icon of leaf Dr. Leslie KingSmall icon of leaf

Pat KovalSmall icon of leaf Dr. Gail KrantzbergSmall icon of leaf Rosanne KyleSmall icon of leaf 

Dr. Sonia LabattSmall icon of leaf Jennifer C LangstonSmall icon of leaf Christine LeducSmall icon of leaf

Sheila LeggettSmall icon of leafDr. Marty LeonardSmall icon of leaf Megan LeslieSmall icon of leaf Cara Linzmayer

Nora LivingstoneSmall icon of leaf Dr. TA LoefflerSmall icon of leaf 

Wendy MacKeiganSmall icon of leaf  Cara MacMillan Small icon of leaf

 Marsha MannSmall icon of leaf Kelly Matheson KingSmall icon of leaf 

Kim MathesonSmall icon of leaf  Elizabeth MaySmall icon of leaf Brenda McCabeSmall icon of leaf 

Maureen McCawSmall icon of leaf Velma McCollSmall icon of leaf Fiona McDonaldSmall icon of leaf Hon. Catherine McKennaSmall icon of leaf 

Christine MelnickSmall icon of leafIsabel MetcalfeSmall icon of leaf  Stephanie MeyerSmall icon of leaf 

The Honourable Lois E. MitchellSmall icon of leaf Tracey Mosley Small icon of leaf 

Juanita MontalvoSmall icon of leaf  Anne MurraySmall icon of leaf

Joyce MurraySmall icon of leaf Alexia NaidooSmall icon of leaf Margaret NewallSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Sarah (Sally) OttoSmall icon of leafGrace PattersonSmall icon of leaf

Suzanne Paleczny Small icon of leaf Nadia PetrolitoSmall icon of leaf

Christy PettitSmall icon of leaf Jessica Robertson Small icon of leaf Maggie Romuld Small icon of leaf Dr. Dianne SaxeSmall icon of leaf 

Deborah Schulte Small icon of leaf Dr. Nola-Kate Seymoar Small icon of leaf Sandra SchwartzSmall icon of leaf Sandy SharkeySmall icon of leaf

 Anne-Marie Sheahan Small icon of leaf Henrietta SouthamSmall icon of leaf

 Laren Stadelman Small icon of leaf Nicole StefenelliSmall icon of leaf Arlene StromSmall icon of leaf 

Bridget StutchburySmall icon of leaf Susan TannerSmall icon of leaf Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer Small icon of leaf 

Jennifer TobySmall icon of leaf Dr. Lynn Tomkins Small icon of leaf Michelle ValbergSmall icon of leafSharolyn Mathieu VetteseSmall icon of leaf

Kirsten ViceSmall icon of leaf Susie Washington Smyth Small icon of leaf Karen Clarke Whistler Small icon of leaf Dr. Pamela WrightSmall icon of leaf 

Genevieve Young Small icon of leaf Laura ZizzoSmall icon of leaf 

Kathy Abusow

Stella Ambler

Hon. Rona Ambrose

Margaret Atwood

Dominca Babicki

Céline Bak

Sandra Barr

Janet Bax

Dr. Dawn Bazely

Deborah Beatty

Meg Beckel

Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Annie Blier

Cedar Bradley-Swan

Sheefra Brisbin

Hon. Pauline Browes

Lyn Brown

Joan Bush

Sharon Butala

Stephanie Cairns

Dawn Carr

Susanna Carson

Caroline Casselman

Nathalie Chalifour

Joanna Chin

Carolyn Chisholm

Valerie Chort

Cara Clairman

Dr. Amelia Clarke

Catherine Cobden

Sheila Colla

Lisa Courtney Lloyd

Laura Couvrette

Amy Cross

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox

Radha Curpen

Leanne Cusack

Professor Ann Dale

Marla David

Joanne DiCosimo

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Chloe Dragon Smith

Kirsty Duncan

Linda Duncan

Charlene Dunn

Charlene Easton

Susan R. Eaton

Lara Ellis

Karen Etherington

Karen Farbridge

Carolyn Farquhar

Joelle Faulkner

Jen Fitzpatrick

Rebecca Foon

Stephanie Foster

Lisa M. Fox

Dr. Hedy Fry

Brittany Gawley

Julie Gelfand

Lisa (Diz) Glithero 

Andrea Goertz

Susan Gosling

Tami Grantham

Robyn Gray

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Catherine Grenier

Senator Diane Griffin

Jennifer Haddow

Mrs. Laureen Harper

Linda Hohol

Dr. Isobel Heathcote

Francesca Iacurto

Mary Anne Ivison

Dr. Aerin Jacob

Andrea Jalbert

Senator Janis G. Johnson (retired)

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston

Jess Kaknevicius

Jan Kasperski

Larkin Kee

Donna Kennedy-Glans

Dr. Brenda Kenny

Elizabeth Kilvert

Dr. Leslie King

Pat Koval

Dr. Gail Krantzberg

Rosanne Kyle

Dr. Sonia Labatt

Jennifer C. Langston

Christine Leduc

Dr. Marty Leonard

Megan Leslie

Cara Linzmayer

Nora Livingstone

Dr. TA Loeffler

Cara MacMillan

Marsha Mann

Kym Martin

Kim Matheson

Kelly Matheson King

Elizabeth May

Dr. Brenda McCabe

Maureen McCaw

Velma McColl

Fiona McDonald

Christine Melnick

Stephanie Meyer

The Honourable Lois E. Mitchell

Juanita Montalvo

Anne Murray

Joyce Murray

Alexia Naidoo

Suzanne Paleczny

Grace Patterson

Nadia Petrolito

Christy Pettit

Jessica Robertson

Maggie Romuld

Dr. Dianne Saxe

Sandra Schwartz

Sandy Sharkey

Anne-Marie Sheahan

Laren Stadelman

Nicole Stefenelli

Arlene Strom

Bridget Stutchbury

Susan Tanner

Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer

Dr. Lynn Tomkins

Michelle Valberg

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

Kristen Vice

Susie Washington-Smyth

Karen Clarke Whistler

Dr. Pamela Wright

Genevieve Young

Laura Zizzo

Picture of Julie Gelfand at the Women for Nature Event

“I am convinced that as Canadians we have a global responsibility to protect nature. We still have the opportunity to protect vast areas of wilderness unlike many other places in the world. And we must. As female leaders in our respective fields, we have the opportunity to influence people around us and to introduce youth to the beauty and “wow” of nature.”

~ Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Founding member, Women for Nature

Join Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary, our founding members have set an ambitious goal to be 150 women strong by July 2017 in celebration of Canada’s natural heritage.

As a member of Women for Nature you’ll help influence, inspire, and educate Canadians about the relevance of nature to their lives. You’ll be at the heart of our efforts to rally Canadians to save species, protect habitats and connect children to nature. Your leadership and support, along with other Women for Nature helps fund our innovative national programs which energize young citizens to become leaders for environmental and social changes in their own communities. We greatly value your influential leadership as a member of Nature Canada’s exciting Women for Nature Initiative. Your benefits include:

  • Invitation to the annual Ambassador Reception;
  • Opportunity to network and collaborate with other women leaders;
  • Public listing of your name as a leader in our Women for Nature Initiative, with your permission of course; and
  • Women for Nature Action Report – an exclusive periodic report on the impact and success of Women for Nature.

You can help impact positive change for Canada. Please join with us and become a partner in our Women for Nature Initiative by emailing Jodi at: JJoy@naturecanada.ca or by calling 1-800-267-4088 ext. 239.

Picture of Elizabeth Dowdeswell

“When you start thinking about nature, you’re really thinking about the future, because that’s what the future is going to depend on, that’s what our children are going to depend on, and in fact that’s what our economic wealth is going to depend on.”

~ Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Founding member, Women for Nature

Why Nature Matters Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Our glorious land includes great natural wonders – from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, Prairies to the Arctic, West Coast forests to scenic wonders of Atlantic Canada. But across our land, habitats are at risk or in decline. Species are disappearing. This breakdown in ecosystems could threaten our livelihoods, our health and our lives. Canadians rank environmental issues near the top of the national agenda. But with more people living in urban areas, fewer and fewer have a personal connection to the land.

The more people understand the natural world, its beauty, its gifts, its fragility and how we are dependent on nature, the more likely they will be to take action to protect the natural environment. And, we have the science to demonstrate that access to nature has tremendous health benefits including relieving stress and fostering creativity. Women for Nature are in a unique position to share this message and engage Canadians.

Image of Brenda Kelly
Image of Ann Dale

“Nature’s future, our future, requires us to collaborate, innovate, and lead. We are working together to sustain biodiversity and heart-felt connection to nature across this great country.”

~ Dr. Brenda Kenny and
Professor Ann Dale
Co-chairs, Women for Nature

Incubator Projects Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol 

To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, Women for Nature welcome and encourage members of the network to use their leadership and their initiative to influence, inspire and educate Canadians about nature.  More specifically, Women for Nature support members from within the network to self-organize and take leadership on incubator projects that advance key priorities related to:

  • Biodiversity conservation;
  • Engagement of youth in nature and as future leaders; and
  • Informing government policies.

Through these incubator projects, we will motivate more Canadians to enjoy, protect and advocate for nature:

Young Nature Leadership Grant – generously sponsored by Women for Nature

Women for Nature initiative is pleased to announce the first recipients of its exciting new Young Nature Leadership Grant. The goal of the grant is to encourage, foster and nurture youth to demonstrate their own leadership for nature.

Canadian youth were invited to develop and implement (in 2017) a project inspired by the Canadian Parks Council’s recently published The Nature Playbook that connects a new generation with nature by bringing them into the nature.

The $1,000 bursary will support project implementation in the year 2017, in celebration of the role that nature has played in our Canadian culture and identity. As well, successful winners may choose to be matched with Women for Nature mentors.  More details are found under the tab, Leader Grant.

Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Women for Nature and Mentorship Initiative

Women have been reluctant to seek mentors.  Even successful women who have themselves served as mentors, may not have been mentored.  Mentorship rarely happen by itself.  There have to be deliberate efforts to encourage women to seek out mentors and to accept invitations to mentor.

What is mentorship?  Simply put, mentorship, when it is successful, is a relationship between a mentee and a mentor that provides development opportunities for both as follows:

  • for the mentee, it advances learning, leadership and career opportunities.
  • for the mentor, it enhances leadership skills and expands perspectives.

Women for Nature aims to develop a mentorship initiative whose objective is to:

Connect youth leaders and Women for Nature mentors to learn from one another, to work together to ensure that nature conservation is advanced in Canada, and to promote and encourage youth leadership.

Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Biodiversity Conversations: How important are the common loon and polar bears to Canadians?

Moderated by our Co-Chair of Women for Nature, Professor Ann Dale, there will be an online curated series of real-time virtual conversations starting in September 2017, over a period of eight months.

Never has this imperative been more critical as the 2016 Living Planet Report states that 67% of wild animals will disappear by 2020. These conversations are designed to increase civic awareness around critical questions and engagement around the importance of biodiversity conservation for all Canadians.

  • Why is it important to Canadians?
  • What are the drivers and barriers for conservation?
  • How important are Canadian icons such as the common loon and polar bears?
  • Most importantly, what can we do individually and collectively to protect it?

By convening female researchers, practitioners and civil society leaders from diverse sectors across the country to stimulate ideas, dialogue and local actions, we can identify, discuss, and identify strategies to help inform decision-makers and Canadians.

Parliamentary Reception Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Nature Canada’s Board and staff were pleased to celebrate women’s leadership for nature at the Women for Nature reception held on Parliament Hill on October 23, 2017.  With many guests finding opportunities to meet other female leaders and re-connect with friends and former colleagues, the evening revolved around spirited conversation and inspiring stories of personal connections to nature.

Senator Diane Griffin and the owl Celeste

Senator Diane Griffin and the owl Celeste

The new Chair of Women for Nature, Senator Diane Griffin reflected on her many decades of work as a conservationist and other environmentalists she has worked alongside such as the Chair of Nature Canada, Bob Peart,  MP Elizabeth May, Nature Canada Director, Cliff Wallis and MP Linda Duncan.   She was delighted to meet the Young Nature leaders in attendance for the reception, thanks to the support of the Canadian Parks Council, Parks Canada and Cottonwood Consulting.  Senator Griffin highlighted some of the various nature based projects that our Young Women for Nature – Olivia DesRoches from Hampton, NB, Martha Henderson from Whitehorse, YK, Caroline Merner from Vancouver, BC, and Chantal Tempelman from Cochrane, AB have lead on this past year.

She remarked, “These young women and their projects are a step in the right direction to help enable more young Canadians to connect with nature and assist in protecting our precious wildlife and habitats.”

Senator Rosa Galvez also shared her personal experiences about being a champion for nature and her one wish is to never again have to “clean up environmental messes”.  She reminded us that there is “no Planet B”. She spoke about the need to be “stubborn” to be successful in your career, as she experienced.  This served her well and she encouraged the young women to be strong voices for nature.

Nature Canada Board Director and Women for Nature co-chair, Dr. Brenda Kenny thanked all the founding members of Women for Nature for being excellent champions of Nature Canada’s work to connect more Canadians to nature.  She also thanked them for their innovative incubators projects, E-Dialogues on Biodiversity, and the Young Nature Leaders bursaries and mentorships launched in this special anniversary year.  She also introduced 4 of our Young Women for Nature mentees who were able to join in the celebrations.

Caroline Merner spoke on behalf of our youth leaders about how excited they are to be paired with a Woman for Nature mentor and appreciate that Women for Nature understands the importance of engaging youth to take action for nature’s future.

Image of four of the Young Women for Nature photographed by Caroline Phillips.

Young Women for Nature photographed by Caroline Phillips.

Minister McKenna, who was instrumental in assisting Women for Nature promote the Young Nature leaders grant, also spoke at the reception about the importance of people connecting with nature and was delighted to personally meet and hear about some of the nature based programs that the Young Women for Nature are undertaking to connect other youth to nature.

Image of Minister McKenna at the Women for Nature reception

Minister McKenna at the Women for Nature reception

Guests also visited with Celeste, a great horned owl who represents the beautiful and unique biodiversity that we all appreciate and want to protect. Nature Canada’s new Executive Director Graham Saul, thanked all the guests and sponsors for attending the evening’s celebration. He remarked it is an especially opportune time to seek great advances on behalf of nature through strengthening of our environmental laws and securing more wilderness protection to meet our international commitments by 2020.

We encourage other professional women to get involved with Women for Nature to champion biodiversity conservation, help connect youth to nature and mentor future leaders for nature. Contact us (jjoy@naturecanada.ca) to learn more.

For more pictures and to learn more, please read the Ottawa business journal article here.





Many thanks to our corporate sponsors for their generous support of the event:


 SFI Logo  Royal Bank of Canada logo
Cottonwood Logo global-public-affairs-logo The Printing House Logo
Image of Pelee Island Steam Whistle Logo

“When it comes to the future of our environment, we want to do the right thing for ourselves and for our children…”

~ Senator Diane Griffin
Honourary Chair, Women for Nature

Dawn Carr

“My nature as a kid was found in nearby nature like the creeks and ditches, walks to school, and sub-urban life… In high school my eyes were opened to the professional opportunities that nature offers to all Canadians.  My life since has been driven by a love that runs deep and a desire to ensure that our nature is protected, valued and loved by all.”

~ Dawn Carr
Women for Nature Caucus member

Image of Laren Stadelman

“It seems so fitting to focus our efforts on young leaders and play —truly sowing seeds for the future beyond Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

~ Laren Stadelman
Women for Nature Caucus member

Young Nature Leaders  Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol    

What a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday by encouraging young Canadians to act as a strong voice for nature!

Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative is pleased to announce that 6 young nature leaders from across the country have been chosen as Nature Canada’s first recipients of our exciting new Young Nature Leadership Grant.

The goal of the grant is to encourage, foster and nurture youth to demonstrate their own leadership for nature. It is because of the generosity of Women for Nature members that we are able to award these young women for $1,000 bursary towards their projects:

Caroline Merner
Vancouver, BCImage of Caroline Merner
Chantal Templeman
Cochrane, ABImage of Chantal Templeman
Mathilde Papillon
Ottawa, ONImage of Mathilde Papillon
Nina Andrascik
Ottawa, ONImage of Nina Andrascik
Martha Henderson
Whitehorse, YKImage of Martha Henderson
Olivia DesRoches
Hampton, NBImage of Olivia DesRoches

“What an awesome way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary by empowering emerging Young Nature Leaders to champion nature.  By working together we can conserve, and encourage new generations to connect with nature.”

Dawn Carr, Women of Nature and Project Leader Executive Director of the Canadian Parks Council


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