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Women for Nature

Image of the Women for Nature logo

Image of Janis Johnson

“With its 75th Anniversary, Nature Canada celebrates the legacy of one woman’s initiative, Mabel Frances Whittemore. Imagine what 75 Women working for Nature will accomplish! I am proud to support Nature Canada’s efforts to protect our natural heritage and connect more Canadians to nature.”

~ Senator Janis Johnson Honourary Chair, Women for Nature

About Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

In celebration of our 75th anniversary in 2014, Nature Canada aims to accelerate our positive impact on nature with the collaborative partnership of 75 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 honorees 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.

Honorary Chair: Senator Janis G. Johnson Small icon of leaf

Kathy AbusowSmall icon of leaf Stella AmblerSmall icon of leaf Margaret AtwoodSmall icon of leaf Céline BakSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Sandra BarrSmall icon of leaf Dawn BazelySmall icon of leaf Deborah BeattySmall icon of leaf Meg BeckelSmall icon of leaf

Annie BlierSmall icon of leaf Cedar Bradley-SwanSmall icon of leaf Sheefra BrisbinSmall icon of leaf Hon. Pauline BrowesSmall icon of leaf

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

Caroline CasselmanSmall icon of leaf Carolyn ChisholmSmall icon of leaf Valerie ChortSmall icon of leaf Cara ClairmanSmall icon of leaf

Catherine CobdenSmall icon of leaf Sheila Colla Small icon of leaf Ashlee Cunsolo Willox Small icon of leaf Radha CurpenSmall icon of leaf

Leanne CusackSmall icon of leaf Professor Ann DaleSmall icon of leaf Joanne DiCosimo Small icon of leaf

The Honourable Elizabeth DowdeswellSmall icon of leaf Kirsty DuncanSmall icon of leaf Linda DuncanSmall icon of leaf

Charlene EastonSmall icon of leaf Susan R. EatonSmall icon of leaf Karen EtheringtonSmall icon of leaf Carolyn FarquharSmall icon of leaf

Joelle FaulknerSmall icon of leaf Rebecca FoonSmall icon of leaf Lisa M. Fox Small icon of leaf Julie GelfandSmall icon of leaf

Senator Nancy Greene RaineSmall icon of leaf Diane GriffinSmall icon of leaf Andrea GoertzSmall icon of leaf Robyn GraySmall icon of leaf

Andrea JalbertSmall icon of leaf Her Excellency Sharon JohnstonSmall icon of leaf Jan KasperskiSmall icon of leaf

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

Dr. Gail KrantzbergSmall icon of leaf Rosanne KyleSmall icon of leafDr. Sonia LabattSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Marty LeonardSmall icon of leaf Betsy MartinSmall icon of leaf Kym MartinSmall icon of leaf

Gillian MasonSmall icon of leafKelly Matheson KingSmall icon of leaf Sharolyn Mathieu VettesseSmall icon of leaf

Elizabeth MaySmall icon of leaf Brenda McCabeSmall icon of leaf Velma McCollSmall icon of leaf Christine MelnickSmall icon of leaf

Stephanie MeyerSmall icon of leaf Juanita MontalvoSmall icon of leaf Anne MurraySmall icon of leaf Joyce MurraySmall icon of leaf

Grace PattersonSmall icon of leaf Jessica Robertson Small icon of leaf Dr. Dianne SaxeSmall icon of leaf Sandra SchwartzSmall icon of leaf

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

Dr. Lynn TomkinsSmall icon of leaf Pamela TourignySmall icon of leaf Karen Clarke Whistler Small icon of leaf Michelle ValbergSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Pamela WrightSmall icon of leaf Laura ZizzoSmall icon of leaf

Kathy Abusow

Stella Ambler

Margaret Atwood

Céline Bak

Sandra Barr

Dr. Dawn Bazely

Deborah Beatty

Meg Beckel

Annie Blier

Cedar Bradley-Swan

Sheefra Brisbin

Hon. Pauline Browes

Sharon Butala

Joan Bush

Stephanie Cairns

Susanna Carson

Caroline Casselman

Carolyn Chisholm

Valerie Chort

Cara Clairman

Catherine Cobden

Sheila Colla

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox

Radha Curpen

Leanne Cusack

Professor Ann Dale

Joanne DiCosimo

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Kirsty Duncan

Linda Duncan

Charlene Easton

Susan R. Eaton

Karen Etherington

Carolyn Farquhar

Rebecca Foon

Lisa M. Fox

Joelle Faulkner

Julie Gelfand

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Diane Griffin

Andrea Goertz

Robyn Gray

Andrea Jalbert

Senator Janis G. Johnson

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston

Jan Kasperski

Donna Kennedy-Glans

Dr. Brenda Kenny

Dr. Leslie King

Dr. Gail Krantzberg

Rosanne Kyle

Dr. Sonia Labatt

Dr. Marty Leonard

Betsy Martin

Kym Martin

Gillian Mason

Kelly Matheson King

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

Elizabeth May

Dr. Brenda McCabe

Velma McColl

Christine Melnick

Stephanie Meyer

Juanita Montalvo

Anne Murray

Joyce Murray

Grace Patterson

Jessica Robertson

Dr. Dianne Saxe

Sandra Schwartz

Arlene Strom

Bridget Stutchbury

Susan Tanner

Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer

Dr. Lynn Tomkins

Pamela Tourigny

Michelle Valberg

Dr. Pamela Wright

Karen Clarke Whistler

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 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 engage and empower Canadians to advocate for nature, save species and protect habitats. 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. Someday our prairies could become desert. Our mountains could become denuded of old growth forests. Our favourite vistas developed beyond recognition. Canada’s iconic polar bear is already at risk, as are 600 other Canadian species. 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.

Ambassador Reception Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Nature Canada’s Board and staff were pleased to celebrate the launch of the Women for Nature initiative, a unique partnership of motivated and influential women who are dedicated to protecting nature. Over 150 founding members, friends, colleagues, politicians and business leaders took part in a Parliamentarian reception showcasing the founding members of Women for Nature. The reception was graciously hosted by Senator Janis Johnson with Senator Nancy Greene Raine and Members of Parliament Stella Ambler, Linda Duncan, Joyce Murray, Kirsty Duncan and Elizabeth May. Cliff Wallis, Nature Canada’s Vice-Chairman thanked Senator Johnson and Julie Gelfand for acting as the Honorary Chair and Co-Chair of the exciting new partnership. With many founding members 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 deep connections to nature. We look forward to inviting other professional women with a deep personal connection to nature to also become involved with the Women for Nature initiative.

View more photos

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


Canadian Electricity Association Logo Sustainable Forestry Initiative Royal Bank of Canada logo The Printing House logo Swarovski Optik logo
Image of the Taste with Stace logo Picture of the Vinexx logo Rae Lipskie Partnership logo Steam Whistle logo Agents of Good logo

Women for Nature Toronto Event

Nature Canada’s Board and staff were pleased to celebrate 75 amazing women as part of our 75th anniversary celebrations on November 24, 2014 in Toronto. Over 90 people gathered together at the Miller Thomson law firm to meet the founding members of Women for Nature and applaud them for their positive efforts to rally around Nature Canada’s efforts to connect more Canadians to nature.

75th anniversary cake

Huge Dyer, representing Miller Thomson welcomed guests in attendance. He noted that Miller Thomson was delighted to partner and host this evening to acknowledge Nature Canada’s 75 years and the 75 accomplished women who have pledged to make a difference, and work together to leave a legacy of respect for Canada’s great natural heritage. Cliff Wallis, vice chair of the Board of Directors named all the founding members in attendance to a chorus of applauds and then introduced Eleanor Fast, our new Executive Director who spoke about the exciting plans for the initiative.

The voices and efforts of the founding members were showcased throughout the reception including our keynote speaker for the evening, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Her Honour was also awarded with the Douglas H. Pimlott Award for her lifelong dedication to conservation in Canada and across the globe.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell

A special video greeting was received from Mrs. Laureen Harper congratulating her fellow founding members for their efforts on behalf of nature. With many founding members finding opportunities to meet other female leaders and re-connect with friends, the evening revolved around spirited conversation and inspiring stories. Our founding members announced the new ambitious goal to be 150 women strong by Canada’s 150th anniversary. We look forward to inviting other professional women with a deep personal connection to nature to become involved with our exciting Women for Nature initiative.

View more photos

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

Miller Thompson Canadian Electricity Association ATPH Swarovski Agents of Good


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