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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

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 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 Hon. Rona AmbroseSmall icon of leaf

Dominica Babicki Small icon of leafDr. Sandra BarrSmall icon of leaf Dawn BazelySmall icon of leaf Deborah BeattySmall icon of leaf Meg BeckelSmall icon of leaf Lisa Courtney LloydSmall 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 Hon. Carolyn BennettSmall icon of leafAmy CrossSmall 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 Mrs. Laureen HarperSmall 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 leaf Dr. Sonia LabattSmall icon of leaf

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

Gillian MasonSmall icon of leaf Kelly 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 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

Hon. Rona Ambrose

Margaret Atwood

Céline Bak

Sandra Barr

Dr. Dawn Bazely

Deborah Beatty

Meg Beckel

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

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

Lisa Courtney Lloyd

Amy Cross

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

Mrs. Laureen Harper

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

Megan Leslie

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

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 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.

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/75th anniversary reception held on Parliament Hill on March 24, 2015.  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.

The highlight of this memorable evening was a presentation featuring the 75th founding member, Mrs. Laureen Harper, and the 76th founding member, Minister Rona Ambrose. Mrs. Harper and Minister Ambrose shared their favourite photos and humorous stories from their many hiking excursions together over the years.  Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Elizabeth May then spoke about the health benefits and importance of spending time in nature.  Guests also visited with Apollo, a red tailed hawk who represents the beautiful wildlife that Canadians can view when outdoors in nature.

Nature Canada’s Executive Director, Eleanor Fast, 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 thanked them for supporting our efforts to engage more kids and families with nearby nature through our NatureHood program activities which will occur in 15 urban centres across Canada in the coming years.

We have a new ambitious goal to be 150 women strong by Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. 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:


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