Celebrating Nature Canada’s Members and Partners

Brian Lipskie, President of Rae & Lipskie Partnership, addresses members at our recent member appreciation event.
Mark Dorfman, past Chairman and current member of the Nature Canada Board of Directors, hosted Nature Canada’s Member Appreciate event in Cambridge, Ontario this fall.  He recounts a day spent connecting with Nature Canada’s diverse members and supporters.As the past Chairman of the Board of Directors and a local resident of the Waterloo region, it was my honour and delight to host Nature Canada’s Member Outreach and Appreciation event, held a few weeks ago at Langdon Hall in Cambridge, a beautiful spot so near to the Grand River watershed. With over 50 members from Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge (and a few from as far as Hamilton and Brantford) attending the celebrations, it was an excellent turnout and capacity crowd.It was wonderful to welcome and meet the diversity of people who make up the Nature Canada community, from hikers, birders, botanists, to parents, teachers and professors. With so many naturalists in the room together, it showed me once again that there are people who recognize the beauty of nature, its importance, and who understand the need to protect it. It was also a joy to have the opportunity to re-connect with each other.I spoke of my two favourite memories of the past year. I fondly remembered participating at the dedication ceremony for the Malcolm Bluffs Shore Nature Reserve, a stunning piece of the Bruce Peninsula now protected forever thanks to a bequest left by the late Hugo Germeraad, a Nature Canada member. Attending the Board of Director’s annual general meeting held at Oak Hammock Marsh, an Important Bird Area near Winnipeg, Manitoba was also a highlight for me.

I enjoyed introducing the participants to Ian Davidson (who himself is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s wildlife management course) who has been doing an excellent job of leading Nature Canada since he joined the organization over two years ago.  Ian spoke about the organization’s continued focus on protecting critical habitats and species through the lens of birds, highlighting key successes in our Important Bird Areas work and the numerous local volunteer Important Bird Area Caretakers who are fundamental to its success. Ian began his presentation by introducing the crowd to the cat “bib” which led to a lively discussion about the impact of outdoor cats on bird populations.

He also talked about Nature Canada’s efforts to engage children and youth with nature through the My Parks Pass program, run in partnership with Parks Canada. Given this is the 100th anniversary of our National Parks system, I believe it’s more important than ever for Nature Canada to be actively involved in encouraging the next generation to care as deeply about these magnificent places.

Ian finished by thanking the members and donors of Nature Canada for their dedication and commitment to nature and its protection. Their personal engagement leads to positive action and our many successes.

Our  Member Outreach and Appreciation celebration was sponsored by our portfolio Investment Counsel, Rae & Lipskie who oversee our investments, including the Charles Labatiuk Nature Endowment Fund. Both Ken Rae and Brian Lipskie were in attendance and I thanked them for their continued partnership with our organization over the past decade and invited Brian to speak on behalf of the firm.  Brian outlined the ways their company is actively involved with the local community and thanked us for the opportunity to be involved with such a worthwhile charity.

In concluding the event, I made sure to thank our local partners in attendance such as Fraser Gibson, President of the Kitchener Waterloo Field Naturalists, and Mike Kelly, President of the Guelph Field Naturalists, for their support in our collective efforts. It can be said that the greatest threats to nature cannot be solved by any one organization. Conservation success comes thanks to our strength in numbers.

I most enjoyed the opportunity to meet and thank each of the supporters in attendance (including Legacy donors, Nature Builders, Guardian of Nature monthly donors and annual members), letting them know that it is their loyal and dedicated support that has sustained Nature Canada year after year, for decades.  Our members are core to what we do, and the many successes we will achieve in the future.

A lively question and answer session ensued and many members stayed on longer to have the opportunity to chat with Ian, myself and staff.