Building Future Women Leaders for Future Forests
Kathy Abusow, is the President and CEO of SFI Inc. and a founding member of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative. SFI® Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management.
I’m honoured to share the passion that Women for Nature has for the environment and for passing our values on to others to drive change. As President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), I’m also especially keen to show younger women and girls that they too can take leadership positions that champion both nature and the role of women at the same time.
In my more than two decades as an environmental champion, which began at Harvard University where I concentrated on sustainable development of natural resources, I have seen sustainability move from being a fringe issue to something that is fundamental to environmental, social and economic progress. I am pleased to be part of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative to bring together 150 women of influence as we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. 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. Together we will be more effective in our efforts to inspire young leaders for nature.
SFI’s youth outreach initiatives and community grants are encouraging future leaders for future forests
Two of our important partners are the Girl Guides of Canada and Scouts Canada (which includes girls). With Girl Guides and our partners at Ducks Unlimited Canada, we have engaged girls to build duck nest boxes; building these boxes and installing them in wild places is increasing girls’ awareness of the world they live in and showing them they can make a difference. SFI is also a proud sponsor of Scouts Canada’s annual Scoutrees tree-planting program. Scouts have planted more than 80 million trees across Canada and given girls and boys a sense that they can make a difference. There is no better time than now to reconnect kids with our forests and grow a better place for all of us to live. And if some of these kids are girls who grow up to be leaders in sustainability that will be good for women and for the planet we all share.
We have more in common with Nature Canada than inspiring young leaders for the future. We are busy collaborating today on other initiatives that can make a difference for important species. For example, SFI was delighted to help sponsor Nature Canada’s Women for Nature reception on Parliament Hill for a second year. It featured MPs and Senators from all parties, and included a presentation from the Minister of Health about her personal love for nature.
Our relationship with Nature Canada also includes work on bird conservation
In March, we supported a workshop on the threatened Canada Warbler. It was attended by 30 scientists, conservationists and resource managers who came together in Ottawa to apply the best, most-recent science and problem-solving to halt the decline of the Canada Warbler.
I look forward to working more closely with Eleanor Fast, the Executive Director of Nature Canada, as I believe SFI and Nature Canada are a natural fit when it comes to youth education and promoting conservation awareness.