Women Come Together for Nature
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 June 7, 2016. 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 the opening speech featuring the 101st founding member, Catherine McKenna, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. Minister McKenna shared personal reflections on how important spending time in nature. She spoke about the pressing challenge of climate change and encouraged women’s leadership to overcome climate change. MP Elizabeth May then spoke about the Minister McKenna’s leadership at the UN climate meeting in Paris and how we must all come together across sectors as our future depends on action now.
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 also thanked them for supporting our efforts to engage more kids and families with nearby nature through our NatureHood program activities which expanded to 10 cities reaching thousands of children with nature activities.
We introduced our two new co-Chairs for Women for Nature, Prof. Ann Dale and Dr. Brenda Kenny who spoke about the exciting Caucus work and proposed incubator projects around the themes of biodiversity conservation; engaging young girls with nature and STEM, and mentoring future leaders in nature and sustainability to be launched to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
“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.”
– Prof Ann Dale and Dr. Brenda Kenny
Guests also visited with Darwin, a great horned owl who represents the beautiful and unique biodiversity that we all appreciate and want to protect. Our Honorary Chair, Senator Janis Johnson thanked all the guests for attending the evening’s celebration and reminded everyone to take time to enjoy the outdoors, as she does on Lake Winnipeg for stress relief and enjoyable family moments.
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. Contact us to learn more.
Many thanks to our corporate sponsors for their generous support of the event:
Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Royal Bank of Canada, Allegra Marketing Print and Mail, Global Public Affairs, Borden Ladner Gervais, Agents of Good, Southbrook Vineyards, Henry of Pelham, Pelee Island Winery, and SteamWhistle
You can read more about why nature inspires some of our newest founding members:
Stephanie Foster – President, Fostering Sustainability
“Nature inspires, teaches and sustains us. As a Woman for Nature, I look forward to sharing with a new generation of young leaders my appreciation of nature and the gifts it gives us.”
Anne Fouillard – President, Fouduck
“Nature is the Gaia – ecology that links the natural world to humans – understanding it will save our world. That’s why it’s so important that everyone appreciate how this fit into the overall picture.”
Genevieve Young – COO, Global Public Affairs
“Canada’s outdoor spaces, waterways, wildlife and natural resources are what binds this country together. I grew up on camp sites in Algonquin, in canoes on northern Ontario lakes and fishing in Northern BC. Through Women for Nature, I hope to help create these same kinds of opportunities for children in urban settings and to help ensure that these opportunities can exist for generations of children to come.”
Prof Kim Matheson – Dept. of Neuroscience, Carleton University
“Protection of nature is important because it is our spiritual, emotional and physical life blood. I’m involved with Women for Nature as it’s important that women who are in a position to advocate for the protection of nature, and to mentor and serve as role models for future generations, take on that responsibility. If we don’t, we can hardly expect others to do it for us.”
Dr. Sarah Otto – University of British Columbia
“Canada’s natural landscapes are awe inspiring, but they are also some of the fastest changing. Nature Canada is an important voice for protecting our wildlife, helping to ensure that future generations may also be awed and sustained by our natural resources.”
Sandy Sharkey – Boom 99.7 Radio Announcer
“Encouraging today’s children to connect with nature is the best way to ensure that nature is protected forever. I am thrilled to be a member of Nature Canada’s “Women for Nature” initiative. Let’s work together to ensure that nature continues to be the ultimate backdrop for children for generations to come.”
Janet Bax – Strategic Advisor, Council of Science Academies
“I became involved with Women for Nature because nature has always been important to me – Women for Nature allows me to connect with others to find ways to preserve our nature heritage and to use nature to promote other important skills, such as STEM, and to interest young women in ways to become leaders in nature.”
Lyn Brown – Corporate Knights
“I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta. My mom was a born naturalist and teacher. We calendared the return of songbirds each spring, read the sky for storms, and gauged the seasons by wildlife patterns. We grew plants favoured by bees and let natural vegetation reclaim cleared spaces. Women for Nature enables the gift of being “close to the land” as kids to be preserved and shared no matter where home is for Canadians.”
Giulia Brutesco – Senior Director, Fertilizer Canada
“The earth provides us with such greatness. We, as Canadians, are lucky to be surrounded by such a diverse natural environment that not only offers its beauty, but also offers a rich quality of life. We must be the guardians of this great resource to ensure it can continue to thrive and provide for generations.”
Dawn Carr – Executive Director, Canadian Parks Council
“My nature as a kid was found in the creeks and ditches, walks to school, and sub-urban life…. I was not introduced to the diversity Canada’s spectacular nature until high school — through Ontario Rangers — that opened my eyes to the professional opportunities that nature offers to all Canadians. My life since that experience has been driven by a love that runs deep and a desire to ensure that our nature is protected, valued and loved by all.”
Candice Batista – Eco-Journalist
“There is nothing more important to me than the conservation and sustainability of Nature. Working with Nature Canada to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy nature, like I did when I was a kid, is simply imperative to me. We only have one planet. We have a responsibility to take care of it. In the same way it takes care of us.”