Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada
Why I’m involved with Nature Canada’s Women for Nature Initiative
News

Why I’m involved with Nature Canada’s Women for Nature Initiative

[caption id="attachment_3235" align="alignright" width="230"]Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and guests Sophie Grégoire Trudeau with Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice (left) and Jason Edmunds, Adventure Canada (right).[/caption] This blog is written by Women for Nature member Dawn Bazely.  In the photo above, that really is me (centre), Dave Reid (far left), and Heidi Langille (near left) with a live Great-Horned Owl, and their very calm, young handler, at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, on September 30, 2016. Dave, Heidi and I had a reunion, after working together on Adventure Canada's Arctic Explorer expedition cruise in August 2016. Other attendees at the Nature Canada Nature Ball included Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, who became women 100 and 101 respectively in Nature Canada's Women for Nature Network. Fellow York University professor, Bridget Stutchbury, who, like me is a Woman for Nature, was also there, to celebrate the success of this expanding network. Many of us were meeting in person for the first time. [caption id="attachment_3236" align="alignleft" width="200"]Image of Bridget Stutchbury Bridget Stutchbury[/caption] Bridget (left) is smiling, as she listens to Margaret Atwood, another Woman for Nature, describe her creative solution for bringing attention to the inconvenient truth that domestic cats are a major cause of songbird mortality. Much of my ecology research is applied, with direct applications for nature management and conservation. However, I well know that the likelihood of my research being taken up into policy and action, depends on how well it's mobilized to diverse non-academic communities, from policy makers, to the broader public(s). The reality is, that lots of important conservation biology research won't and doesn't get acted upon. I learned a lot about the science-policy-politics nexus when I was director of York University's Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability, IRIS.


When I stepped down in spring 2014, after 4 terms as the director of IRIS, and returned to being a regular Biology Professor, I had more time to engage in different kinds of knowledge mobilization from the work I traditionally do on many government committees, and in science communication. I started looking for possibilities. While I often support environmental charities, and occasionally receive research funding from some of them, I know that I can do more. I joined Nature Canada's Women for Nature network and fundraising effort when it launched in 2014, because it provided a new way for me to bring my expertise and experience out of the ivory tower.nature-canada-nature-ball-banner-2 The Women for Nature initiative was founded to celebrate Nature Canada's 75th anniversary. It brings together a diverse group, that includes politicians, academics, scientists, educators, businesswomen, writers and artists, all of whom are interested in nature conservation, the environment and education. I was attracted to Women for Nature's feminist, crowdfunding vibe and its sustainability thinking. There's a 3-year pledge of an annual donation, which, relative to the overall philanthropy world, is small potatoes, but is, at this stage of my career, actually affordable for me: I've reached the point in my professional career, where I can donate $100 a month to a charity. The idea that I could be a micro-philanthropist, and have my contribution join with those of many others, to create a substantial amount, is a strange and exciting feeling. It probably helped, that I'm familiar with the crowdfunding concept, as an enthusiastic supporter of projects on crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. I'm also well aware that this level of donation represents a huge amount of money, and presents a barrier to participation, for many talented women. Unsurprisingly, the Women for Nature currently tilt to an older demographic. I do know that many of us are reflecting on this reality, in the context of the many barriers to women participating in STEM and other sectors, and I very much hope that Nature Canada will be able to find ways of diversifying our demographic. What's very cool, is that the women who join this network are all "doers" with, collectively, centuries of experience. This is a deep and ever-widening pool of talent, with the wisdom to know that reinventing wheels is, mostly, a waste of time. Our approach, thus far, has been to seek to partner with existing networks and organizations in taking action on the biodiversity front, and to identify and fill gaps. As mentioned earlier, I like the many sustainability principles threaded through the conversations and emerging ethos of the group. [caption id="attachment_3233" align="alignleft" width="288"]Dr. David A. Kirk Dr. David A. Kirk reading Angel CatBird[/caption] The Women for Nature are still figuring out actions and projects to get behind, though we have made a lot of progress over a short time, since launching. Nature and environmental education have, unsurprisingly, emerged as key themes, along with mentorship and support for girls and women in STEM. We are a pragmatic, down-to-earth group with a humorous, positive outlook. Biodiversity loss and climate change can't depress us enough to stop us from taking action. We can still take time out to celebrate small victories and get to know each other at events, such as the Nature Ball which featured only women on the podium! By the way, that's long-time family friend Dr. David A. Kirk checking out Margaret Atwood's graphic novel introducing her new superhero Angel Catbird.
Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

A Magical Night Out For Nature!
News

A Magical Night Out For Nature!

On September 30th we held our inaugural Nature Ball, welcoming 300 of Canada's most notable nature friends and champions to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, in support of our NatureHood program, an initiative that supports activities that help children and families discover nearby nature for the mental and physical benefits and engage them in the future protection of our efforts. This “magical night out for nature” honoured Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Patron of the Nature Ball, as Nature Canada’s 100th Women for Nature. Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau speech highlighted some of her best memories in nature as a child growing up in the Laurentians and its positive effect on her. She shared a personal poem that connected deeply to our audience about the importance of appreciating and spending time in nature. [one_half] [caption id="attachment_29617" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_29618" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image of the Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Sophie Grégoire Trudeau taking the stage[/caption] [/one_half_last] Margaret Atwood, our featured speaker, spoke with wit and charm about her forthcoming graphic novel ANGELCATBIRD and its message of keeping cats safe and saving birds lives. Ms. Atwood generously donated copies of ANGELCATBIRD to each guest included in their gift bag that also featured African Black Honey products and a Woods sleeping bag kindly donated by Canadian Tire. [caption id="attachment_29620" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image of Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] After enjoying a sustainable dinner, guests were treated to a musical performance by Chantal Kreviazuk, who shared with us select pieces from her sixth studio album Hard Sail. [caption id="attachment_29621" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image of Chantal Kreviazuk Chantal Kreviazuk at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] This night would not have been possible without the support of our bright and lively EmCee Marci Ien. The night ended on a high note as Sandy Sharkey loaned her energetic voice to our live auction. The most interesting auction item up for bid was the name-sake of a new character in future publications of Margaret Atwood’s ANGELCATBIRD series. Overall the Nature Ball garnered over $95,000 towards connecting more Canadians and their children to their nearby nature and shared the important message that wildlife and habitats in Canada is ours to protect and conserve, we must engage others in our journey and continuously advocate on behalf of nature. An enormous thank you to the Volunteer Ball Committee chaired by Sheefra Brisbin for their volunteer leadership and vision of the Nature Ball! [one_half]

    • Sheefra Brisbin (Chair)
    • Riad Mansour (Vice-Chair)
    • Henrietta Southam (Creative Director)
    • Sheila O’Gorman (Entertainment Director)
[/one_half] [one_half_last]
  • Niall Quaid (Production & Logistics Director)
  • Donna-Lee Brayton
  • Andrew Balfour
[/one_half_last] Special thanks to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and all the staff at Fairmont Chateau Laurier who made Nature Canada’s inaugural Nature Ball such a success!
Canadian Tire Logo Woods-Logo North Star Logo Fairmont Logo TD Bank Logo Cadillac Fairview Logo Adventure Canada Logo

Click here to see our additional in-kind and Corporate Table leaders.

To see photos from this magical night, check out our slideshow below! Photography courtesy of Bente Nielsen. [rev_slider alias="NatureBall"] To see the event covered in the Hill Times, click here. To read more and see more photos, click here.
Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

Nature Canada honours Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau  Canada’s premiere supporter of nature and outdoors
News

Nature Canada honours Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Canada’s premiere supporter of nature and outdoors

Margaret Atwood and Chantal Kreviazuk Two of Canada’s exemplary public icons are featured guests

(OTTAWA Sept. 30, 2016)—Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest conservation charity, will roll out the ‘Green Carpet’ tonight at its inaugural Nature Canada Ball to honour Canada’s premiere supporter of nature and the outdoors, Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Madame Grégoire Trudeau will be honoured tonight as the 100th member of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative. Madame Grégoire Trudeau will be the Patron of the Ball. “Our natural environment plays a strong role in our family. Whether it’s out for a hike or gliding along in a canoe or a paddle board in the Gatineau region, there are distinct physical and mental benefits – for children and for adults – that come with connecting with nature,” says Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. “Caring about nature and the outdoors is the foundation for a healthy society. Our children and the world depend on it.” A dedicated advocate for nature and a healthy living society, Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau will be accompanied by Canadian poet, novelist and award winning environmental activist Margaret Atwood and three-time Juno Award winner Canadian singer and songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk. “Madame Grégoire Trudeau is a highly influential and respected contemporary woman who personifies Nature Canada’s mission to connect more Canadians especially youth and families to nature,” says Ms. Sheefra Brisbin, Nature Canada’s Vice-Chair and Chair of Nature Canada’s Ball. “Having Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau here tonight in partnership with Margaret Atwood and Chantal Kreviazuk—two of Canada’s exemplary public icons—as advocates and role models for the important role nature plays in the lives of families and children highlights the importance of the event for us at Nature Canada,” adds Brisbin. Ms. Atwood, a founding member of Women for Nature and the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays has recently released her first graphic novel entitled ANGEL CATBIRD in tandem with Nature Canada’s bird conservation efforts.   Ms. Kreviazuk a Canadian singer-songwriter of the adult contemporary music genre and classically trained pianist has recently released Hard Sail, her first solo effort in seven years. Nature Canada is proud to partner with Canadian Tire, TD Bank Group, Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, Adventure Canada and Cadillac Fairview on its inaugural Nature Ball.  Proceeds from the Nature Canada Ball including a spectacular array of live auction items are supporting Nature Canada’s Naturehood program aimed at connecting children to nearby nature. See attached Backgrounder for the list of generously donated auction items. For media assistance please contact:   Janet Weichel McKenzie 613-808-4642 cell jweichelmckenze@gmail.com About Nature Canada Nature Canada was founded in 1939 because of the passion and initiative of Mabel Frances Whittemore, a teacher and nature lover whose main goal in life was to share her passion for nature with others. Today, Nature Canada represents a network comprised of 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country with affiliates in every province. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect more than 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat as well as engaging hundreds of thousands of Canadians especially children in nature through its activities.

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

Donate