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Shelby Kutyn: An Artist, Environmentalist and Young Woman for Nature
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Shelby Kutyn: An Artist, Environmentalist and Young Woman for Nature

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Shelby Kutyn is a Young Women for Nature mentee, and a student at the University of Victoria, where she will be completing the final year of her Bachelors of Science degree, with a double major in Marine Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences. She is spending this summer working as a research assistant at an oyster aquaculture farm, where her research focusses on tracking environmental patterns that will enable them to predict when Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreaks will occur, thus helping reduce the risk of sickness from eating oysters. Having grown up on Vancouver Island, and surrounded by nature, pinpointing a specific moment when she realized her love for nature was difficult. Shelby spent much of her childhood camping, visiting parks such as Goldstream Park during the salmon spawn and exploring the great diversity of beaches on the Island. She says that these childhood experiences are “what drove me to pursue biology, and more specifically marine biology in school. I want to be a marine biologist because I love the ocean and I want to contribute to restoring it to its historical health.” Shelby first became involved with Nature after her supervisor at Science Venture mentioned the Women for Nature mentorship initiative. At the time she was a science instructor with Science Venture, which a non-profit organization that delivers hands-on science workshops and camps for youth. Every week, Shelby would teach STEM to a girls club for students that flourished in non-traditional school settings. This presented Shelby with the opportunity to run hands-on experiments and activities with them, thus facilitating learning that was experiential. Being involved in the Young Women for Nature mentorship initiative turned the tables on Shelby, and was, as she puts it “inspiring, and thought-provoking.” Her mentor Stephanie Foster provided help whenever she needed, shared her perspective on environmental work from the consulting side, and connected her with other women who are pursuing research in areas of study related to marine biology. Shelby has felt the positive impact of this mentorship on her life – one that she aims to carry in her future endeavors as an environmentalist. While completing her BSc. Degree with a double major in Marine Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, she will also be working toward environmental conservation and awareness through her artwork. She says that her work “Focuses on animals that are native to the BC coast and those that are endangered. By showing the intrinsic beauty of these animals in their natural habitats I hope to make people aware of the environmental threats these animals face and inspire people to take action and speak out for these animals’ rights.” She sells prints and originals of paintings and donates part of the proceeds to non-profit organizations to help fund research, media campaigns, and other initiatives that work towards saving our environment and the biodiversity it contains.


Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Olivia DesRoches: A Young Woman For Nature
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Olivia DesRoches: A Young Woman For Nature

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Olivia DesRoches is a Young Woman for Nature, and a Grade 12 student at Hampton High School who first became involved with Nature Canada after receiving the Young Nature Leadership Grant, and then as a Women for Nature mentee. The Young Nature Leadership Grant was awarded to Olivia for a project that her grade 11 Math class was hoping to get off the ground. Last Spring, after watching the documentary Before the Flood, Olivia and her classmates were motivated to do something that would help them and their community reduce their environmental impact. Together, they decided to build a greenhouse at their school.


Evidently, such a project required a significant amount of funding, and as such, Olivia set out to find ways to fund the project. The first grant for which she applied, and later received, was the Young Nature Leadership Grant with Nature Canada. Being the first scholarship the group received, it served as the starting point that legitimized their project, and helped them begin to move forward. After receiving the Nature Canada grant on Earth Day, in April of 2017, the students spent the remainder of the school year and summer working together to raise funds through the community and local businesses. Come September, the project was fully funded. Planning for the greenhouse began in September of 2017, and the construction began soon after a groundbreaking ceremony for the greenhouse held in New Brunswick, to which the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and Nature Canada's Board of Directors, including a few Women For Nature members, attended. Since then, groups of students aged between nine and eighteen years  old have been working on the greenhouse. Two to three times a week after school, sometimes pulling classes to help with various parts of the construction, the students worked to get the greenhouse standing and airtight (protected from the elements) before the first snowfall, then began again after the weather started to ‘let up’ near the end of February. Olivia’s love for nature and dedication to the planet is evident from her hard work and initiative. She said that spending time at summer camp as a camper and then counselor for the past five summers solidified her love for spending time in nature, and appreciation for the environment. Going further than an average nature lover, and as a Young Woman for Nature and Young Nature Leadership Grant recipient, Olivia was flown out to Ottawa in November 2017 for the Nature Canada: Women for Nature Parliamentary reception. There she was able to speak with other Young Women for Nature and Women for Nature, and present her project to Parks Canada. She also met with Senator Griffin, who is the Honorary Chair of Women for Nature and Olivia's local MP as well. She said that being able to attend the reception was one of the most defining experiences of this entire project. To “be in a room with people my own age and women, and to have similar mindsets and similar goals was really empowering.” Olivia is set to graduate from high school in the coming weeks, and to attend St Thomas University in Fredericton to pursue a Bachelor of Arts double major in Political Science and Psychology in the fall of 2018. Despite not pursuing a degree specific to environmental sciences, her experience as a Young Woman for Nature was encouraging because it enabled her to meet other women, and “hear their stories and [see that] so many of them didn’t have an environmental science degree […] and found ways to incorporate their love for nature into what they’re doing professionally.” The Hampton High School greenhouse is anticipated to open its doors this summer. We are excited to see the how the Greenhouse will grow throughout its first year, and the continuous growth that will be part of its many years to come.

Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Jenny Jachtorowicz: A Young Woman For Nature Mentee
Jenny
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Jenny Jachtorowicz: A Young Woman For Nature Mentee

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Jenny Jachtorowicz is a second year student at Carleton University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology. Jenny first became involved with Nature Canada as a Young Woman for Nature mentee for the Women for Nature mentorship initiative, shortly after being a member of the Youth Council with Ontario Nature. As a student of Forensic Psychology, Jenny will have a unique entry point to the environmental industry, and her Women for Nature mentor, Margaret Beckel, the Director of the Museum of Nature, has helped her connect the dots between her passion, studies and professional aspirations. Joining her love for the environment to her interest in Forensic Psychology, Jenny is looking to base her upcoming thesis on the reasoning and factors behind civil disobedience motivated by environmental concerns. The subject of environmental crime and psychology is incredibly interesting, and, with little research on its subject to date, further studies of it will make Jenny an innovator in the field. Her love for the environment, and learning in nature spurred in grade 10, when her high school collaborated with the Public Board Bronte Creek Project: Trail Program. In this program, Jenny was able to complete four high school credits in an outdoor setting. Their classes would take place in a cabin; however, they spent the remainder of their time doing work outside and in nature. This experience opened her eyes to sustainability and enabled her to get out of the traditional classroom setting.

As an Ontario Nature Youth Council Member

The following year, Jenny became a member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council. Her journey with Ontario Nature began after she saw a post about their Youth Summit on social media, and was motivated to meet other people that were equally passionate about the environment.  Following the weekend retreat, she became involved with the Ontario Nature Youth Council and began her journey championing various environmental endeavors across Ontario. Over the past three years, Jenny has been involved in many projects with Ontario Nature. One of the most prominent projects was the Pollinator Project – for which Ontario Nature partnered with Bee City Canada to encourage towns, regions and cities to put forward declarations to take actions to protect spaces for pollinators. Jenny was the driving force behind making Halton, her hometown region a Bee Friendly region, and is setting her sights on making Carleton University the first ‘Bee Friendly Campus’ in the nation’s capital. [caption id="attachment_37483" align="aligncenter" width="960"] The Ontario Nature Youth Council. Photo provided by Jenny.[/caption]

A Young Woman for Nature Mentee

Most recently, Jenny became a Young Woman for Nature mentee with Nature Canada, and a mentee as part of the Women for Nature mentorship pilot. She said her experience as a mentee was interesting, eye opening and motivating. Jenny mentioned how valuable it was to have Margaret as a mentor because, while she does not have a nature or environmental degree, she was, nonetheless, working as the Director for the Canadian Museum of Nature. Jenny mentions how “it was interesting to speak with someone in the environmental field,” and that, “as someone that is pursuing a degree that is not directly connected to nature, it is interesting to see how other people can get there.” Margaret helped her see the possibility for any educational experience or degree to cater to environmentalism, in addition to how to gain different, and useful skill sets that will advantageous when entering the workforce.

Next Steps

This summer Jenny will be working as a research assistant at Carleton University for the Geography and Cartography Department. She will also be continuing to champion to make Ottawa a better environment for pollinators – and is working toward having Carleton University become the first Bee Friendly Campus in the Nation’s capital.

Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Sevrenne Sheppard: A Young Woman for Nature from Coast to Coast
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Sevrenne Sheppard: A Young Woman for Nature from Coast to Coast

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Sevrenne Sheppard is a Young Woman for Nature that hails from Vancouver Island, and that will be graduating this October with a Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Ecological Determinants of Health in Society with a minor in Urban Systems Geography at McGill University, in Montreal, QC. Sevrenne first became involved with Nature Canada as a Young Women for Nature following the suggestion of a former colleague that she apply for the Young Women for Nature mentorship initiative. Sevrenne successfully applied to the mentorship initiative – effectively combining her love for the environment and interest in connecting with women who share similar passions, values and goals.

From Marmots on Vancouver Island to Urban Greenspaces at McGill University

[caption id="attachment_37467" align="alignright" width="300"] Sevrenne.[/caption] Although she is just completing her Honours Bachelor degree, Sevrenne has extensive and impressive experience in the environmental field. Her journey began very early on, when she was in third grade and endeavored to raise donations and awareness for the recovery of the Vancouver Island Marmot population, which had reached a record low of 30 marmots at the time. Since that first foray, she has worked with environmental organizations across the country. Going back to the summer of 2014, Sevrenne was an instructor with Science Venture at University of Victoria, and then spent the following summer as an Outreach Instructor with Actua in the Arctic for eight communities in the Kivaliq and Kitikmeot regions of Nunavut. [caption id="attachment_37469" align="alignleft" width="237"] Fresh Roots Farm in Vancouver, BC.[/caption] After that, she started an arts-based environmental education program in Haida Gwaii between January and April of 2016. Later that year, she interned with Jane’s Walk in Toronto, and finally coordinated SOYL leadership program with Fresh Roots in Vancouver in 2017. Currently, Sevrenne is living in the metropolitan city of Montreal. Despite being surrounded by buildings, she has stayed connected to nature through a market gardening apprenticeship with the Concordia Greenhouse Project, and has remained active in her nearby nature with frequent runs around Montreal’s urban greenspaces and parks, such as Parc Lafontaine.

 As a Young Woman for Nature

So far, Sevrenne described her experience as a Young Woman for Nature mentee as
“Grounding, inspiring and learnful.” (Learnful being a word that she “made up [herself] and now uses all the time because it is so relevant to [her] life.”)
Sevrenne highlighted the support and insight that her mentor, Cara Clairman, the President and CEO of Plug’nDrive, provided: “She’s very supportive and encouraging and […] made me feel much more equipped with a vision of what the future holds, and equipped to reach the goals that I have for my professional life.” Overall, the experience as a Young Woman for Nature “Helped me to see what my options are and feel like I don’t have to make one big choice – I can try things out and see how they go. At this early point in my career, it’s more about finding out what I like to do and what I’m good at – and also finding out what I don’t like too! And that can mean taking wrong turns, taking risks, making mistakes. My main takeaway is reassurance that it is all part of the process, and the process is supposed to be a little messy.” For those who are looking to become involved in the environmental movement, Sevrenne recommends, “to not be afraid to try new things […]. All of those experiences are valuable and give you a better sense of what your strengths are, which can build your capacity in whatever work you do! Finding people who you love to work with is important also - make things happen together! Your friends and your communities are your greatest resources.” [caption id="attachment_37470" align="alignright" width="384"] Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_37468" align="alignleft" width="388"] Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.[/caption]


Mastering the Future

Sevrenne pressed that, “it is essential to pay attention to the social part of the environment. Humans are part of the environment too. We do [many] things that impact nature, and nature impacts us in turn – we’re inextricably linked.” With inter-connectivity in mind, she is looking to continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies, learning about social and natural sciences. We are confident that Sevrenne will remain a strong advocate for the well-being of young people and reinforce the importance of their roles as leaders in the environmental movement and beyond, as is she.

Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Women for Nature 2017 Parliamentary Reception
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Women for Nature 2017 Parliamentary Reception

On October 23, 2017, 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. With many guests finding opportunities to meet other female leaders and reconnect with friends and former colleagues, the evening revolved around spirited conversation and inspiring stories of personal connections to nature. The new Chair of Women for Nature, Senator Diane Griffin reflected on her many decades of work as a conservationist and other environmentalists she has worked alongside such as the Chair of Nature Canada, Bob Peart,  MP Elizabeth May, Nature Canada Director, Cliff Wallis and MP Linda Duncan.  She was delighted to meet the Young Nature leaders in attendance for the reception, thanks to the support of the Canadian Parks Council, Parks Canada and Cottonwood Consulting.  Senator Griffin highlighted some of the various nature based projects that our Young Women for Nature – Olivia DesRoches from Hampton, NB, Martha Henderson from Whitehorse, YK, Caroline Merner from Vancouver, BC, and Chantal Tempelman from Cochrane, AB have lead on this past year. [caption id="attachment_35169" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Image of Women for Nature photo by Senate of Canada (L) Honourable Senator Diane Griffin, Olivia DesRoches, Martha Henderson, Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez, Caroline Merner, Chantal Templeman and Geneviève Zaloum with Celeste (Owl) (R). Photo credit: Senate of Canada[/caption] She remarked, “These young women and their projects are a step in the right direction to help enable more young Canadians to connect with nature and assist in protecting our precious wildlife and habitats.” Senator Rosa Galvez also shared her personal experiences about being a champion for nature and her one wish is to never again have to “clean up environmental messes”.  She reminded us that there is “no Planet B”. She spoke about the need to be “stubborn” to be successful in your career, as she experienced.  This served her well and she encouraged the young women to be strong voices for nature. Nature Canada Board Director and Women for Nature co-chair, Dr. Brenda Kenny 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 their innovative incubators projects, E-Dialogues on Biodiversity, and the Young Nature Leaders bursaries and mentorships launched in this special anniversary year.  She also introduced 4 of our Young Women for Nature mentees who were able to join in the celebrations. [caption id="attachment_35174" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Image of Brenda Kelly Brenda Kelly at the podium. Photo credit to Senate of Canada[/caption] Caroline Merner spoke on behalf of our youth leaders about how excited they are to be paired with a Woman for Nature mentor and appreciate that Women for Nature understands the importance of engaging youth to take action for nature’s future.

Minister McKenna, who was instrumental in assisting Women for Nature promote the Young Nature leaders grant, also spoke at the reception about the importance of people connecting with nature and was delighted to personally meet and hear about some of the nature based programs that the Young Women for Nature are undertaking to connect other youth to nature.

Guests also visited with Celeste, a great horned owl who represents the beautiful and unique biodiversity that we all appreciate and want to protect. Nature Canada’s new Executive Director Graham Saul, thanked all the guests and sponsors for attending the evening’s celebration. He remarked it is an especially opportune time to seek great advances on behalf of nature through strengthening of our environmental laws and securing more wilderness protection to meet our international commitments by 2020. We encourage other professional women to get involved with Women for Nature to champion biodiversity conservation, help connect youth to nature and mentor future leaders for nature. Contact us (jjoy@naturecanada.ca) to learn more.

To read more on the event and see more photos, click here.

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Nature Canada welcomes New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor the Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau as its newest member of Women for Nature
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Nature Canada welcomes New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor the Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau as its newest member of Women for Nature

Hampton High School student Olivia DesRoches to receive Young Women for Nature Award for her nature leadership on Hampton High School’s 25th anniversary year. HAMPTON, NB (September 20, 2017) Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, is hosting a celebration in partnership with Hampton High School to recognize and welcome the Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick as its newest member of Women for Nature initiative. “Nature Canada is delighted Her Honour, The Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick has become our newest Women for Nature,” says Mr. Bob Peart, Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors. “Having Her Honour, as a champion and role model for the important role nature plays in our Canadian culture and identity will help to inspire even more young Canadians to connect with nature and protect our natural heritage.” The celebration also includes a presentation of Nature Canada’s inaugural “Young Women for Nature” award to Hampton High School student Olivia DesRoches. Olivia is being recognized for her initiative and leadership to build and run a school greenhouse aimed at bringing the knowledge of cultivating fruits and vegetables, flowers to fellow high school students. (Media are invited to attend the celebration at Hampton High School on Sept. 21, 2017 at 11:30am) “As the Honorary Chair of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative, I am delighted to see that Canada’s nature is in good hands,” says the Honourable Senator Diane Griffin. "Young nature leaders like Olivia and her project are a step in the right direction to enable more young Canadians to connect with nature and our precious wildlife and habitats,” adds Griffin. “The Greenhouse Project has been a dream of mine for a while now, and now my dream is coming true,” says Olivia DesRoches. “My hope is that this project will give fellow students more insight into the importance of locally grown food as well as help to educate them on environmental needs to make the Earth more sustainable,” adds DesRoches. Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative brings together women of influence who choose to demonstrate their passion for nature and drive change. One way they do so is to empower emerging young nature leaders. The initiative recently selected the first recipients of its exciting new Young Nature Leadership Grant aimed at encouraging, fostering and nurturing youth to demonstrate their own leadership for nature. 


For media background and commentary please contact: Mr. Bob Peart, Chair, Nature Canada Board of Directors 250-655-0295 bobpeart@shaw.ca  For media assistance please contact: Janet Weichel McKenzie, Nature Canada Media Specialist 613-808-4642 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 50,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country. 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. About Women for Nature Nature Canada‘s signature “Women for Nature” initiative raises awareness about the need to connect more Canadians of all ages to nature. The Women for Nature initiative is comprised of women from diverse sectors and backgrounds who come together to champion the importance of nature in the daily lives of all Canadians and to encourage more Canadians to connect with nature. Our founding members include women of influence such as Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, Senator Diane Griffin (Honorary Chair of Women for Nature), Minister Catherine McKenna and Margaret Atwood to name a few. Our members champion efforts to inspire youth and families to spend time in nature, to learn and experience our natural heritage and in doing so, ensure the health and well-being of our Canadian society.  

Celebrating Inspiring Young Women for Nature!
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Celebrating Inspiring Young Women for Nature!

[caption id="attachment_11729" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Jodi Joy Jodi Joy
Director of Development[/caption] What a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday by encouraging young Canadians to act as a strong voice for nature!  Six young nature leaders from across the country have been chosen as Nature Canada’s first recipients of our exciting new Young Nature Leadership Grant. Established this year thanks to the generosity of Women for Nature members, the goal of the Young Nature Leadership Grant is to encourage, foster and nurture youth to demonstrate their own leadership for nature. Canadian youth were invited to develop and implement (in 2017) a project inspired by the Canadian Parks Council’s recently published The Nature Playbook. The inaugural Young Nature Leadership Grant recipients include: [custom_table style="1"]

[caption id="attachment_32868" align="alignleft" width="231"]Image of Caroline Merner Caroline Merner[/caption] Caroline Merner, Vancouver, BC "As kids, we're in awe of nature. As we grow up, it's our duty to protect it in the face of climate change. I believe TIDES (Training Initiatives Developing Environmental Sustainability) will combine our appreciation for nature with conservation. This youth program will share tangible skills in addressing climate change."
[caption id="attachment_32871" align="alignnone" width="186"]Image of Mathilde Papillon Mathilde Papillon[/caption] Mathilde Papillon, Ottawa, ON “With the help of Women for Nature, a green wall, also known as a vertical garden, will be implemented in one of École secondaire publique De La Salle’s hallways. The project aims to facilitate youth’s relationship with Nature directly at the school by providing educational, artistic, and day-to-day opportunities to engage with plants.”
[caption id="attachment_32872" align="alignnone" width="222"]Image of Nina Andrascik Nina Andrascik[/caption] Nina Andrascik, Ottawa, ON "I think nature is a key aspect of my Canadian identity and I look forward to sharing this experience with other young Canadians through Women for Nature." Nina is developing a pilot project to encourage first generation new Canadians to enroll in outdoor education programs. She is creating a video series to document the participants experience and voices about their experience.
[caption id="attachment_32873" align="alignnone" width="215"]Image of Olivia DesRoches Olivia DesRoches[/caption] Olivia DesRoches, Hampton, NB “The greenhouse project has been a dream of mine for a while now, and now that it is coming true, I couldn't be more excited. All year, my math class has been creating different environmental projects to initiate throughout our school. The greenhouse was the one big project myself and my classmates really felt called to do…My hope is this project will not only bring together the students at my school, but that it will give us all more insight into the importance of locally grown foods, as well as educate them on environmental needs to make the Earth more sustainable. This project is a big undertaking, but I have many friends by my side who are just as passionate about it as me, and I can't wait for construction to begin!”
[caption id="attachment_32869" align="alignnone" width="224"]Image of Chantal Templeman Chantal Templeman[/caption] Chantal Templeman, Cochrane, AB “I believe we all have an innate curiosity for the natural world. It is my hope that by encouraging young women to adventure and explore, we can create confident leaders for the future. Caving is an excellent and unique avenue to accomplish that.” Chantal is bringing youth caving to teach them about bats and cave conservation, and encourage team-building and leadership skills while volunteering on projects in Banff National Park.
[caption id="attachment_32870" align="alignnone" width="224"]Image of Martha Henderson Martha Henderson[/caption] Martha Henderson, Whitehorse, Yukon “The goal of the Girl's Nature Club is to empower a new generation of leaders by providing an environment for teenage girls to experience and learn from and about Nature and develop confidence. As a group, they will plan and execute their own outdoor adventure, learn outdoor and survival skills, make friends and have fun outdoors!”
[/custom_table]

“As the Honorary Chair of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative, I am delighted to see that Canada’s nature is in good hands. These young women and their projects being recognized today are a step in the right direction to help enable more young Canadians to connect with nature and assist in protecting our precious wildlife and habitats.”

The Honourable Senator Diane F. Griffin, Honorary Chair of Women for Nature. 

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