Young Nature Leaders
Their motivation to connect, commitment to protect and passion to celebrate nature has been an inspiration to Nature Canada and the communities they engage.
In 2023, we are celebrating the grant’s sixth year running thanks to the passion and generosity of Women for Nature members. Now, thanks to our partner CLIF BAR® we have expanded to award 10 recipients. The Young Nature Leader’s grant was created to empower, uplift and support young people looking to implement a community-based project centered around nature and sustainability.
We would like to give a special thanks to this year’s Selection Committee that included an amazing group of Young Women for Nature. Thank you Iman Berry, Ana Castillo, Rachel Irwin, Haniah Iqbal, Alana Norie, Mathilde Papillon, Shazerah Qureshi, Angela Seabert, and Nena Van de Wouwer for volunteering their time to review all the inspiring projects!
Congratulations to this years recipients who include: (listed alphabetically)
Brianna Barrett will create and distribute learning kits on local wildflowers, pollinators for local schools, libraries, and kids programs in her hometown of St. John’s.
“I am passionate about appreciating nature and my hope is to engage others in protecting our native wildlife so that we can enjoy it for decades to come.”
Elise Laferrierre is developing a downloadable curriculum about human impacts on birds for elementary school-aged students to educate others about how to Save Bird Lives.
“Students will also learn about the natural history and the causes of decline for three declining species of birds found in Quebec and will have to come up with ways they can help keep wild birds safe.”
Jessica Lewis will develop a guided insect identification course for young girls/youth in urban areas of Nova Scotia.
“I aspire to create a world where kids who are like me can experience the happiness of flipping over rocks, catching bugs and counting ants without being judged.”
Kassidy Matheson will host a series of workshops on native and invasive plants to engage her local community to learn about the plants that inhabit Prince Edward Island.
“Together we will build a native seed garden in our local community park so that the community has access to a native seed source for years to come for their own gardens!”
Derek Nguyen will grow native Ontario pollinator plants to distribute to schools, and youth groups.
“My project weaves together the threads of ecology and community with the goal of crafting a vibrant tapestry serving both pollinators and people. As we sow seeds of local flora, we cultivate understanding, appreciation, and the profound interconnectivity of life, empowering schools, shelters, and diverse community groups to participate in the rekindling of a thriving, sustainable natural world.”
And announcing the inaugural CLIF BAR® Young Nature Leaders:
(Mobilizing young people in their communities to discover their passion for the outdoors and natural world, inspiring future protectors of nature.)
Lauren Castelino will develop and lead a hiking excursion in Southern Ontario for young women of colour to discover the outdoors.
“I’m excited to host a three day camping adventure where young BIPOC women and newcomers can acquire new skills and knowledge in outdoor spaces. I believe that this project will help to bridge the gap between opportunity and access to nature, especially with underrepresented youth.”
Arayna Iyer is the co-founder of Field Research in Ecology and Evolution Diversified that leads nature workshops in Algonquin Park for BIPOC students.
“Our hope is to have a meaningful impact in the conservation space by increasing access to natural spaces, key skills, and professional networks for BIPOC students who are passionate about solving some of the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change and social injustice.”
Lauren Lawson will develop and run a half-day workshop: Youth for BioDiverCities.
“Connecting with nature in cities is important. I will bring together young people to discuss urban biodiversity in Toronto, Canada’s largest city. We will reflect on our connection to urban nature and collate our visions for the future of Canadian urban biodiversity.”
Chevaun Toulouse leads land-based cultural programming in her First Nation community.
“Growing up on Sagamok Anishnawbek gave me an interest in and respect for the natural environment. I explored my surroundings, becoming familiar with the plant and animal species that lived around me and in my community. I’m thrilled to learn and share more with community members through my project.”
Megan Turluk will organize day trips into South Okanagan national park for international students attending the UBC Kelowna campus and showcase Indigenous Elders who will speak about key natural places and their local culture.
“Through exploring local nature, we develop a deeper appreciation for the unique biodiversity, ecosystems, and cultures of our region. It’s an opportunity to learn, to cultivate a sense of wonder, and to foster a sense of stewardship towards the environment that we call home.”
Through Nature Canada’s Young Nature Leaders Grant, youth are motivating and empowering communities across Canada to be leaders for nature. To get inspired and read about past winners, explore earlier projects here.
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE LEAD SPONSORS: