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Women for Nature

Image of the Women for Nature logo

Image of Janis Johnson

“Nature Canada is the legacy of one woman’s initiative, Mabel France Whittemore. Imagine what 150 Women Strong can accomplish for Nature! I am proud to champion this unique partnership working to protect our natural heritage and connect more Canadians to nature.”

~ Senator Janis Johnson (retired) Chair Emeritus, Women for Nature

About Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, Nature Canada aims to accelerate our positive impact on the natural world with the collaborative partnership of 150 women of influence. 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. Women for Nature is a philanthropic initiative comprised of professional women from across Canada – this unique partnership of motivated and influential women champion Nature Canada’s work to their network of colleagues and friends. Together we will be more effective in our efforts to save wildlife, protect nature and inspire young leaders for nature.

Nature Canada was founded in 1939 to honour Mabel Frances Whittemore, an educator and nature lover whose main goal in life was to share her passion for nature with others. Our mission is to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature. We are a member-based non-profit organization of 40,000 supporters and more than 350 naturalist organizations across Canada.

Meet our Members Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Central to the Women for Nature initiative is the opportunity to tell the story of the positive impact honourees have had on our nature and in our communities. We applaud their initiative and commitment to nature. Their generous support and involvement as Ambassadors of our work is much appreciated. Click on the names to read about these remarkable women.

Honourary Chair: Senator Diane Griffin Small icon of leaf

Chair Emeritus: Senator Janis G. Johnson (retired) Small icon of leaf

Kathy AbusowSmall icon of leaf Stella AmblerSmall icon of leaf Hon. Rona Ambrose Small icon of leaf Kirstin AndersonSmall icon of leaf

Margaret AtwoodSmall icon of leaf Dominica BabickiSmall icon of leaf Céline BakSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Sandra BarrSmall icon of leaf Candice BatistaSmall icon of leaf Janet BaxSmall icon of leaf  Dawn BazelySmall icon of leaf

 Deborah BeattySmall icon of leaf Meg BeckelSmall icon of leaf

 Diane Beckett Small icon of leaf Dr. Valerie Behan-PelletierSmall icon of leaf Hon. Carolyn BennettSmall icon of leaf 

Annie BlierSmall icon of leaf Alexandra Blum Small icon of leaf Cedar Bradley-SwanSmall icon of leaf Sheefra BrisbinSmall icon of leaf

Hon. Pauline BrowesSmall icon of leaf Lyn BrownSmall icon of leaf Michelle BrownleeSmall icon of leaf Giulia Brutesco Small icon of leaf 

Joan BushSmall icon of leaf Sharon ButalaSmall icon of leaf Stephanie CairnsSmall icon of leaf  Susanna CarsonSmall icon of leaf

  Dawn CarrSmall icon of leaf Caroline CasselmanSmall icon of leaf Nathalie Chalifour Small icon of leaf Carolyn ChisholmSmall icon of leaf

Valerie ChortSmall icon of leaf Cara ClairmanSmall icon of leaf

Catherine CobdenSmall icon of leaf Sheila Colla Small icon of leaf Lisa Courtney LloydSmall icon of leaf Laura Couvrette  Small icon of leaf

 Amy CrossSmall icon of leaf Ashlee CunsoloSmall icon of leaf Radha CurpenSmall icon of leaf Leanne CusackSmall icon of leaf

Professor Ann DaleSmall icon of leaf  Marla David Small icon of leafJoanne DiCosimo Small icon of leaf 

The Honourable Elizabeth DowdeswellSmall icon of leaf 

Chloe Dragon SmithSmall icon of leafHon. Kirsty DuncanSmall icon of leaf Linda DuncanSmall icon of leaf

Charlene Dunn Small icon of leafCharlene EastonSmall icon of leaf Susan R. EatonSmall icon of leaf Karen EtheringtonSmall icon of leaf 

Dr. Karen FarbridgeSmall icon of leaf  Eleanor FastSmall icon of leaf Carolyn FarquharSmall icon of leaf Joelle FaulknerSmall icon of leaf 

Rebecca FoonSmall icon of leaf Stephanie Foster Small icon of leaf Anne Fouillard Small icon of leaf

Lisa M. FoxSmall icon of leaf Dr. Hedy FrySmall icon of leaf Brittany GawleySmall icon of leaf

Julie GelfandSmall icon of leaf Lisa (Diz) GlitheroSmall icon of leaf Andrea GoertzSmall icon of leaf  

Susan GoslingSmall icon of leaf Tami GranthamSmall icon of leaf Robyn GraySmall icon of leaf

  Senator Nancy Greene RaineSmall icon of leaf Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Small icon of leafCatherine GrenierSmall icon of leaf

Rachelle Hansen Small icon of leaf  The Honourable Judith Guichon Small icon of leaf Mrs. Laureen HarperSmall icon of leaf 

Dr. Isobel HeathcoteSmall icon of leaf Francesca IacurtoSmall icon of leaf Mary Anne IvisonSmall icon of leaf Dr. Aerin JacobSmall icon of leaf

 Andrea JalbertSmall icon of leaf Her Excellency Sharon JohnstonSmall icon of leafJan KasperskiSmall icon of leaf Larkin KeeSmall icon of leaf 

Donna Kennedy-Glans Small icon of leaf Dr. Brenda KennySmall icon of leaf Dr. Leslie KingSmall icon of leaf

Dr. Gail KrantzbergSmall icon of leaf Rosanne KyleSmall icon of leaf Dr. Sonia LabattSmall icon of leaf 

Sheila LeggettSmall icon of leafDr. Marty LeonardSmall icon of leaf Megan LeslieSmall icon of leaf Nora LivingstoneSmall icon of leaf

Dr. TA LoefflerSmall icon of leaf Louise LoganSmall icon of leaf  Wendy MacKeiganSmall icon of leaf  Cara MacMillan Small icon of leaf

 Marsha MannSmall icon of leaf Betsy MartinSmall icon of leaf Gillian MasonSmall icon of leaf Kelly Matheson KingSmall icon of leaf 

Kim MathesonSmall icon of leaf Sharolyn Mathieu VetteseSmall icon of leaf Elizabeth MaySmall icon of leaf Brenda McCabeSmall icon of leaf 

Maureen McCawSmall icon of leaf Velma McCollSmall icon of leaf  Hon. Catherine McKennaSmall icon of leaf 

Christine MelnickSmall icon of leafIsabel MetcalfeSmall icon of leaf  Stephanie MeyerSmall icon of leaf 

The Honourable Lois E. MitchellSmall icon of leaf Tracey Mosley Small icon of leaf 

Juanita MontalvoSmall icon of leaf  Anne MurraySmall icon of leaf

Joyce MurraySmall icon of leaf  Dr. Sarah OttoSmall icon of leafGrace PattersonSmall icon of leaf Nadia PetrolitoSmall icon of leaf

Jessica Robertson Small icon of leaf Maggie Romuld Small icon of leaf Dr. Dianne SaxeSmall icon of leaf Deborah Schulte Small icon of leaf 

Dr.Nola-Kate Seymoar Small icon of leaf Sandra SchwartzSmall icon of leaf Sandy SharkeySmall icon of leaf Anne-Marie Sheahan Small icon of leaf

Laren Stadelman Small icon of leaf Nicole StefenelliSmall icon of leaf Arlene StromSmall icon of leaf 

Bridget StutchburySmall icon of leaf Susan TannerSmall icon of leaf Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer Small icon of leaf 

Jennifer TobySmall icon of leaf Dr. Lynn Tomkins Small icon of leaf Kirsten ViceSmall icon of leaf Michelle ValbergSmall icon of leaf 

Susie Washington Smyth Small icon of leaf Karen Clarke Whistler Small icon of leaf Dr. Pamela WrightSmall icon of leaf 

Genevieve Young Small icon of leaf Laura ZizzoSmall icon of leaf 

Kathy Abusow

Stella Ambler

Hon. Rona Ambrose

Margaret Atwood

Dominca Babicki

Céline Bak

Sandra Barr

Janet Bax

Dr. Dawn Bazely

Deborah Beatty

Meg Beckel

Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Annie Blier

Cedar Bradley-Swan

Sheefra Brisbin

Hon. Pauline Browes

Lyn Brown

Joan Bush

Sharon Butala

Stephanie Cairns

Dawn Carr

Susanna Carson

Caroline Casselman

Nathalie Chalifour

Carolyn Chisholm

Valerie Chort

Cara Clairman

Catherine Cobden

Sheila Colla

Lisa Courtney Lloyd

Laura Couvrette

Amy Cross

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox

Radha Curpen

Leanne Cusack

Professor Ann Dale

Joanne DiCosimo

Chloe Dragon Smith

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Kirsty Duncan

Linda Duncan

Charlene Dunn

Charlene Easton

Susan R. Eaton

Karen Etherington

Karen Farbridge

Carolyn Farquhar

Joelle Faulkner

Rebecca Foon

Stephanie Foster

Lisa M. Fox

Dr. Hedy Fry

Brittany Gawley

Julie Gelfand

Lisa (Diz) Glithero 

Andrea Goertz

Tami Grantham

Robyn Gray

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Catherine Grenier

Senator Diane Griffin

Mrs. Laureen Harper

Dr. Isobel Heathcote

Francesca Iacurto

Mary Anne Ivison

Dr. Aerin Jacob

Andrea Jalbert

Senator Janis G. Johnson (retired)

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston

Jan Kasperski

Larkin Kee

Donna Kennedy-Glans

Dr. Brenda Kenny

Dr. Leslie King

Dr. Gail Krantzberg

Rosanne Kyle

Dr. Sonia Labatt

Dr. Marty Leonard

Megan Leslie

Nora Livingstone

Dr. TA Loeffler

Cara MacMillan

Marsha Mann

Betsy Martin

Kym Martin

Gillian Mason

Kim Matheson

Kelly Matheson King

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

Elizabeth May

Dr. Brenda McCabe

Maureen McCaw

Velma McColl

Christine Melnick

Stephanie Meyer

The Honourable Lois E. Mitchell

Juanita Montalvo

Anne Murray

Joyce Murray

Grace Patterson

Nadia Petrolito

Jessica Robertson

Maggie Romuld

Dr. Dianne Saxe

Sandra Schwartz

Sandy Sharkey

Anne-Marie Sheahan

Laren Stadelman

Nicole Stefenelli

Arlene Strom

Bridget Stutchbury

Susan Tanner

Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer

Dr. Lynn Tomkins

Michelle Valberg

Kristen Vice

Susie Washington-Smyth

Karen Clarke Whistler

Dr. Pamela Wright

Genevieve Young

Laura Zizzo

Picture of Julie Gelfand at the Women for Nature Event

“I am convinced that as Canadians we have a global responsibility to protect nature. We still have the opportunity to protect vast areas of wilderness unlike many other places in the world. And we must. As female leaders in our respective fields, we have the opportunity to influence people around us and to introduce youth to the beauty and “wow” of nature.”

~ Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Founding member, Women for Nature

Join Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary, our founding members have set an ambitious goal to be 150 women strong by July 2017 in celebration of Canada’s natural heritage.

As a member of Women for Nature you’ll help influence, inspire, and educate Canadians about the relevance of nature to their lives. You’ll be at the heart of our efforts to rally Canadians to save species, protect habitats and connect children to nature. Your leadership and support, along with other Women for Nature helps fund our innovative national programs which energize young citizens to become leaders for environmental and social changes in their own communities. We greatly value your influential leadership as a member of Nature Canada’s exciting Women for Nature Initiative. Your benefits include:

  • Invitation to the annual Ambassador Reception;
  • Opportunity to network and collaborate with other women leaders;
  • Public listing of your name as a leader in our Women for Nature Initiative, with your permission of course; and
  • Women for Nature Action Report – an exclusive periodic report on the impact and success of Women for Nature.

You can help impact positive change for Canada. Please join with us and become a partner in our Women for Nature Initiative by emailing Jodi at: JJoy@naturecanada.ca or by calling 1-800-267-4088 ext. 239.

Picture of Elizabeth Dowdeswell

“When you start thinking about nature, you’re really thinking about the future, because that’s what the future is going to depend on, that’s what our children are going to depend on, and in fact that’s what our economic wealth is going to depend on.”

~ Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Founding member, Women for Nature

Why Nature Matters Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Our glorious land includes great natural wonders – from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, Prairies to the Arctic, West Coast forests to scenic wonders of Atlantic Canada. But across our land, habitats are at risk or in decline. Species are disappearing. This breakdown in ecosystems could threaten our livelihoods, our health and our lives. Canadians rank environmental issues near the top of the national agenda. But with more people living in urban areas, fewer and fewer have a personal connection to the land.

The more people understand the natural world, its beauty, its gifts, its fragility and how we are dependent on nature, the more likely they will be to take action to protect the natural environment. And, we have the science to demonstrate that access to nature has tremendous health benefits including relieving stress and fostering creativity. Women for Nature are in a unique position to share this message and engage Canadians.

Parliamentary Reception Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

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.

Image of Minister McKenna at the Women for Nature reception

Minister McKenna at the Women for Nature reception

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.

Image of Darwin the Great Horned Owl

Darwin the Great Horned Owl

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 STEM, and mentoring future leaders in nature and sustainability to be launched to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

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 Honourary 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.

View photos from the event below


The official florist of Nature Canada is Flowers Talk/Tivoli.

Image of Flowers Talk/Tivoli Logo

Many thanks to our corporate sponsors for their generous support of the event:


 SFI Logo  Royal Bank of Canada logo
global-public-affairs-logo BLG Logo aog-logo
Southbrook Vienyards Logo Pelee Island Winery Logo Henry of Pelham Logo Steam Whistle Logo

Image of Brenda Kelly
Image of Ann Dale

“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.”

~ Dr. Brenda Kenny and
Professor Ann Dale
Co-chairs, Women for Nature

Call for Incubator Projects Image of the Women for Nature leaf symbol 

To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, Women for Nature welcomes and encourages members of the network to use their leadership and their initiative to influence, inspire and educate Canadians about nature.  More specifically, Women for Nature will support members from within the network to self-organize and take leadership on incubator projects that advance key priorities related to:

  • Biodiversity conservation;
  • Engagement of youth in nature and as future leaders; and
  • Informing government policies.

Through these incubator projects we will motivate more Canadians to enjoy, protect and advocate for nature.


For 2017, Nature Canada will provide seed funding of up to $5,000 per project for Women for Nature incubator projects. The intent is to provide initial seed support for selected projects for up to one year.


All members of Women for Nature are eligible to propose an incubator project for review and funding.

Please review the full Women for Nature incubator projects guidelines and submit via the project proposal template.

Incubator project proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee early in 2017. Funds will be released after April 1, 2017.

“When it comes to the future of our environment, we want to do the right thing for ourselves and for our children…”

~ Senator Diane Griffin
Honourary Chair, Women for Nature

Dawn Carr

“My nature as a kid was found in nearby nature like the creeks and ditches, walks to school, and sub-urban life… In high school my eyes were opened to the professional opportunities that nature offers to all Canadians.  My life since has been driven by a love that runs deep and a desire to ensure that our nature is protected, valued and loved by all.”

~ Dawn Carr
Women for Nature Caucus member

Image of Laren Stadelman

“It seems so fitting to focus our efforts on young leaders and play —truly sowing seeds for the future beyond Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

~ Laren Stadelman
Women for Nature Caucus member

Young Nature Leadership GrantImage of the Women for Nature leaf symbol

Call for Applications

All across Canada, people and organizations inspire us with their leadership and devotion to our natural world. They commit their time and energy not for credit but for the results. They choose to take up the call to protect, engage and advocate on behalf of nature. They act as a strong voice for nature for our children’s futures.

Women for Nature are leaders who care deeply about nature and want to inspire others to make a difference.  In particular, they want to encourage, foster and nurture youth
(under 30) to demonstrate their leadership for nature.  To that end, Image of Nature PlaybookWomen for Nature have established a grant/bursary for a young person to develop and implement a project inspired by some of the objectives in the recently published Nature Playbook.

This Women for Nature sponsored grant of $1,000 will support project implementation in the year 2017, in celebration of the role that nature has played in our Canadian culture and identity.

Interested applicants should submit either a two page essay or a short video

outlining their proposed project. Project ideas will be evaluated by a Women for Nature Grant Bursary Committee based on the following.


  • Potential impact and benefits of the project;
  • Public engagement and reach of the project;
  • Possible involvement of Women for Nature members;
  • Creativity and clarity of the proposed project;
  • Effective use of the grant;
  • Must occur within Canada and adhere to CRA spending guidelines for charities; and
  • Only one grant submission per applicant.

The successful winner may choose to be matched with Women for Nature mentors who would be selected according to the scope and location of the winning project.

The successful project winner will be asked to share their experience and results in a blog or video which may be published by Nature Canada and may be, along with information about the grant recipient, shared widely through our website, and other forms of media.


Submissions to be received no later than 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) on March 31st of 2017.

You can also submit your application directly to jjoy@naturecanada.ca.
Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered. All applicants will be notified of the Selection Committee’s decision before May 1st, 2017.

This Women for Nature Young Nature Leadership grant is administered by Nature Canada. Nature Canada employees, children or relatives of employees are not eligible for this grant.

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