Nina Andrascik: A Young Woman for Nature and Young Leader
This blog was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Communications Coordinator at Nature Canada.
Nina Andrascik is a Young Woman for Nature and recipient of the Young Leaders grant. This grant is what helped her found WE GO, the Women for the Environment and the Great Outdoors Club which engages female first and second generation Canadians and International students to enjoy Canada’s great outdoors. Nina is also a team member of Ocean Bridge and contributes local service to engage youth in ocean conservation.
Nina recently graduated from Nepean High School in Ottawa, Ontario, and will be pursuing a Bachelors of Science (BSc) Natural Resources Conservation at the University of British Columbia, at the Vancouver campus this fall. She is excited to further her studies and to discover everything that British-Colombia has to offer.
Being in close proximity to nature is something that has always been important to Nina. In her downtime she enjoys canoeing and kayaking, and has recently gotten into climbing and spelunking (which is the exploration of caves, also known as caving). These activities have allowed her to grow her appreciation for nature far above, and below ground.
Nina pinpointed one of the first moments when she felt the most connected to nature was in her grade ten outdoor education class, when she was on a canoe trip through Algonquin Park. Being thrown into a new environment, with just themselves, their canoes, and the natural beauty of the park, the group connected in a way that simply would not be attainable between four walls of a traditional classroom setting.
As a Young Woman for Nature
Awareness, connection and gratitude are the three words Nina used to describe her experience as a Young Woman for Nature. She mentions that a huge takeaway from this experience was the relationship that she built with Dawn Carr, her mentor through the program. Building this relationship made her realize that there are great people that occupy positions of leadership who are encouraging, and interested, and who are ready to take the time to provide guidance and support to the next generation.
Conversely, this experience showed Nina the challenges of getting people involved in the environmental movement. Due to the many elements that today’s youth needs to balance, it is easy for youth to miss the chance to get outside and enjoy nature.
Nina said that “being a Young Woman for Nature empowered me, and put me into a leadership position to get others involved.” The grant that Nina received through Women for Nature allowed her to start WEGO, her club that provide outdoor experience to girls in my school who weren’t involved in an outdoor education class to get out and participate in a variety of activities that some had never done before.
The short-term goal of WEGO was to get first and second generation Canadians exposed to outdoor experiences and activities to help them establish new friendships and an appreciation for nature and Canada. Nina shares that “The long-term vision is to have this initiative continue to gain enough momentum to potentially have our head of outdoor ed and school administration consider establishing an all women’s outdoor ed class which allow different cultures to more easily participate.”
A Nature lover now, and forever.
Nina summed it up perfectly, stating that, “Nature is everything and always will be. It was here long before iPhones, computers, humans, and even dinosaurs. […] Nature has been a constant thing on earth that should be infinite. Nature and the environment is what sustains us and keep us connected to our roots. For these reasons I feel that everyone should feel the importance of protecting our heritage and enjoy the beauty of what was here long before any of us.”
Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.
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