Celebrating Young Nature Leaders
The inspiration, passion and initiative shone through the numerous nature project ideas submitted by young people from all across Canada who applied for the Young Nature Leaders grants last month.
Established in 2017, 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 in their communities. Canadian youth are invited to develop and implement a nature-based community project inspired by the Canadian Parks Council’s The Nature Playbook.
A big thank you to our four Young Women for Nature mentees, Nina Andrascik, Olivia DesRoches, Jenny Jachtorowicz and Mathilde Papillon who volunteered on this year’s Selection Committee for the $1000 grants along with Dawn Carr, Dr. Leslie King and Jill Sturdy.
Congratulations to the 2019 Young Nature Leadership Grant recipients who include:
Dalal Hanna – Montreal, QC
“I grew up with the immense privilege and pleasure of spending time in Canada’s beautiful lakes and rivers every summer. These experiences changed my life. They led me toward a career in which I use science to better understand these ecosystems and inform their sustainable management. Doing science only is not sufficient to affect change when it comes to freshwater conservation – we must also work to foster a better collective understanding and love of these ecosystems.
That is why I co-launched Riparia, a not-for-profit that brings Canadian youth on free freshwater science expeditions where we strive to help foster the next generation of science champions who love and value the natural world. I am so thrilled to have received funding from Nature Canada’s Women for Nature to help support Riparia’s inaugural expedition!”
Sammie Heard – Waterloo, ON
“My name is Sammie Heard and I am 16-years-old and in Grade 11. My project is called Green Bellies. This nature incentive program aims to reduce single-use packaging in lunches at JW Gerth Public School in Waterloo. Students will strive to become a zero plastic waste school by using iPads to scan a QR code each time they bring a litterless lunch to school. This info is tracked and the classes with the most litterless lunches will be rewarded with a trip to The Huron Natural Area to be immersed in nature and sustainability-themed activities.
Everything at one point came from nature. We are all sharing this incredible planet however we are destroying it. Now, more than ever change needs to happen. My hope for project Green Bellies is to educate young people about how we don’t need all of the single-use packages that we consume on a day to day basis. It’s my hope to ignite an internal flame and drive others to make a change in their own lives.”
Kristin Muskratt – Peterborough, ON
“Empowering Indigenous youth through culture and Indigenous knowledge systems is amazing.
I’m very excited to be able to bring a Land-based Storytelling & Sharing Panel to our area. Introducing youth to Elders and Knowledge Holders is a great way to help spark that inspiration to learn more about themselves and Mother Earth.”
Alison Nagy – Swift Current, SK
“This past winter I visited my first escape room! Even while I was still in the room, solving puzzles and unlocking doors with my team I was struck by a desire to figure out how to do escape rooms outdoors. The idea sat in my mind and grew as I discussed it with anyone who would listen and from it grew Escape into Nature. This grant gives me the opportunity to put the project in place!
My passion for nature comes from a deep desire in me to help people connect with and be curious about the world around them. In creating memorable connections through programs like Escape into Nature, I hope to inspire environmental stewards in the next generation!”
Alana Tollenaar – Spruce Grove, AB
“My project is entitled Bee the Change and is a collaboration with the Edmonton and Area Land Trust to host Build Your Own Bee Hotel workshops. These workshops will provide Edmontonians with the chance to take pollinator conservation into their own hands by creating a nesting structure for solitary bees that they can take home and put up in their own backyard.
I am incredibly excited to start working on this project and I am so thankful that Nature Canada’s Women for Nature are allowing me the opportunity to share my passion for the natural world with those around me through their generous grant.”
“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 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