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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. Image 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 Honourary Chair, 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 honorees 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.

Honorary Chair: Senator Janis G. Johnson Small icon of leaf

Kathy AbusowSmall icon of leaf Stella AmblerSmall icon of leaf Hon. Rona Ambrose Small 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 Cedar Bradley-SwanSmall icon of leaf Sheefra BrisbinSmall icon of leaf Hon. Pauline BrowesSmall icon of leaf 

Lyn BrownSmall 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 

Carolyn ChisholmSmall icon of leaf  Valerie ChortSmall icon of leaf Cara ClairmanSmall icon of leaf Tracey ClarkSmall icon of leaf 

Catherine CobdenSmall icon of leaf Sheila Colla Small icon of leaf Lisa Courtney LloydSmall icon of leaf Amy CrossSmall icon of leaf 

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox Small icon of leaf Radha CurpenSmall icon of leaf Leanne CusackSmall icon of leaf Professor Ann DaleSmall icon of leaf

Joanne DiCosimo Small icon of leaf The Honourable Elizabeth DowdeswellSmall icon of leaf  Kirsty DuncanSmall icon of leaf

Linda DuncanSmall icon of leaf Charlene 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 Julie GelfandSmall icon of leaf Andrea GoertzSmall icon of leaf  Tami GranthamSmall icon of leaf 

Robyn GraySmall icon of leaf  Senator Nancy Greene RaineSmall icon of leaf Diane GriffinSmall icon of leaf Rachelle Hansen Small icon of leaf 

Mrs. Laureen HarperSmall icon of leaf Dr. Isobel HeathcoteSmall icon of leaf Francesca IacurtoSmall icon of leaf Andrea JalbertSmall icon of leaf

Her Excellency Sharon JohnstonSmall icon of leaf Jan 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 Dr. Marty LeonardSmall icon of leaf Megan LeslieSmall icon of leaf

Dr. TA LoefflerSmall icon of leaf Marsha MannSmall icon of leaf Betsy MartinSmall icon of leaf Kym 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 Velma McCollSmall icon of leaf  Hon. Catherine McKennaSmall icon of leaf

 Christine MelnickSmall icon of leaf Stephanie MeyerSmall icon of leaf Tracey Mosley Small icon of leaf Juanita MontalvoSmall icon of leaf 

Anne MurraySmall icon of leaf Joyce MurraySmall icon of leaf Grace PattersonSmall icon of leaf  Dr. Sarah OttoSmall 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 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 Dr. Lynn Tomkins Small 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

Carolyn Chisholm

Valerie Chort

Cara Clairman

Catherine Cobden

Sheila Colla

Lisa Courtney Lloyd

Amy Cross

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox

Radha Curpen

Leanne Cusack

Professor Ann Dale

Joanne DiCosimo

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Kirsty Duncan

Linda Duncan

Charlene Easton

Susan R. Eaton

Karen Etherington

Karen Farbridge

Carolyn Farquhar

Joelle Faulkner

Rebecca Foon

Stephanie Foster

Lisa M. Fox

Dr. Hedy Fry

Julie Gelfand

Andrea Goertz

Tami Grantham

Robyn Gray

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Diane Griffin

Mrs. Laureen Harper

Dr. Isobel Heathcote

Francesca Iacurto

Andrea Jalbert

Senator Janis G. Johnson

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

Dr. TA Loeffler

Marsha Mann

Betsy Martin

Kym Martin

Gillian Mason

Kim Matheson

Kelly Matheson King

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

Elizabeth May

Dr. Brenda McCabe

Velma McColl

Christine Melnick

Stephanie Meyer

Juanita Montalvo

Anne Murray

Joyce Murray

Grace Patterson

Jessica Robertson

Maggie Romuld

Dr. Dianne Saxe

Sandra Schwartz

Sandy Sharkey

Laren Stadelman

Nicole Stefenelli

Arlene Strom

Bridget Stutchbury

Susan Tanner

Vanessa and Dagmar Timmer

Dr. Lynn Tomkins

Michelle Valberg

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@dev.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 Honorary 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

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


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