Sometimes I feel that we can all get overwhelmed by the many things we could be doing better in our society. But, this past Earth Day I reflected on some of the amazing Canadian women who have helped make a difference for nature and wondered if they ever felt overwhelmed too? I bet they did…but it didn’t stop them from doing incredible and inspiring things.
One woman I keep thinking about is Mabel Frances Whittemore. Mabel Frances was a teacher who enjoyed sharing her knowledge and love of nature with children on nature walks around Toronto during the 1930s. She cared so much about connecting kids with nature that her work ultimately led to a popular children’s nature magazine, and junior naturalists clubs, reaching thousands of children all across Canada. Her initiative and passion were the seeds that led to the founding of our organization, Nature Canada.
It is in Mabel’s honour that we created the Women for Nature Initiative to celebrate the initiative and positive solutions of diverse women from all across Canada. She strongly believed, as we do today, that the future of our environment depends on connecting more Canadians to the wonders of nature.
It is our hope to celebrate seventy-five such “Women for Nature” to match our milestone of the 75th anniversary this September. I am amazed by the women I have met through this journey especially because of their passion and commitment. Whether through academia, law, finance, policy, arts, media, each of them are striving to influence, inspire, educate and engage more Canadians about the importance of nature in our daily lives and encourage the various ways for people to connect and enjoy nature.
Our Women for Nature Initiative has already brought together amazing leaders like Senators Janis Johnson and Nancy Greene Raine alongside authors such as Margaret Atwood and Sharon Butala, professors such as Prof. Ann Dale and Dr. Brenda McCabe and businesswomen such as Dr. Sonia Labatt and Elizabeth Dowdeswell. These women have come together with their fellow members of Women for Nature to demonstrate their deep commitment to nature and to act as role models for others to drive change.
Today, Nature Canada is thrilled to announce a new addition to the team of women: Andrea Goertz. In addition to being the Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Chief Communications & Sustainability Officer for TELUS, Andrea personally believes in the value of doing good work in the community and the importance of connecting kids with nature.
Andrea advocates “protecting the environment is important to me – personally and professionally. As a mother, I want my kids to connect with nature; to learn, grow and aspire to be strong stewards of our environment for future generations. As a TELUS team member, we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do. I think this is a great opportunity to empower our youth and make a difference.”
We are delighted to have Andrea involved with Women for Nature and to have her act as an ambassador of Nature Canada’s work to save species, protect habitats but most especially, connect youth and families to nature.
I’d like to share inspiring thoughts from more amazing women:
- “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 all our economic wealth is going to depend on.” Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Founding Member, Women for Nature
- “I joined Women for Nature because I really think that getting out into nature is so special, more Canadians should do it, all Canadian children should spend time in nature and women are the secret to getting kids out into nature.” Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Founding member, Women for Nature
Jodi Joy is the Director of Development at Nature Canada.