Nature Canada Celebrates All-Female Initiative

BY:
Caroline
Phillips

Canada celebrates all-female initiative to protect the wild and connect kids to nature

Women for Nature reception on The Hill brings together women from politics and business

been scientifically proven that getting outside has a profound effect on the brain. For businesswoman Elizabeth Kilvert, the great outdoors is her favourite place to go when she really needs to clear her mind.

“That’s what grounds me; that’s what gives me perspective, and that’s what helps me make sensible decisions as a business owner,” she told OBJ.social at a sponsored reception held by Nature Canada on Monday, in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill.

“I try and sneak outdoors as much as possible,” she says.

The life of a small business owner can be harried and frenetic, said Kilvert, who’s been running The Unrefined Olive in the Glebe for the past five years. She opened her second location two years ago in Kanata, selling premium extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and food specialty items.

Before going into business, Kilvert worked in the areas of marine biology, sustainable development and environmental education. She’s one of the founding members of Women for Nature, a philanthropic and collaborate initiative started by Nature Canada back in 2014.

Women for Nature
From left, Cara MacMillan, vice president of sustainability for Halcyon, with Elizabeth Kilvert, owner of The Unrefined Olive, at a reception held in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017, for members of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The all-female group brings professional and influential women together to champion nature conservation in Canada. It has successfully recruited more than 150 members – exceeding its goal of reaching 150 in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary year. Its honorary patron is Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau.

The reception also celebrated the new young nature leadership grants created to encourage younger Canadians to better connect with nature and its wildlife and habitats.

The group’s honorary chair is Senator Diane Griffin from Prince Edward Island. The senator, who was appointed in 2016, worked her entire career in conservationism and is a former deputy minister of environmental resources.

Women for Nature
Prince Edward Island Senator Diane Griffin, honorary chair of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative, delivers brief remarks at a reception held in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who’s also a member of Women for Nature, made an appearance.

“My happy place is … actually being out in nature,” said McKenna, who’s also responsible for parks and protected areas across the country.

Women for Nature
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who’s also a member of Women for Nature, at a reception hosted by Nature Canada in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Green Party leader Elizabeth May attended. So did Senator Nancy Greene Raine and Sheefra Brisbin, president of Greenbridge Consulting and board vice-chair with Nature Canada.

Guests included Deneen Perrin from the Fairmont Chåteau Laurier. It was the host venue for the fabulous inaugural Nature Ball that the organization hosted last year, featuring Canada’s own Margaret Atwood, who’s a member, and Chantal Kreviazuk.

Women for Nature
From left, Karen Wilson, president of the Women’s Business Network with Deneen Perrin, director of public relations at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and Susan Dagg Fulton, executive director of the Women’s Business Network, were guests of Nature Canada’s reception for members of the Women for Nature initiative, held in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips.
Women for Nature
From left, Senator Nancy Greene Raine with Susan Tanner at a reception held in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017, for Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Women for Nature
From left, Mary Anne Ivison with Ottawa photographers Brittany Gawley and Michelle Valberg from Westboro Studio at a reception organized by Nature Canada in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017, for members of the Women for Nature initiative. Photo by Caroline Phillips

On hand was Graham Saul, the new executive director of Nature Canada. He spoke about the organization’s advocacy work and national programs, such as NatureHood, which familiarizes people with the nature found in their own neighbourhoods.

“We think it’s very important that we begin to address the disconnect that exists in our world between an urban lifestyle and nature,” said Saul. “We want to work continuously to make sure that young people and everyone have access to nature.”

Women for Nature
From left, Nature Canada executive director Graham Saul with board members Brenda Kenny, past chief executive of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, and Sheefra Brisbin at Nature Canada’s reception for Women for Nature, held in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Attendees could pose for “selfies” with Celeste, the great horned owl. She was a hit with the crowd, even though she squawked during speeches and resorted to every owl’s favourite party trick: turning her head around when she was supposed to be looking at the camera.

Women for Nature
Geneviève Zaloum with Celeste, who was available for “selfies” during a reception organized by Nature Canada in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Monday, October 23, 2017, for supporters of the Women for Nature initiative. Photo by Caroline Phillips

– caroline@obj.ca

Star-studded night at Nature Canada Ball

Around Town: Star-studded night at inaugural Nature Canada Ball

It was a night to just sit back and soak it all in, from award-winning singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk‘s phenomenal performance, to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau lifting the spirits of an entire room with her passionate words, to an exciting bidding war to become a character in a Margaret Atwood book.

Then, there was the Canadian Tire-donated canoe, portaged into the ballroom of the Fairmont Château Laurier by strapping young lads in tuxedos. It sold off for $4,600, along with cherry paddles autographed by Grégoire and her other half, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As parting gifts for everyone, there were brand new Woods sleeping bags.

The inaugural Nature Canada Ball on Friday attracted a sold-out crowd to raise funds for the country’s oldest national nature conservation charity and its Naturehood program aimed at connecting children to nearby nature.

The elegant event was chaired by Greenbridge Group president Sheefra Brisbin, who’s also board vice chair at Nature Canada.

Canadian broadcast journalist Marci Ien served as MC while Ottawa animal lover and photographer Sandy Sharkey helped out as celebrity auctioneer. Up for grabs were: a $38,000 Arctic cruise for two donated by Adventure Canada, a trip to Iqaluit courtesy of First Air, a work by wildlife artist Robert Bateman, and an embassy dinner for 10 with Irish Ambassador Jim Kelly and his wife.

Most intriguing was the donation by Atwood, the keynote speaker, to include the name of the highest bidder in volume three of her Angel Catbird graphic novel trilogy. It went for $11,000 to a woman who plans to surprise her father (the gift will be a creative far cry from a necktie, that’s for sure).

Grégoire, a self-professed “nature lover” was there as the ball patron. She’s also the 100th member of Nature Canada’s philanthropic initiative Women for Nature (just ahead of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who didn’t mind settling for the 101st spot).

Grégoire, who lived in the Laurentians during her early years, spoke of the outdoors as being such a vital part of her childhood. “My father used to tell me, ‘Just listen to the sounds of rocks,’ ” joked Grégoire, who’s since used that same line with her own three children.

She shared a poem that she wrote, describing some of her exhilarating experiences in nature, from surfing in Tofino, to exploring Gros Morne, to seal watching near the Magdalen Islands. There was even a reference to her inadvertent drowning of Ski-Doos, which would have made for good dinner conversation back at her table.

Chief Government Whip Andrew Leslie, Liberal MP for Orléans, and Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, Liberal MPP for Ottawa Centre, were also among the attendees.

Carolyn001@sympatico.ca

Ritchard Brisbin Who’s Who 2017

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