Guest blog by: Eleanor Fast, Executive Director, Nature Canada

When I began work at Nature Canada six months ago I asked my team for a list of key partners who I should introduce myself to. Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) was in the list of most trusted partners, and when I met with the SFI team at their smart new Ottawa offices I quickly understood why.

Kathy Abusow, Andrew de Vries and the SFI Canada team embody what trusted partners are for Nature Canada – they believe in the importance of nature conservation to our future health and prosperity, they are always ready to sit down and discuss ideas, and are willing to take action to make things happen.

Not only do Nature Canada and SFI both care about conserving Canadian nature, we both care about inspiring the next generation of nature lovers, and we both see the value in profiling women as leaders in nature conservation. And those shared objectives have led to a number of successful partnerships.

In March, SFI was the lead sponsor and partner for an international workshop to discuss a conservation plan for the Canada Warbler that Nature Canada organized. It was inspiring to have SFI speak at the event and participate for the full two days as well as committing to being part of the ongoing conversation to protect this iconic species.


photo credit: Jake Wright, Hill Times

SFI was also one of the key sponsors for a second year on Nature Canada’s Women for Nature reception on Parliament Hill which featured MPs and Senators from all parties, and included a presentation from the Minister of Health about her personal love for nature. Andrew de Vries, VP at SFI spoke eloquently about SFI’s work in recognizing women leaders, but also about the important partnership between SFI and Nature Canada. We are delighted to honour Kathy Abusow as a founding member of Women for Nature.

“Trust” and “shared objectives” are buzzwords that are thrown around all to freely and are sometimes nothing more than empty words.  But when Nature Canada and SFI work together, trust and shared objectives really are at the heart of our successful and ongoing collaboration.

About Nature Canada:

NC 75 (English)Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province. Nature Canada focuses on effecting change on issues of national significance including bird conservation, citizen science and urban nature initiatives, and being a voice for nature at the federal level.

About Eleanor Fast: 

Eleanor Fast joined Nature Canada as Executive Director in October 2014. She brings to the position a passion for nature and extensive senior level experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors working in science policy, research, advocacy, communications and fundraising. Previously she has worked at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Council of Canadian Academies, the Library of Parliament and the British High Commission in Ottawa. Eleanor completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in biodiversity at McGill University.


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