Since 2017, young people across Canada have been demonstrating their leadership for nature through creative, nature-based projects submitted to Nature Canada’s Young Nature Leaders Grant. This year, we are celebrating the grant’s fifth year running thanks to the passion and generosity of Women for Nature members and other funders. The Young Nature Leader’s grant was created to empower, uplift and support young people looking to implement a community-based project centered around nature and sustainability.
This Earth month, we are celebrating six recipients of the Young Nature Leaders Grant. We were thrilled to see the number of passionate young people eager to educate, engage and lead others in caring for nature. We look forward to supporting them as they implement their nature projects over the course of this year.
Congratulations to the 2022 Young Nature Leaders Grant recipients who include:
Kehkashan Basu – Toronto, ON
Kehkashan will develop educational workshops and public awareness campaigns that will engage students and the public to protect the endangered Wood Turtle.
“I think as young people we need to step out of our comfort zones and take that extra step and walk that extra mile to get the future we want. Protecting our environment is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility. So we must act now to achieve a sustainable world.”
Ana Castillo – Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, QC
Ana plans to launch a seed-keeping program at the Young Roots Farm’s summer camp that will provide marginalized youth the opportunity to learn about farming through hands-on learning and storytelling.
“Young Roots Farm is an educational farm for inner-city kids, providing skills and knowledge for an inclusive and sustainable relationship to food. Thanks to Nature Canada and Women for Nature this year, I hope to broaden our seed-keeping knowledge!”
Rachel Irwin – Hamilton, ON
Rachel plans to expand the outreach of the Toronto chapter of the Feminist Bird Club by organizing birding events that promote diversity in birding while creating a safe space for conversations around social and environmental justice.
“The goal of these birding events will be to create a safe space for new birders and youth to connect with nature and their community while having important conversations around inclusivity, accessibility, climate change, and the importance of advocacy in the outdoors.”
Nena Van de Wouwer – Bouctouche, NB
Nena will launch a Green Godparent program that engages community members to become stewards for local nature spaces and will include beach clean-ups that upcycle the collected trash into art to raise awareness about protecting nature.
“I started the Green God Parent Program to encourage people to spend more time in nature while simultaneously giving back to it. For me, that is the best feeling in the world!”
This year, we also honoured two amazing champions for nature, Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson and have provided grants in their name to young people to honour their wishes to inspire future nature ambassadors and protectors:
Margaret Atwood Young Nature Leader Grant
Denise Miller – Six Nations of the Grand River Territory/Brantford, ON
Denise will expand the Revitalizing our Sustenance Project that works to address food security issues within the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and will include land and agricultural restoration work using native plants.
“As a Haudenosaunee woman, when you restore the land, you restore your identity and responsibility to Creation.”
Graeme Gibson Young Nature Leader Grant
Kenzie McCallum – Halifax, NS
Kenzie will coordinate and lead a three-part outdoor program for students at local elementary schools which will incorporate outdoor learning, climate change discussions and an action-oriented service project.
“I hope to help students connect with their surrounding environments in meaningful ways and empower them to feel they can make a difference by their actions in the fight against climate change.”
We would like to give a special thanks to the Selection Committee that included both Women for Nature members and Young Women for Nature. Thank you to Alana Norie, Dalal Hanna, Celeste Landon, Christine Leduc, Iman Berry, Jessica Yu, Kirsten Reid, Mathilde Papillon, and Nikki Paskar for volunteering time to review all the inspiring projects!
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