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  6. The Canadian Museum of Nature launches Nature Foundation

The Canadian Museum of Nature launches Nature Foundation

Supports research and discovery in the natural sciences for a sustainable future

Ottawa, October 7, 2020 – The Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences, embarked on a bold new course today with the launch of the Nature Foundation. This independent charitable entity will accelerate the impact of the museum’s world-class scientific collections, research activities, and education efforts through philanthropic investments.

Backed by initial support of close to $4 million in total gifts, the Nature Foundation will empower the museum to continue its critical work sharing knowledge with a network of global collaborators and partners that guide science-based decisions on environmental change (especially in the Arctic), species diversity, and conservation.

The Foundation’s support will help train early-career scientists and collections experts, and foster deeper understanding and appreciation of nature among Canadians—all as the planet faces increasingly urgent threats as recently reported by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

“When you support the Nature Foundation, you join a generous, solutions-focused community in advancing fact-based science through vital funding that empowers the museum’s educational, collections and research initiatives,” says Rob Crosbie, Chair of the Nature Foundation Board. “We must create a world where people understand and value nature.”

Three major gifts are being announced as part of the launch. These focus on mineral discovery and research; training of young scientists, students and collections experts; and expanding the museum’s capacity for Arctic exploration:

  • The Foundation is supporting the museum’s recent acquisition of the world’s best collection of minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire in Quebec. More than 1,000 of the  specimens have been designated of “national importance” by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. The minerals were amassed over decades by Gilles Haineault, a passionate mineral collector from Beloeil, Quebec, who made the museum’s milestone acquisition significantly more accessible by donating $1.05 million in-kind towards its $4.5 million value. Mont Saint-Hilaire is one of the most famous mineralogical environments in the world, rich in rare elements that hold immense research value. The collection will bring fresh insights about the Earth’s structure, reveal new mineral species, inspire and train future earth scientists, and be used to support better understanding of rare-element natural resources, and mineral literacy.
    • “I knew that the best way to protect the collection for future generations was to give it to the Canadian Museum of Nature, a trusted national institution that will use it for meaningful research and education. I’m excited to see what new species the museum discovers as a result of the collection, and perhaps even new mineral uses.” – Gilles Haineault
  • The Hatch Mineral Sciences Discovery Fund is a $1 million investment in scientific training and fieldwork for the next generation of collections-based scientists at the museum, focussed on earth sciences.
  • “Hatch and the Canadian Museum of Nature share a mutual interest in creating positive change and a vibrant future for our natural world. We’re proud to support hands-on training and fieldwork for emerging scientists who are passionate about mineral discovery.” – John Bianchini, Hatch Chairman & CEO
  • Brookfield endowed $500,000 in two funds to support the mentorship of undergraduate students in collections-based research and to advance the museum’s Arctic field research, which is vital to studying biodiversity in a part of the planet where climate change is having dramatic effects.

These gifts build on The Ross Beaty Family’s transformative 2017 gift of $4 million to the museum for biodiversity research and species discovery. Individual, corporate, and institutional supporters and partners of the Nature Foundation also include Osisko Mining Inc., the Lassonde Institute at the University of Toronto, the Kenneth M. Molson Foundation, Robert D. Cudney/Northfield Capital Corp., the Globe and Mail, and Deloitte. Additional support is being received from the members of the Foundation’s newly formed Board of Directors, a group of distinguished industry leaders and visionaries across Canada who collectively contributed almost $500,000 and are committed to the museum’s mission.

“We are grateful to the Nature Foundation’s founding supporters and partners. Historically a tiny fraction of philanthropy has gone to nature and this must change. Nature is central to our future—the connections between healthy people and a healthy planet become more obvious every day,” said Meg Beckel, the Canadian Museum of Nature’s President and CEO. “We all need to get behind nature now, and the Nature Foundation promises the transformative investments required to support the museum’s rich legacy of discovery, research, and education.  These investments will help drive our shared vision of a sustainable natural future.”

The Nature Foundation is seeking philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, foundations and institutions that care about nature and want to have global impact by fostering solutions for a sustainable future. The Foundation's strategic priorities align with those of the  museum and focus on research initiatives, fieldwork, educational outreach, scientific equipment, natural resource literacy, digitization of collections, the Beaty Centre for Species Discovery, the Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, the Scientific Training Program and the Northern Voices Fund.

For more information about the Nature Foundation, visit foundation.nature.ca.  

The Foundation directors are Rob Crosbie, C.M., (Chair), St. John’s, NL;  Warren Bell, Oakville, ON; Don Bubar, Toronto, ON; Margo Crawford, Ottawa, ON; Matt Creager, Halifax, NS; Mark Dockstator, Toronto, ON; Sean Finn, Montreal, QC; Glenn Ives, Vancouver, BC; Alexandria Marcotte, Toronto, ON; Robyn Seetal, Calgary, AB; the Hon. Monte Solberg, P.C., Calgary, AB; Joy Romero; Calgary, AB; Shilpa Tiwari, Toronto, ON; and Michelle Valberg, Ottawa, ON.

About the Nature Foundation
An independent charitable entity supporting the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Nature Foundation inspires philanthropic investments in nature for discovery, research and education to foster solutions for our future. The Foundation and its partners advance fact-based science through vital funding that empowers the museum’s research, collections, and educational initiatives. Support for the Foundation enables the museum to train the next generation of collections-based researchers in Canada, undertake fieldwork for new discoveries, share the knowledge associated with its collections and advance dynamic educational programming that fosters a love of nature among all ages. The Foundation’s Board comprises business professionals and changemakers who share a commitment to inspiring investment in nature.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature
Saving the world through evidence, knowledge and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, curation of a 14.6 million specimen reference collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca. Among recent additions to the museum’s scientific capacity is the National Biodiversity Cryobank of Canada, which opened in 2018 following a philanthropic gift by the Ross Beaty Family.

Information for media:

Dan Smythe
Head, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.698.9253 (cell)
dsmythe@nature.ca

John Swettenham
Chief Marketing Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.868.8277
jswettenham@nature.ca