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  6. Celebrating Canada’s nature leaders: Winners of the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards

Celebrating Canada’s nature leaders: Winners of the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards

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Ottawa, November 24, 2021—The Canadian Museum is proud to announce the winners of its national Nature Inspiration Awards for 2021, which were presented during a virtual ceremony this evening.

These annual awards, now in their eighth year, recognize individuals, businesses, and not-for-profits that show leadership, innovation and creative approaches to sustainability to connect Canadians with nature and the natural world.

The 2021 winners include:

  • Lisa Mintz, a community organizer from Montreal, Quebec, for advocacy in spearheading  conservation and protection of urban greenspaces;
  • Autumn Peltier, a teen in Ottawa, Ontario, for activism about access to clean water in First Nations communities;
  • SmartICE, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, for integrating traditional knowledge with technology in Arctic communities to monitor changes in sea-ice;
  • The Canadian Wildlife Federation, in Ottawa, for its national Wild Outside program that motivates youth to connect with nature in urban communities;
  • Sustainable clothing manufacturer and retailer tentree, in Vancouver, British Columbia, for its innovative approach to incorporating the planting of trees into its business model;
  • The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society, in Enderby, British Columbia, for its volunteer-led educational programs about salmon conservation; and
  • Ken Jewett, from the community of Mulmur, Ontario, for philanthropy and nature advocacy towards the revival of native Canadian maples.

The 2021 awards covered seven categories: Youth (aged 17 and younger), Adult, Not-for-Profit (small to medium), Not-for-Profit (large), Sustainable Business, Community Action and Lifetime Achievement.

“At a time when we are confronting impacts of the pandemic, as well as broader challenges to the protection of biodiversity, it’s inspiring to recognize these amazing individuals and groups,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “Whether the impacts of their efforts are local, regional or national, all of their innovative projects provide hope in guiding us towards a sustainable future.”

Videos about each of the 2021 winners can be viewed at nature.ca/awards. A jury selected the winners after paring down the applications to a shortlist of finalists. Winners receive $5,000 that they can ”pay forward” to a nature-related program of their choice.

The 2021 awards were supported by presenting sponsor, Facebook; media partners The Globe and Mail and the Walrus; and category sponsors: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Youth); BDO Canada LLP (Adult); Ontario Power Generation (Not-for-Profit, small to medium); Polar Knowledge Canada (Not-for-Profit, large); Nasco Building Cleaning Inc. (Community Action) and The Mosaic Company (Sustainable Business).                

Winners of the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards:

Youth category (aged 17 and under as of Dec. 31, 2020) – Autumn Peltier, Ottawa, Ontario
Autumn has advocated for clean water access in First Nations communities since age eight, when she became aware of water issues in her community, the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory First Nation on Manitoulin Island. The youth activist and Chief Water Protector for the Anishinabek Nation has drawn national and international attention to the need for clean water, through efforts such as addressing the United Nations in 2019.

Adult category – Lisa Mintz, Montreal, Quebec
Librarian turned environmentalist Lisa Mintz founded the Sauvons la Falaise initiative in 2015 to successfully save a 20-hectare wooded embankment in Montreal from being developed by a reconstruction project. Working tirelessly, she mobilized the community, and in 2020 the City of Montreal announced the area would be turned into parkland. Now leading several conservation groups, she inspires many through her educational outreach and community activism.

Lifetime Achievement recipient – Ken Jewett, Mulmur, Ontario
Philanthropist and nature advocate Ken Jewett, has dedicated his time and personal financial resources over 20 years for planting initiatives and environmental education about native maple trees. Through the Maple Leaves Forever Foundation that he created, about 130,000 native maple trees have been planted in Ontario, in partnership with nurseries and local municipalities—reinforcing the importance of native species to healthy ecosystems.

Not-For-Profit category (small to medium organization) – SmartICE, St. John’s, Newfoundland
SmartICE engages Arctic communities to adapt to unpredictable ice conditions. It provides training and tools that integrate Inuit traditional knowledge about ice safety and travel, with data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. By 2022-23, SmartICE anticipates it will expand to 30 communities across Inuit Nunangat, as well as  a number of First Nations communities that rely on freshwater ice travel in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. 

Not-For-Profit category (large organization) – Canadian Wildlife Federation, Ottawa, Ontario
The Canadian Wildlife Federation created Wild Outside as national program for urban youth aged 15 to18 to develop their leadership skills and to inspire a passion for conservation work, community service, awareness of the natural environment and a deeper appreciation for wildlife. The program, launched during the pandemic, now has the support of hundreds of community partners to enable the youth to take part in outdoor adventures and implement conservation-based projects.

Community Action category – Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society, Enderby, British Columbia
Located along the Shuswap River, the Centre has evolved from a small, community-run salmon hatchery into a learning and educational facility about salmon conservation. Dedicated volunteers provide a community hub that hosts schools, environmental conferences, and public events. The centre also works with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and is supported by local, regional, and First Nations groups.

Sustainable Business category – tentree, Vancouver, British Columbia
Founded in 2012, tentree is a Canadian company that sells sustainable outdoor-lifestyle products to customers across the globe, while planting ten trees for every product sold. By building restoration (planting trees) into its business model, the retailer has taken a novel approach to sustainability. The business has now planted more than 60 million trees across the globe, and as of 2020, tentree has become carbon neutral.

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About the Canadian Museum of Nature:
Saving the world though evidence, knowledge and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6-million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

Information for media:

Dan Smythe
Head, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-698-9253 (cell)
dsmythe@nature.ca

John Swettenham
Vice-President, Marketing and Public Affairs
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-868-8277 (cell)
jswettenham@nature.ca