For Immediate Release
Announcement Gives Naturalists a Stronger Voice for Nature
Ottawa (July 10, 2006) - Nature Canada, a national conservation organization, has signed two contribution agreements with the federal government that will help to effectively engage Canada’s network of naturalist groups and nature enthusiasts known as the Canadian Nature Network. The announcement was made July 8 by Environment Minister Rona Ambrose at Nature Canada’s annual general meeting in Red Deer, Alberta.
The two agreements, totalling over one million dollars, were signed with Environment Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.
“We are elated that the federal government has recognized the important role the naturalist community plays in advancing conservation in this country,” said Julie Gelfand, President of Nature Canada. “A stronger Canadian Nature Network means that the collective voice of those who would defend nature – Canada’s naturalist community – will be heard by those who hold the political power to either protect or neglect Canada’s natural capital.”
The Canadian Nature Network is an inclusive alliance of people who care for, have a passion for, and celebrate nature. The network represents over 360 independent nature groups and more than 100,000 individuals. Nature Canada acts as secretariat for the Network.
The grant will allow greater communication and coordination within the Network so that geographically separated nature clubs can more easily work together to achieve common conservation goals.
“We are interested in real, tangible results for Canadians and for our environment,” said Minister Ambrose. “The Government of Canada’s contribution announcement today will go a long way towards making our shared conservation goals a reality, and I am excited about working with Nature Canada on this important endeavour.”
The contribution agreement between Nature Canada and the federal government calls for Nature Canada to explore ways to engage the Canadian Nature Network and determine how and where the Network can implement conservation priorities in communities across the country.
“There is a large community of nature lovers out there doing what they can to protect endangered species, educate children about the importance of nature, steward the land and encourage greener lifestyles,” said Gelfand. “We want to know how the Network can support all of those efforts going on around the country.”
Nature Canada will hire regional coordinators to oversee a nationwide consultative process that addresses how diverse, independent nature organizations can work together to advance conservation in Canada.
Organizations within the Canadian Nature Network will continue to operate independently on conservation projects of importance in their own region or community, but will be able to turn to like-minded organizations and community leaders for support within the Network.
“We want to learn what different clubs are already doing, and what they would like to do if only they had the resources,” said Gelfand. “There are opportunities out there for clubs to join forces, but we also need to know what barriers exist that might prevent that kind of coordination.”
“The overall goal is a stronger naturalist community,” said Gelfand. “Nature lovers are out there every day celebrating nature and protecting it for future generations. It’s time we took advantage of our collective strength to ensure Canada’s natural heritage doesn’t disappear.”
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