To kick off Canadian Environment Week, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the newly formed Nature Advisory Committee.
The Government of Canada is committed to working toward halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 in Canada and achieving a full recovery for nature by 2050. The Nature Advisory Committee is a group of experts with a range of perspectives that will provide strategic advice and recommendations on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of land and resources to both the Department and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
This committee will help to address some of the Department’s most pressing issues, including advancing the development of Canada’s post-2020 biodiversity strategy, working toward area‑based conservation targets such as conserving 25 per cent of the lands and oceans in Canada by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030, and supporting wildlife and species at risk management initiatives. It will also provide innovative solutions and ideas on programs, operational policies, guidelines, and regulatory approaches to support Canada’s biodiversity progress.
Patrick Nadeau, one of the recently appointed members of the new National Nature Advisory Committee. Credit: Birds Canada/Martin Lipman.
The committee will involved strong collaboration and engagement across all sectors and all levels of government, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous leadership and knowledge.
“Canadians love our natural world and want to protect our iconic Canadian wildlife. We’ve made the investments—and now we’re enlisting the knowledge—to help restore our relationship with nature. By developing solutions for the reality of people across the Canadian landscape, we’ll protect our land, air, and water for generations to come,” said Guilbeault.
“I look forward to working with the Nature Advisory Committee on innovative, creative, and effective ideas to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, and continuing to work with all partners in conservation and sustainable use.”
Working collaboratively, the NAC is tasked with:
- Finding innovative solutions to issues related to cross-cutting nature conservation priorities (e.g., protected and conserved areas, biodiversity, wildlife, species at risk);
- Offering strategic advice considering the co-benefits of Canada’s social, economic, and conservation interests and/or objectives;
- Providing expertise and strategic advice on nature priorities, initiatives, policies, and program implementation; and
- Identifying opportunities to strengthen partnerships on nature initiatives.
ECCC sought individuals who were recognized as leaders in conservation and who collectively could provide scientific or technical knowledge, Traditional Knowledge, or specialized expertise in areas such as wildlife management (including migratory birds and species at risk), area-based conservation, ecosystem services, Indigenous conservation, sustainable natural resource industry practices, and nature-based climate solutions.
Twenty-one members from non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia, including Indigenous Peoples, are being appointed for three- or five-year terms.
Stephanie Allen is Kanien’keha:ka from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is an environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, most spent working for First Nations and Tribal Councils in Ontario. Her work is informed by both science and Indigenous knowledge, the latter considered broadly and including Indigenous laws, values, and teachings. She is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto researching Ontario’s endangered riverine dragonflies.
Miles Anderson is a cattle rancher from Saskatchewan who has a proven dedication to species at risk. By collaborating with biologists and government agencies, and setting a positive example in the ranching community, he has become an advocate for the benefits that good grasslands management can have for both wildlife and livestock.
With more than 25 years of experience, Karla Guyn is a retired CEO of a prominent Canadian ENGO. Her love for wetlands and waterfowl led her to a long and respected career and she is recognized as a North American conservation leader, serving on international committees, including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Joanna Kerr is the president and CEO of a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together. For years, she has served as part of a global network working to stop climate change, save the environment, protect precious biodiversity, and advance Indigenous rights.
Daniel Kraus is a transdisciplinary conservation scientist with expertise in Canadian biodiversity, endangered species, and landscape ecology. He has over twenty-five years of experience in field ecology, environmental planning, and conservation in the public, private, and NGO sectors.
Kate Lindsay works with the forest industry, governments, and partners to develop policy and advance environmental leadership on a number of sustainability files, including climate action, climate change adaptation and resiliency, species at risk, biodiversity conservation, and broader ESG factors. Kate Lindsay also has experience working in government and the private sector and with an environmental consulting firm.
With more than 25 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector working with a wide range of partners to conserve high-value biodiversity through private land conservation, Lisa McLaughlin specializes in land acquisition, land stewardship, and public conservation engagement. She has experience in organizational change management, fundraising, program development, and program evaluation.
Joshua McNeely has served on several national and international committees related to biodiversity, climate change, air pollution, and chemicals management, including as an Indigenous and Canadian delegate to the Convention on Biological Diversity working groups and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. McNeely also has experience managing conservation field projects and participating in species at risk recovery teams and marine protected area advisory committees in the Maritime provinces.
A section head at a federal Crown corporation with expertise in forest ecology and management, Annie Morin has a demonstrated record of strengthening partnerships with regulators and academia on collaborative projects related to species at risk and protecting their habitat. Morin offers much expertise on biodiversity topics as they relate to environmental assessment processes.
A biologist by training, Patrick Nadeau has a solid track record of effective government relations. He has held leadership roles in the environment sector for over a decade. Nadeau has also developed broad policy expertise (e.g., migratory birds, water quality and management, protected areas, forestry, fossil fuels, endangered species, nuclear waste), in addition to having developed successful collaborations with several Indigenous communities (i.e., Cree, Inuit, Innu, Algonquin).
Lori Neufeld is a professional biologist with over twenty years of experience advancing the sustainable development of Canada’s oil and gas resources. Neufeld is a recognized industry subject matter expert in biodiversity, species at risk recovery planning, land-use planning, wildlife management, habitat restoration, and sustainable development.
With close to a decade of experience working directly with Canadian Inuit communities and organizations, Jennifer Parrott keenly focuses on knowledge mobilization, community engagement, environmental policy, and community development. Her experience has helped promote knowledge exchange between Inuit, academia, and government. Ms. Parrott leads research on regional environmental assessments, Traditional Knowledge integration in regulatory decision making, Northern capacity building, climate change, disaster mitigation, knowledge mobilization, and cyber infrastructure. She loves promoting STEM education, training, and opportunities for youth and has been doing so for over fifteen years.
Jeremy Pittman has experience working on climate change adaptation, sustainability, and environmental policy issues in federal and provincial governments in Canada and the private sector. He has academic and professional experience working in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities and resource-based sectors (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and mining) in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. His areas of expertise include species at risk and biodiversity conservation, sustainable natural resource practices in the agricultural industry, nature-based climate solutions, and ecosystem services.
Mark Ryckman is a wildlife biologist and sustainable use advocate working to protect and promote Ontario’s hunting and fishing heritage. Mr. Ryckman has comprehensive working knowledge of a broad range of provincial and federal fish and wildlife legislation and extensive experience working in multi-stakeholder groups at the federal and provincial levels.
Tara Shea works with mining industry stakeholders and government decision makers on policy issues related to Indigenous engagement and wildlife and biodiversity conservation. She was previously a member of the Species at Risk Advisory Committee (SARAC) and is dedicated to working on species at risk and protected areas issues. Shea also works with Indigenous partners through the management of her organization’s Indigenous Relations Committee.
Gauri Sreenivasan has significant experience working with civil society, academia, and Parliament to connect the Canadian activist, scientific, and research communities with public advocacy and policy change. She has been striving for equity, sustainability, and justice for more than 25 years.
A professional wildlife biologist and former provincial executive lead, Julie Towers has worked in applied research; environmental assessment; and forest, parks, and wildlife management. She was also directly involved in developing and implementing the National Biodiversity Framework, Aichi targets, Canada’s Biodiversity Strategy, and 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets, and recently worked on the post-2020 biodiversity strategy.
Gail Wallin has worked in British Columbia and across Canada to protect habitats and communities from the introduction and spread of invasive species with a passion for creating coordinated action and awareness from coast to coast to coast. Wallin has spent her career focused on the stewardship of our environment through providing education and leadership, and facilitating diverse partnerships. She has supported and built collaborative action to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, initially in B.C. and then from coast to coast to coast, to help protect the natural richness of Canada’s habitats and communities.
Cathy Wilkinson has two decades of experience working on environmental policy issues, including climate change, air quality, and biodiversity conservation. Wilkinson has served as policy advisor to two federal environment ministers on these issues and worked for two national non-profit organizations. Wilkinson has also worked with a wide range of conservation organizations, First Nations, industry, and other interested parties to link science, policy, and conservation activities in Canada’s boreal forest.
Mike Wilson has experience working with senior government officials and has held a series of senior roles in the Government of Canada working at the intersection of the environment, the economy, and innovation. During his career in government, he was responsible for creating the government’s clean air agenda, led Environment Canada’s environmental assessment program, and spearheaded a successful public-private initiative to strengthen the role of sustainability in investment decisions. Ten years ago, he harnessed these skills to lead a think tank and research network focused on the environment-economy nexus.
Alison Woodley has more than two decades’ experience providing evidence-based policy advice to federal government and provincial/territorial partners on area-based conservation and species at risk, extensive international and national policy and regulatory knowledge, and experience related to nature conservation, including protected areas and other effective conservation measures, land-use planning, species at risk, Indigenous-led conservation, and nature-based climate solutions. Woodley also has experience working with Indigenous governments, communities, and organizations to support conservation.
Featured image of species at risk, wood bison. Credit: Parks Canada/Stephen G. Edgerton.