Inspiring youth at COP15
The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP15 for short, is a two-week summit from December 7 to 19, 2022. Taking place in Montreal, delegations from governments, companies and organizations from 196 countries will come together to determine what the future of conservation looks like on a global scale under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
In recognition of the important role of young professionals in stewarding the future, both globally and within the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), six young professionals from across the organization will be attending COP15 as part of the NCC delegation.
Learn from each delegate about why they’re excited to be representing NCC and why they’re optimistic about our impact on creating a positive and long-lasting solution to biodiversity loss, below:
Kasia Podilsky, Development Officer
Kasia Podilsky (Photo courtesy of Kasia Podilsky)
“Climate change and rapid biodiversity loss are such important crises that are constantly overlooked, and I can’t wait to be physically present at some of the major groundbreaking work that will be done at this conference. Participating in this program and attending COP15 as a delegate will give me a first-hand perspective on how different leaders in these fields are planning on protecting biodiversity, which will help me better explain to donors and potential supporters how far their support can go. As someone who works for an organization that actively conserves biodiversity daily, this experience will help me better understand how this is done on an international scale.”
Laura Vaughan, Senior Development Officer
Laura Vaughan (Photo courtesy of Laura Vaughan)
“Since joining NCC in 2017, I’ve truly grown more hopeful for our future. I’ve seen people come together with a common goal to protect and restore nature, and to get amazing things done! Every day I’m inspired by the generosity of our donors and by the passion and dedication of our team.
I’m very excited to be a part of the delegation representing NCC at COP15. To have the opportunity to see our work through a global lens, and learn from others who are working all over the world to create a better future is something I’m most looking forward to. I can’t wait to share what we learn with the whole team at NCC.”
Louis-Georges Equilat, Conservation Planner
Louis-Georges Equilat (Photo courtesy of Louis-Georges Equilat)
“I’m thrilled to be part of NCC’s COP15 young professionals delegation. While at COP15, I’m hoping to learn more about inspiring projects, conservation science and nature-based solutions. It’s an exceptional opportunity for me to showcase NCC’s efforts in addressing the climate change and biodiversity loss crises. I want to highlight our work on the Quebec Ecological Corridors Initiative — it’s an excellent example of a multi-partner project in which several individuals are working toward the same goals.”
Megan Quinn, Conservation Biology Coordinator
Photo by Charles T. Low
“When I was approached to create the proposal for an NCC youth delegation at COP15, I wanted to pitch an initiative to engage youth across the organization and highlight their invaluable contributions to NCC’s work. Our strength at NCC comes from the diversity of young staff we have working in all departments — from conservation to communications. As a passionate advocate for youth involvement in the environmental sector, I’m thrilled to be a delegate at COP15. My role as a coordinator of conservation biology with NCC gives me the privilege of working on the ground in some of the most important natural spaces in eastern Ontario, and I look forward to sharing my on-the-ground knowledge with the broader conservation community.”
Raechel Wastesicoot, Internal Communications Manager
Raechel Wastesicoot (Photo courtesy of Raechel Wastesicoot)
“As an Indigenous woman working at NCC, I have had the opportunity to work from two canoes. Attending COP15 on behalf of NCC will help to deepen my understanding and practice of land-based communications, community building and growing my awareness of how and why NCC does the work we do. I hope to cement my trajectory as a leader in Indigenous-led conservation through storytelling. Communications is such a vital part of conservation, and I think it's incredibly important that more communication professionals have opportunities to connect with individuals in this field and to explore different ways to tell the story of the land.
I am excited to bring my experience, passion and ever-evolving understanding and respect for Indigenous-led conservation and intersectional approaches to land protection, and my passion for youth-led change to COP15 on behalf of our organization.”
Steven Anderson, Conservation Operations Program Coordinator
Steven Anderson (Photo courtesy of Steven Anderson)
“I began my career at NCC as the lead on climate change adaptation for Manitoba’s natural area conservation plans. From this work, I know that NCC’s mandate to protect and steward land for better biodiversity outcomes is one of the most important actions we must take to protect Canadian biodiversity in the face of the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. I’m eager to see how conservation and policy interact on a global scale as part of NCC’s COP15 delegation. I can’t wait to learn from global leaders and have a front-row seat for the policy decisions that will affect our work across Canada into the future.”
You can stay up to date with NCC’s youth delegates through our social media channels throughout COP15 and by following the hashtags #COP15NCC and #COP15CNC! Stay tuned for photos, recaps and an insider look at the event.