International Women’s Day is about being inspired and inspiring others every day
For decades, International Women’s Day (March 8) has been celebrated around the world to recognize the achievements of women and our contributions to society. Every day, the people behind the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) mission are striving to deliver the organization’s ambitious goals and leading the way to create a stronger future for Canada’s nature. To mark the day, our colleagues in Atlantic Canada share a few thoughts about the women who’ve inspired them and the future they see in nature conservation.
Thoughts on representation in the workforce
Piers Evans, Newfoundland and Labrador program director, feels fortunate and thankful for having worked under the supervision of many brilliant women throughout his career. “I’m glad I get to work in an organization with a such strong representation of women in leadership positions, but I know it’s still not the norm. International Women’s Day should remind us that despite all the advances we’ve made, our society is still not equitable, and that there are definitely not enough women in charge,” shares Piers.
> NCC makes 2023 list of Great Places to Work Best Workplace Managed by Women
Why the presence of strong role models is important
Laurel Bernard and her son observing nature at Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)
Laurel Bernard, acting director of stewardship in Atlantic Canada, shares the importance of having role models and encouragement in her life that set her in motion to embark a scientific career. “My mom inspired me, as she was a professor of food science at a university during her working career in the 70s to 90s and, in her leisure time, was a naturalist and studied the biological world. This set up an environment for me in making a natural decision to study biology and go on to work for a conservation organization,” says Laurel.
Further to cultivating an environment that allows people to pursue a career in the sciences, Laurel says it’s important to inspire women in science as a part of fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive world. And that can start with providing young people with work experiences in conservation, such as NCC’s Conservation Internship Program, of which she proudly supports, to help guide the next generation coming into this field.
Professional peers and friends who innovate and inspire
Jaimee Dupont Morozoff, Nova Scotia program director (Photo by Communications Nova Scotia)
Echoing many of her colleagues’ sentiment, Jaimee Morozoff, Nova Scotia program director, is inspired by many women in science. Two inspirational professional peers and friends of Jaimee’s include C-Jae Breiter, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Alana Westwood, a professor at Dalhousie University. Both of these women were integral and an inspiration for Jaimee in her early career and education, and continue to be today. Jaimee sees C-Jae’s work in the Arctic studying species like polar bears and beluga whales as proof that the dreams of an aspiring (female) wildlife biologist in having a successful career out in the field can come true. C-Jae’s work is having a positive impact on species and ecosystems at risk.
Likewise, Alana’s focus in sustainable natural resources management, which moves pure science into “what works” and innovative projects, is raising the standard of how research should be done. By taking into account diversity and inclusion, her work ties policy and practice outcomes together to ensure that those who may be impacted by research are jointly involved in the design and implementation of studies, and are benefiting from the studies. Sharing that knowledge through teaching plants the seeds for innovative conservation in the next generation of scientists.
Everyone has a story to tell when it comes to who and what inspired them to take up a career in conservation. On this day and every day, NCC staff across the country continue to inspire and share our mission to build a thriving world by connecting people with nature, supporting and uplifting one another to fully participate in conservation from all walks of life.