Driving force in saving Quebec’s nature retires
Nathalie Zinger helped lead protection of important wetlands, forests, coastal areas
A major force in nature conservation in Quebec is retiring. Nathalie Zinger is finishing an impressive 14-year career with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Along with her time with NCC, Nathalie worked with the Québec Labrador Foundation, WWF-Canada, Héritage Montréal and was a director with Birds Canada, a Governor of les amis de la montagne, and as a Member of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Advisory Board at McGill University.
Under her direction, NCC has conserved thousands of hectares of privately owned land, in all corners of Quebec, from the Outaouais Valley and Greater Montreal to the Gaspé Peninsula, and from the U.S. border to the Laurentians and beyond. The charitable land trust has helped conserve 47,670 hectares (117,795 acres) of key habitat, many of those projects during Zinger’s leadership.
“I really enjoy talking to landowners that have a vision or a wish to see their land protected for the long term, and then to be able to make those dreams come true,” said Zinger. “I’m always fascinated by and very grateful for donors that share that vision of making conservation part of their legacy. It’s been a privilege to be able to work with both donors and landowners to make conservation a reality.”
For 10-years, Zinger was regional vice president in Quebec and helped launched the large Kenauk conservation area located eight kilometres north of Montebello, between Ottawa and Montreal. Kenauk is also known as “Seigneurie Papineau,” a land previously owned by the family of Louis-Joseph Papineau, a famous Patriote leader who was elected to the Assembly of Lower Canada in 1809.
Kenauk is the largest conservation project ever undertaken by NCC in Quebec and certainly one of the largest in Canada. The site has more than 60 lakes, many with breeding common loons. This vast territory extends about 16 kilometres from west to east and about 21 kilometres from south to north. It contains all of the birds you would expect to find in a natural area in this part of Canada.
Zinger also served as executive director and secretary of the American Friends of Canadian Nature. In this role, she helped attract important land and cash donations from south of the border to leverage matching funds in order to accelerate conservation projects in Canada.
Zinger also helped launch an NCC program that looked at how to make the organization’s conservation sites accessible and informative to visitors. In 2012, she was the recipient of a McGill University award for distinguished graduates who have made outstanding contributions in their field. Zinger holds a bachelor of science degree in wildlife management and a graduate diploma in northern studies, both from McGill University, and a master’s degree from Université de Montréal’s School of Landscape Planning.
In 2013, Zinger was inducted into the prestigious Cercle des Phénix for her significant contributions to conservation, particularly the conservation of Quebec's natural heritage. She is also an accomplished artist, working primarily in watercolours and ink. With her sketchbook never far from her side, Zinger shares her journeys through images captured as she travels within Canada and abroad. To view her work, visit https://www.instagram.com/nathaliezinger/
“We all look to the horizon, towards the future. This curiosity drives us, and in some this transforms into a lifelong passion. That’s Nathalie. With every step, she has followed a trail that’s sometimes rugged but always inspiring. She leads from the front and always invites others to share in her challenges and successes. I carry her lessons with me in my backpack everywhere I go.”
Bernard Voyer, world explorer and mountaineer, ambassador with Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec.
“I met Nathalie Zinger as she was beginning her career as regional vice-president for NCC. Nathalie is one of those rare individuals who can combine extensive scientific knowledge of conservation issues with outstanding leadership abilities. Throughout her career, Nathalie has inspired teams of people to develop and structure key projects for NCC while sharing her vision of a strong, protected yet accessible nature”.
Nathalie Pratte – President, Envirostratégie /Groupe Pratte and former chair of the national board of Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“It has been truly a privilege to work alongside Nathalie all these years. She is an amazingly respected force within the Quebec conservation movement. I was most proud to have been present when she won the Prix de Phénix in 2013 in Quebec City, which is one of the highest honours in the field. She will long be able to bask in the glow of her accomplishments during her well-deserved retirement.”
Stephen Lloyd, Montreal lawyer and former chair of the Quebec Regional Board of Nature Conservancy of Canada
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, including more than 48 000 hectares (close to 119,00 acres) in Quebec.
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