True nOARth team, clockwise from top left: Charlotte Sobolewski, Sandra Farwell, Kristin Jeffery and Colleen Whelan (Photo by Danielle Davies)
True nOARth strong and free
Colleen Whelan, Charlotte Sobolewski, Kristin Jeffery and Sandra Farwell have a message to share. And they’re willing to endure the near unthinkable to make sure Canadians, especially Canadian women, are listening.
“Don’t wait,” states Colleen. “Don’t wait until you’re the perfect weight, the perfect body type, the perfect person. Start the journey now.”
The “it” they want women to embrace is their dreams, those big goals we all have, but don’t feel brave enough or strong enough or confident enough to tackle.
Setting goals and achieving them is something Colleen, Charlotte, Kristin and Sandra know all about. After five months of intensive training, they each completed a 24-hour indoor rowing challenge to raise funds in support of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Red Door Family Shelter. The event at Scullhouse indoor rowing studio in Toronto netted nearly $8,000 for NCC, set three world records — and kickstarted an even bigger dream.
As team True nOARth, the foursome has set their sights on other rowing challenges. Eventually they hope to conquer the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a gruelling 40-day, 4,800-kilometre international rowing race from the Canary Islands, Spain, to English Harbour, Antigua. Up to 30 teams from around the world attempt the daunting challenge each year.
“We want to become the first team of Canadian women to row across the Atlantic Ocean,” declares Charlotte.
But reaching the finish line and showcasing the power of women is only part of what they hope to accomplish in the years to come.
True nOARth is committed to continuing to support NCC’s restoration efforts in the Essex Forests and Wetlands Natural Area, a rich mix of forests, wetlands and prairies along the Lake Erie shoreline in southwestern Ontario. The area is home to more than 75 species at risk, 11 of which are globally rare. NCC and our partners have conserved 344 hectares (855 acres) in the area since 2000.
“Nature speaks to us as both rowers and women,” explains Sandra. “On the water is where I find my greatest peace, joy and health.”
Kristin agrees. “When we take care of ourselves physically and mentally, we’re better equipped to care for those around us, at home and in nature.
“This is about something so much bigger than us.”