OTTAWA, Nov. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At a special gala this evening, the Canadian Museum announced the winners of its national Nature Inspiration Awards for 2022. Among the recipients are a family doctor who champions a program that prescribes visits to parks for health reasons, an Indigenous-led program to rehabilitate a regional caribou population, a national podcast about birds and their conservation, and a social enterprise that introduces women and girls to sustainable fishing practices.
These annual awards, now in their ninth year, recognize individuals, businesses, and
not-for-profits that show leadership, innovation and creative approaches to sustainability in order to connect Canadians with nature and the natural world.
The 2022 winners include:
- Melissa Lem, M.D., a family physician from Vancouver, British Columbia who has spearheaded with the BC Parks Foundation Canada’s first prescription program for nature;
- Naila Moloo, a teen in Ottawa, Ontario, for innovative projects including the development of a special solar cell, and for advocating for the role of women and girls in STEM fields;
- Fishing for Success, a community social enterprise in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland for its program that introduces women and girls to sustainable fishing practices;
- Birds Canada, a not-for-profit in Port Rowan, Ontario for an innovative podcast about Canadian birds and related conservation issues;
- Mériscope, from Portneuf-sur-Mer, Quebec for its marine-mammal research in the St. Lawrence estuary, and educational collaborations with universities
- The Nikanese Wah tzee Stewardship Society in Moberly Lake, British Columbia, for its Indigenous-led program to rehabilitate the regional caribou population;
- Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics in St. Catharines, Ontario for its high-quality products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and inspired by the Anishnaabe roots of its founder, and;
- Larry Halverson, from Invermere British Columbia, for his decades of leadership as a naturalist and wildlife educator, and as a champion for public engagement about nature.
The 2022 awards covered seven categories: Youth (aged 17 and younger), Adult, Not-for-Profit (small to medium), Not-for-Profit (large), Sustainable Business, Community Action and Lifetime Achievement.
“At a time when our planet and society as a whole is confronting challenges from climate change and biodiversity loss, it’s inspiring to recognise the diverse ways that Canadians are connecting us with the importance of nature in our lives,” says Dr. Danika Goosney, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “With local, regional and national impacts, all of these innovative projects remind us of the need to live in balance with nature and work towards a sustainable future.”
See videos about the 2022 Nature Inspiration Award recipients at nature.ca/awards.
A jury selected the winners after paring down the applications to a shortlist of finalists. Winners receive $5,000 that they can ”pay forward” to a nature-related program of their choice.
The 2022 awards were supported by media partners The Globe and Mail and the Walrus, evening sponsor, BDO Canada LLP, and category sponsors: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Youth); Ontario Power Generation (Not-for-Profit, small to medium); Nasco Building Cleaning Inc. (Community Action) and Meta Inc. (Sustainable Business).
Winners of the 2022 Nature Inspiration Awards:
Youth category (aged 17 and under as of Dec. 31, 2021) – Naila Moloo, Ottawa, Ontario
Naila Moloo is an innovator whose projects include the development of a transparent and flexible solar cell. Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists, she is committed to promoting the importance of innovation, and empowering women in STEM through a podcast and speaking appearances.
Adult category – Melissa Lem, Vancouver, British Columbia
Dr. Melissa Lem is an internationally recognized advocate for the health benefits of nature, with many media appearances as a medical expert. With the BC Parks Foundation, she launched Canada’s national nature prescription program, PaRx—only the second if its kind in the world.
Lifetime Achievement recipient – Larry Halverson, Invermere, British Columbia
Throughout his life, including 38 years as a naturalist with Parks Canada, Larry Halverson has created initiatives to protect nature. He co-founded the Wings Over the Rockies festival that has inspired similar festivals in North America. His kindness, humour and “just do it” attitude helped him raise millions of dollars from industry, business, and private sectors in aid of nature education and conservation.
Not-For-Profit category (co-recipient, small to medium organization) – Mériscope, Portneuf-sur-Mer, Quebec
Mériscope is involved in marine mammal research and education, with an emphasis on the St. Lawrence Estuary. Through collaborations with dozens of universities in Canada, the United States and Europe, more than 400 students completed courses and internships in marine-related professions.
Not-For-Profit category (co-recipient, small to medium organization) – Nikanese Wah tzee Stewardship Sociey, Moberly Lake, British Columbia
The Society is a collaboration of two First Nations, the West Moberly and the Saulteau, working to recover the local Klinse-Za caribou population. Efforts include relocation of caribou cows, maternal penning, and agreements with the B.C. government and with Canada for the protection of 8,000 sq. km. of habitat.
Not-For-Profit category (large organization) – Birds Canada, Port Rowan, Ontario
Birds Canada’s podcast, The Warblers, is the first bird-conservation podcast focussing on Canadian content. It is ranked in the Top 10 Nature Podcasts in Canada by Apple Podcasts and has listeners in 103 countries. Survey results show high motivation among listeners to adopt bird-friendly actions.
Community Action category – Fishing for Success, Petty Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador
Among the successes of this volunteer-driven, non-profit social enterprise is its Girls Who Fish program. It empowers women and girls over 8 years old to fish, reduces barriers to ocean access, and highlights the cultural value of fish. Fishing for Success is now developing a Sea2School program for provincial curricula in schools.
Sustainable Business category – Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics Inc., St. Catharines, Ontario
Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned sustainable cosmetics business. Founder Jenn Harper draws on her Anishnaabe roots to create high-quality beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free and designed for low environmental impact. Harper regularly speaks at conferences, universities, and colleges about sustainability and entrepreneurship.
About the Canadian Museum of Nature:
Saving the world though evidence, knowledge and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature’s past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6-million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.
Information for media:
Head, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
Interim Director, Marketing and Public Affairs
Canadian Museum of Nature