Drivers & Barriers

Thursday, February 22nd from 10:00 am - 11:30 am PDT / 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT 

The third e-dialogue from the Biodiversity Conversations: How important are the common loon and polar bears to Canadians? series will focused on the drivers and barriers to the national, regional and local resolution of biodiversity conservation. Previous discussions talked about the need to identify critical habitats for endangered species as well as the role of keystone species. What can Canadians do in their day to day lives to help protect and preserve biodiversity, individually and collectively? Panelists explored how Canadians can work individually and collectively to break down barriers and include New Canadians in critical public policy development solutions for biodiversity conservation.


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Professor Ann Dale

Professor Ann Dale, Moderator, held a Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development (2004-2014) at Royal Roads University, School of Environment and Sustainability. A former Trudeau Fellow Alumna (2004), she is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Science, chairs the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research (CCSDR), a Board Member of the World Fisheries Trust and the founder of the National Environmental Treasure (the NET). Current research interests include governance, social capital and agency, biodiversity conservation, place-based and virtual sustainable communities. She is a recipient of the 2001 Policy Research Initiative Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Policy for her book, At the edge: sustainable development in the 21st century. Professor Dale is actively experimenting with research.


Meg Beckel

Dr. Meg Beckel's impressive career has spanned the arts, academia, finance, the public sector and the country. She began her working life at the Bank of Nova Scotia, before moving to the National Ballet of Canada, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the University of Calgary, the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Waterloo. Most recently, Meg was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, in 2011. Since joining the museum she has initiated a series of strategic changes in order to enhance the visitor experience and ensure the museum's position as a national museum of international first rank. Meg is a natural choice as a founding member of Women for Nature given her efforts to inspire understanding and respect for our natural heritage in all Canadians; a vision we share at Nature Canada.  

Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier

Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier is an Honorary Research Associate in the Invertebrate Biodiversity Program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa. She is an expert on soil mites in ecosystems globally, and has a broad research interest in biodiversity and ecology of arthropods in soil and canopy habitats. She is currently engaged in research initiatives on soil mites across North America and in New Zealand. She is an Editor of the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas, a Project of the European Commission and the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, scheduled to be released in Fall 2015. She is past member of the UNEP Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Soil and Sediment Subcommittee. Valerie has been a recipient of Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, is a past member of NSERC’s GSC on Evolution and Ecology, and the Scientific Committee of the Biological Survey of Canada. She is a graduate of University College Dublin, Ireland and McGill University, Montreal. She brings her passion for and knowledge of biodiversity to the Women for Nature Initiative

Dawn Carr

Dawn Carr has been the Executive Director of the Canadian Parks Council since 2012 and is the first woman to hold this position. In this role, Dawn provides professional advice and services to the Directors and Senior Executives of Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal park agencies to enhance the role of parks in the health and well-being of Canadians.  Through her leadership at the 2014 World Parks Congress, Dawn’s interest in the role of young professionals in policy making flourished and she actively seeks to engage youth, among others, in discussions about the benefits of nature. Previously, Dawn worked for the Alberta Government as the Manager of Planning where she worked to ignite a culture that respects, loves and takes deep pride in the role of public service in protecting our most special places. Dawn holds both a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Queen’s University and a Master of Arts (MA) focused on protected area planning from the University of Waterloo. Nature Canada is delighted that Dawn bring her expertise on protected areas and her passion to engage youth and professionals in nature conservation to the work of Women for Nature.

Holly Clermont

Dr. Holly Clermont is an experienced conservation biologist and nascent social scientist (MA, BSc, Dipl. Renewable Resource Mgmt) with interests in natural resource and health/safety science and practice. Based in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, her mid-life foray into social science doctoral research was motivated by everyday challenges faced by natural science practitioners to slow and reverse trends of widespread biodiversity loss. Despite endless promotion of sustainabilty principles, 'upholding the public interest through science-based stewardship of ecological resources' (the biologist’s credo) is routinely part of a zero-sum game of environment versus economy. Holly's doctoral research, 'The Underbelly of Economy versus Environment Conflicts: Detangling Sources of Tension in Contentious Natural Resource Decisions' confronted this challenge, looking at two cases of potential energy development in coastal B.C. (oil pipeline expansion and run of river hydro generation). With this work, Holly hopes to help achieve more positive outcomes for sensitive ecosystems and for sustainable resource development. 

Dr. Brenda Kenny

Dr. Brenda Kenny has extensive experience in sustainability, energy regulation and policy, and infrastructure.  Her career has included executive roles at the National Energy Board, research in corporate social responsibility and environmental law, and as CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.  She currently serves on the Board of the University of Calgary, chair of the Environment, Safety and Sustainability Committee, and on the Climate Change Emissions Management Corporation Board as Vice Chair.  Brenda is active in public service serving in many advisory roles, and having been a member of the imagineCALGARY Roundtable, and Sustainable Calgary Board.  She is passionate about nature conservation and honoured to be co-chair of the Women for Nature initiative with Nature Canada.

Dr. Leslie King

Dr. Leslie King is program head of the Master of Arts and Master of Science in Environmental Practice programs and the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Practice programs at Royal Roads University. She directs the Canadian Centre for Environmental Education in partnership with ECO Canada. Her research in Africa and the Arctic spans the topics of protected areas, poverty reduction, sustainable healthy communities, arctic sustainability indicators, aboriginal resource management, traditional ecological knowledge, and environmental governance. She has served on the Boards of many environmental, and community organizations as well as previously serving as Vice President, Academic at Vancouver Island University, Founding Dean of the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba and the Founding Chair of the Environmental Program at the University of Northern British Columbia. We commend Dr. King for her decades of teaching, training and mentoring scientists so they too can make positive contributions to protecting our natural world, as she has done over her illustrious career

Christine Leduc

Christine Leduc works as the Director of Public Affairs for EACOM Timber Corporation, a Canadian wood products company with operations in Ontario and Quebec. With big aspirations for Canada’s forest sector, Christine is pleased to work with Canadian governments that have made important commitments to the fight against climate change. Prior to working with EACOM, Christine held policy positions with the Ontario Forest Industries Association and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. With a passion for the forest, Christine has a Bachelor of Sciences and a Master of Forest Conversation from the University of Toronto. In 2015, Christine was a recipient of the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry and the Ontario Professional Foresters Association Fernow Award.

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese is a long time environmentalist, gardener and hiker who has always cared deeply about nature. The Toronto based mother of three became increasing concerned about climate change, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. Along with her father and business partner, she invented something extraordinary. Today their company, Wind Simplicity manufactures and installs bird and bat friendly small wind turbines. Sharolyn's company aims to put nature first. "We make working with nature a simple solution and use green principles in all aspects of our work", she says. As a founding member of Nature Canada's Women for Nature, Sharolyn's generosity is making a tremendous impact.  


Dr. Sarah (Sally) Otto

Dr. Sarah (Sally) Otto is a professor in the Department of Zoology and the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia. Sally helped establish the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution and the Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship program in conservation biology. She has also served as President and Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the Vice President of the American Society of Naturalists and the European Society of Evolutionary Biology, as well as serving on several editorial boards. A highly acclaimed scientist, Sally received the coveted MacArthur Fellowship - popularly known as the Genius Award - in 2011. Other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a McDowell Award for Excellence in Research (UBC), a Steacie Fellowship (Natural Sciences and Research Council; Canada), the Steacie Prize (National Research Council, Canada), and the Sewall Wright Award (American Society of Naturalists). Her research seeks to understand how evolutionary processes have shaped the wondrous diversity of biological features observed in the natural world, and thus helping to preserve it. Her work exemplifies the priority that Women for Nature place of biodiversity conservation and they are delighted to partner with Dr. Otto.