In 1939 the world was a much simpler place than it is today. The Xerox machine was just being invented, the television had not yet been invented, and the average price for a new car was $700. While attitudes towards nature and the environment were very different than they are today, there were many individuals that were ahead of their time and had the foresight to create something amazing.
Mabel Frances Whittemore was one of those individuals. In 1939, Whittemore was extremely passionate about the environment and nature. She was a teacher and educator in the 1930’s; and during her spare time, she would take children for nature walks. This influential and inspiring woman helped establish what has become Nature Canada; the oldest national conservation charity in Canada.
Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada with the support of over 45,000 members and more than 350 nature organizations across the country.
In celebration of Nature Canada’s 75th anniversary in 2014, the organization started a new initiative to bring together 75 women of influence across the country who shared the same vision as Nature Canada. Women for Nature is a collaborative initiative of professional women who are champions of Nature Canada’s efforts within their personal and professional networks. Their mission is to save wildlife, protect nature and inspire young leaders for nature.
“These  women are incredibly influential and they are at the heart of our efforts to engage and empower Canadians to save species, protect habitats and connect children to nature,” says Eleanor Fast, executive director for Nature Canada.
“It was important to build a network of women working together for nature as it’s reflective of our history, but also to shine a light on women who work collaboratively to make a difference,” says Fast.
The diversity of the women involved brings strength to this powerful network for nature. Founding members have been identified and chosen for their positive approach, passion for nature, and for being role models and trailblazers. Founding Women for Nature recipients include Elizabeth May, Margaret Atwood, and her Excellency Sharon Johnston.
TransCanada is extremely fortunate to have two employees honoured with the Women for Nature distinction. Karen Etherington, director, Environment & Regulatory on the Coastal GasLink project was named a founding member of Women for Nature in 2014. Following in her footsteps was Andrea Jalbert, vice-president, Community and Sustainability.
Passion for the environment
Jalbert says she’s never had a problem showing her passion for the environment through her job.
“Since I was old enough to truly become aware of the environment, I’ve worked hard to both cherish and conserve it. Celebrating Nature Canada’s 75th anniversary and as a founding member of Women for Nature, I am so very proud of how far we’ve come in terms of raising environmental awareness and holding ourselves accountable. I know we have further to go, but I believe we can work together to celebrate the natural environment and protect it for the generations of Canadians that lie ahead,” says Jalbert.
Like Jalbert, Etherington has also had a positive impact on the environment through her work.
“Through the industry I saw an opportunity to be a positive influence from within,” says Etherington. “And that’s exactly what I’ve been afforded with by working at TransCanada—the ability to use that environmental knowledge in a collaborative fashion to help develop our projects and manage our systems.”
Responsible energy development
At TransCanada, we are committed to protecting the environment. Not just because we have to, but because we want to. As one of North America’s leading energy infrastructure companies, we respect the diversity of the landscapes in which we operate and consider the environmental and cultural aspects of our business activities. This includes supporting organizations like Nature Canada.
TransCanada has supported Nature Canada since 2003 in their mission to protect nature and inspire young leaders for nature. TransCanada’s support was instrumental in developing a national Important Bird Area (IBA) Caretaker Network in Canada between 2009 and 2014. Over this time, the network grew from 78 IBAs in British Columbia to 243 IBAs with caretakers in all ten provinces.
“The Environmental Strategy is firmly aligned with our corporate values and informs how we conduct our business,” says Jalbert. “It is embedded within our management system and guides how we systematically measure and communicate our progress.”
Learn more about TransCanada’s Environmental Strategy and its environmental practices.