Finalists announced for 2016 Nature Inspiration Awards

September 08, 2016

2016 Nature Inspiration Awards

OTTAWA (Sept. 8, 2016)—The Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences, is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2016 Nature Inspiration Awards. These honours recognize individuals, groups and organizations whose leadership and innovation connect Canadians with nature and the natural world.

Some of the finalists work in the field or in classrooms, opening eyes to the importance of biodiversity and conservation. Some bring people together, develop policies and sell sustainable practices in boardrooms and offices, while others shine a light on nature through creative endeavours such as theatre, writing, photography, and film.

The shortlist for the 2016 awards comprises 26 finalists in six categories: Youth (aged 17 and younger), Individuals (aged 18 and up), Not-for-Profits (small to medium), Not-for-Profits (large), Businesses and Lifetime Achievement. They range in age from a pre-teen committed to environmental education and social activism, to a senior with a legacy of dedication to conservation.   

"The achievements of the finalists are varied in their focus and approaches, but all are truly inspiring. They are entrepreneurs, naturalists, educators, and organizers who lead by example. Each has helped expand our understanding of the natural world, and our need to live sustainably with it,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature and Chair/ex-officio member of the selection jury. “We are grateful for the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of all these finalists with the Nature Inspiration Awards.”

The museum will host a gala on November 9 to celebrate the finalists, and to announce the winners in each category. Presenting sponsor for the 2016 awards is Enbridge Inc. Media partners are The Walrus and The Globe and Mail.

"We are pleased to support the 2016 Nature Inspiration Awards and we congratulate all nominees for the diverse activities and projects they are undertaking to promote environmental innovation and sustainability across Canada," says Linda Coady, Chief Sustainability Officer, Enbridge Inc. “This year’s finalists are an extraordinary group of individuals and organizations from all walks of life. At Enbridge we are committed to environmental stewardship and it is our privilege to help sponsor the Nature Inspiration Awards."

In total, 62 nominations were received following a call for submissions in spring 2016. A jury selected a shortlist of finalists. In addition to Meg Beckel, the jury included Shelley Ambrose, Executive Director/Co-Publisher, The Walrus; Linda Coady, Chief Sustainability Officer, Enbridge; Jack Cockwell, Chairman/CEO, Partners Limited; Philip Crawley, Publisher, The Globe and Mail; John Geiger, CEO, Royal Canadian Geographic Society; Geoff Green, Founder and Executive Director, Students on Ice; and Arnold Witzig, Co-Founder, Arctic Inspiration Prize. Winners for each category receive $5,000 that they can designate to a beneficial program of their choice. The Nature Inspiration Awards are produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature. Full details at

Here is the complete list of finalists:

Youth category (aged 17 and under)

  • Ta’Kaiya Blaney, environmental ambassador/social activist, North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Joel Mathew, naturalist/Earth Rangers member, Milton, Ontario
  • Kathy Nodzynski, environmental advocate, Pierrefonds, Quebec
  • Anayat Sidhu, youth ambassador/environmentalist, Calgary, Alberta

Individual category (aged 18 and up)

  • Marianne and Matthew Gee, beekeepers/entrepreneurs, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Bill Kilburn, nature interpreter, Milton, Ontario
  • John Lounds, administrator/CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Toronto, Ontario
  • Eric Peterson, entrepreneur/founder of Hakai Institute, Heriot Bay, British Columbia
  • Michelle Valberg, nature photographer/artist, Ottawa, Ontario

Not-For-Profit category (small/medium organization)

  • Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Churchill, Manitoba
  • Nature-Action Quebec, Beloeil, Quebec
  • Nature Canada, NatureHood program, Ottawa, Ontario
  • The Natural Step Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
  • The Riverwood Conservancy, Mississauga, Ontario

Not-For-Profit category (large organization)

  • Nature Conservancy of Canada, Toronto, Ontario
  • Ocean Tracking Network, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Scotia,
  • Ocean Wise program, Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia

Business category

  • Greenbug Energy Inc., hydro systems designer and manufacturer, Delhi, Ontario
  • Helping Nature Heal, Inc., ecological landscaper, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
  • PowerStream Inc., community-owned energy company, Vaughan, Ontario
  • SK Films, natural history media provider, Toronto, Ontario
  • Teck Resources Ltd., mining and mineral development, Vancouver, British Columbia

Lifetime Achievement category

  • Robin Campbell, administrator/founder of wildlife recovery association, Errington, B.C.
  • Carla Carlson, entrepreneur and environmentalist, Vineland Station, Ontario
  • Neil Jotham, administrator/policy development on animal trapping, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Grant Linney, environmental educator, Dundas, Ontario

About the Canadian Museum of Nature

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 10.5 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site,

Information for media:

Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 1.800.263.4433

John Swettenham
Director, Marketing and Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4249; 1.800.263.4433