I am honoured to be a national finalist in the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards by the Canadian Museum of Nature

I was really honoured to find out not only was I nominated but I was selected by a prestigious jury to be a national finalist in the adult category of the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards from the Canadian Museum of Nature. There are only 4 adult finalists chosen across Canada, so this truly means a lot to me. I was selected because of my work to promote diversity and inclusion in birding and my work with young birders and my nature work with Indigenous youth on the downtown eastside.

"This awards program from the Canadian Museum of Nature recognizes adults, youth, not-for-profits and businesses that are connecting Canadians with nature and providing leadership for a sustainable future.

Previous nominees have included youth or adults who initiate change through community action, teaching, and advocacy; not-for-profits that inspire Canadians through hands-on experiences with nature and the environment; leaders who mobilize people to appreciate nature and its connections to a sustainable society through advocacy and creative programs; and businesses that promote sustainable practices and support community outreach."

You can read more about these awards at the press release and read the whole list of deserving finalists including my profile HERE

The jury is made up of the following people:

Shelley Ambrose, former Executive Director/Co-Publisher, The Walrus; Caitlyn Baikie, Education Policy Advisor, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Carolynn Beaty, Director of Granting, The Sitka Foundation; Kevin Chan, Senior Global Director and Head of Public Policy, Canada, Facebook; Philip Crawley, Publisher, The Globe and Mail; Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo; John Geiger, CEO, Royal Canadian Geographical Society; Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Scholarships and Fellowships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; Geoff Green, Founder and Executive Director, Students on Ice Foundation;and Erica Thompson, Senior National Director, Conservation Engagement and Development, Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

I and the other finalists will be featured in this week’s Globe and Mail physical newspaper, at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and in the November issue of the The Walrus magazine.

On Nov 24, 2021 the winner will be announced at a Gala event at the museum, due to Covid this event will not be held in person this year, only virtually. You can register to watch the gala live HERE.

Even if I don't win I am truly honoured that I was nominated and that the jury felt I was worthy of being a finalist.

Thank you to Margy MacMillan of Victoria for nominating me! It means so much to me that you were inspired by my work and that you felt that I showed leadership in contributing to the preservation of nature and for encouraging youth in particular to take an interest in birding and that you support the diversification of this hobby for all.

Prizes Offered to the Winners

  • One Grand Prize of $5000 in each category. Each winner then gives this prize to a nature-related program of his or her choice
  • For Adult, Lifetime and Youth winners: The Canadian Museum of Nature will sponsor membership in the Canadian International Union for the Conservation of Nature
  • National recognition through different media, including press release, advertisement in The Globe and Mail and The Walrus, social media, brochure and the Nature Inspiration Awards web pages

Prizes Offered to the Finalists

  • National recognition through different media, including press release, advertisement in The Globe and Mail and The Walrus, social media, brochure and the Nature Inspiration Awards website
Photo credit - Alia Youssef


  1. Awesome!! Congratulations Mel!! Well deserved recognition for your outstanding work!!

    1. thank you so much for the support kate it means a lot!

  2. Congratulations!! What an outstanding honour!! It’s amazing!

    1. thanks yes it is an honour just to be a finalist no matter what the outcome! thanks.

  3. Congratulations Mel! It is indeed an honour to be selected as one of four finalists from across the country. It is also well deserved for all your work to promote inclusivity in birding and mentoring youth.

    1. thank you so much for your unwavering support and for helping me on several young birder field trips. through all we have been through in the last 7 years and seeing what I've gone through (especially behind closed doors) it means a lot that you have had my back in my mission for making birding more inclusive. we still have a long way to go in this hobby but I won't give up and I know one day we will get there. the young birders here in BC give me so much Hope and pride. they are passionate about conservation and making birding equitable for all. I'm grateful to have you by my side <3

  4. this is so cool and well deserved mel! I am always happy to run into you when birding and am always grateful for the help you give mel. you inspire me to no end.

    1. thanks harry I really love your photography and it is nice to hear I have inspired you that means so very much to me! hope to run into you soon.

  5. really proud of you girl! the work you have done with young birders is inspiring but you also help us old farts out all the time too and we appreciate it. all the stuff on your plate you do for us all is something we all take for granted sometimes and shame on us for it. thank you for all you do. I realy hope you WIN!!!!!!!!1


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