Donate to CPAWS

CPAWS heads to World Parks Congress to promote “thinking big” and “connecting more people to nature”

Six national and regional CPAWS conservation leaders are headed to the once-in-a-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, which runs November 12 - 19th, to present their leading efforts and programs to protect at least half of the Canada’s land and water, and connect more people with nature.

The congress is organized by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) – the world’s oldest and largest environmental organization. It is expected to draw 5,000 park and nature conservation experts from governments, industry, indigenous peoples and NGOs, making it the largest-ever gathering on protected areas. The Congress is regarded as a key opportunity each decade to advance thinking on creating and managing a global network of parks and protected areas to conserve nature and its life-sustaining services to people.

“CPAWS, as Canada’s only nationwide non-governmental organization dedicated solely to protecting our public land and water, is proud to be sending such a strong contingent to the Congress. We’re also very excited by the opportunity to learn new ideas from our peers that we can bring back to Canada to help advance our work here,” says Alison Woodley, national director of CPAWS’ parks program.

CPAWS presenters will be appearing alongside indigenous leaders with whom they are working to gain large new terrestrial and marine protected areas in Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia. They will also be speaking about innovative efforts in Canada to connect more people to our natural world, particularly youth, and about the state of research on best practices in connecting people to nature through our parks.

Additionally, CPAWS will be helping to showcase the “Nature Needs HalfTM” movement at the Congress by co-hosting an event with two other movement co-founders – the WILD Foundation and the Zoological Society of London.

CPAWS was the first national organization to formally adopt the goal of protecting at least half of nature, and is proud to be showcasing its work to protect large areas of Canada’s landscape with partners such as the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation. In addition to giving a presentation on North American Indigenous People and Protected Areas, Steven Nitah, representing the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, will be speaking at the Nature Needs Half event about Thaidene Nene, a proposed large new protected area in the Northwest Territories in which CPAWS is engaged.

Members of the CPAWS’ delegation attending the World Parks Congress are:

  • Alison Woodley, National Director, Parks Program – co-presenting with Dr. Pamela Wright of the University of Northern British Columbia, the results of a research report on "building a culture of conservation". Woodley is also lead organizer of the “Nature Needs HalfTM” event on behalf of CPAWS.
  • Sabine Jessen, National Director, Oceans Program – speaking on an expert panel on marine protected areas as tools for food security.
  • Patrick Nadeau, Executive Director, CPAWS Quebec chapter – co-presenting with Deputy Grand Chief Rodney Mark, Grand Council of the Cree, on conservation planning in Eeyou Istchee, northern Quebec.
  • Ron Thiessen, Executive Director, CPAWS Manitoba – co-presenting with Fisher River Cree Nation Chief David Crate on collaborative park establishment work, and separately, on CPAWS’ work with forestry companies and first nations to develop new protected areas through the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.
  • Anne-Marie Syslak, Executive Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta chapter – presenting the award-winning, curriculum-based nature conservation education program she helped to develop.
  • Elyse Curley, Former CPAWS British Columbia staff member – presenting the innovative “Get Outside” program she co-created to mentor young nature experience leaders.

While in Sydney, CPAWS delegates will be posting daily updates from the Congress between November 12th and 19th. Follow them and learn more on our World Parks Congress Page.


For interviews, contact:
Ellen Adelberg, or Karen Turner,