Keynote Speakers

These three world-renowned captivating personalities will surely inspire the participants in the event.

Florence Williams

Your Brain on Nature: how being outside makes us happier, healthier and more creative

Florence Williams, nationally acclaimed environmental journalist, will present the latest evidence on the science behind why nature is good for us, from cognition to mental health. She incorporates reporting and research from around the world, from Japan to Scotland to Singapore to Utah, for insights into how being nature changes our brains and physiologies. What constitutes exposure to nature? What is the dose for optimal benefit and how are doctors and patients medicalizing time in parks? What are the symptoms of a nature deficit and how can our cities and town become more biophilic and nature-health focused?


Florence Williams is a journalist and the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier and More Creative (W.W. Norton, 2017). She is a contributing editor at Outside Magazine and she wrote and hosted Outside's podcast series, The XX Factor. Her new six-part Audible Original series based on The Nature Fix, The 3-Day Effect, won a 2019 Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. A fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature and a visiting scholar at George Washington University, her work focuses on the environment, health and science. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Environmental Issues and Challenges of Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic: An Enlightening Interconnection

"We must now speak environment, economy, foreign policy, health and human rights in the same breath," says Sheila Watt-Cloutier. In this truly globe-spanning talk, Watt-Cloutier provides a clear, meaningful, and comprehensive understanding of the way these issues are interconnected, and what it means for the future of our planet. With a focus on solutions, she brings the realities of the Arctic―where Inuit today face profound challenges to their environment, their economy, their health and their cultural well-being―to light. Because her Inuit culture faces the most extreme challenges of globalization, Watt-Cloutier speaks from firsthand experience, and couples that with her extensive experiences as a global leader.


In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in showing the impact of global climate change on human rights — especially in the Arctic, where it is felt more immediately, and more dramatically, than anywhere else in the world. Watt-Cloutier is an Officer of the Order of Canada; the recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award; the UN Champion of the Earth Award; the Norwegian Sophie Prize; and the Right Livelihood Award, which she won in November, 2015 and is widely considered the “Nobel Alternative”. From 1995-2002, she was elected the Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). She was later elected in 2002 to become the International Chair of the ICC, representing the 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Russia — she held this post until 2006.

Alan Latourelle

Facing Challenges and Opportunities for Parks with Leadership

Based on his extensive leadership experience in Park Management Nationally and Internationally, Alan will share with participants his views on the challenges and opportunities facing Park Managers and the leadership required to ensure the long term success of Park programs in Canada.


As Chief Executive Officer, Alan oversaw one of the Parks Canada Agency's most significant National Park expansions in the organization's century of operations. The land area managed by Parks Canada was increased by 30 percent through establishment of 10 National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas. He has also made it his personal mission to establish Parks Canada as an international leader in working collaboratively with indigenous peoples and the tourism industry. He lead the implementation of the most significant ecological restoration program in the organization's history, the establishment of Canada's first National Urban Park in the Rouge Valley of the Greater Toronto Area, and the Agency's unwavering drive to connect youth and new Canadians to nature.