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Nature Conservancy of Canada welcomes new leader in Atlantic region

Kelly Cain, a former senior public servant, has become the third regional vice-president of the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the Atlantic provinces, the not-for-profit charity announced Wednesday.
Kelly Cain, a former senior public servant, has become the third regional vice-president of the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the Atlantic provinces, the not-for-profit charity announced Wednesday. - Contributed

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has a new leader in the Atlantic region. 

Kelly Cain, a former senior public servant, has become the third regional vice-president of NCC in the Atlantic provinces, the not-for-profit charity announced Wednesday. 

In a news release, Cain stated she's “very excited and privileged to join the NCC team.” 

Cain, who grew up on a potato farm in Knoxford, N.B., has 35 years of management experience in Atlantic Canada.  

She was a deputy minister in the Government of New Brunswick's departments of Intergovernmental Affairs, Human Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as Tourism, Heritage and Culture. 

Cain was also the CEO of the Greater Moncton YMCA, director of tourism and events with the City of Moncton, co-ordinator of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership on P.E.I. and spent seven years as a program co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Department of Tourism and Parks.

Cain and her husband, Darren Craswell, have made a donation to NCC, which will go toward conserving nature “in recognition of the region’s chief medical officers of health and their roles during COVID-19.” 

Cain commended Dr. Jennifer Russell in New Brunswick, Dr. Robert Strang in Nova Scotia, Dr. Heather Morrison in Prince Edward Island and Dr. Janice Fitzgerald in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“These individuals, their colleagues and front-line workers have done a phenomenal job, and their calm direction and leadership has comforted and guided us since last March,” she said. 

“During this pandemic, we’ve realized the importance of the outdoors and nature to our own physical and mental well-being. People trying to cope with the stress, anxiety and restrictions are increasingly finding relief in nature. Exploring our nature reserves, trails, forests and lakes has a restorative effect on our mental health. As we nurture our own wellness, we must also invest in nature to nurture it.”

A recent Ipsos poll conducted for NCC found that 94 per cent of Canadians acknowledge that nature is helping them relieve stress or anxiety, while 86 per cent of Canadians polled agree that spending time in nature is important to their mental health during the pandemic. 

Cain will be succeeding John Foley, who retired after 24 years with NCC in Atlantic Canada. 

During Foley's tenure, over 400 conservation projects were achieved with the help of landowners and supporters. He said he’s most proud of the team he helped build in the Atlantic region, from just two people when he started, to the current staff of 24.

Foley also praised Atlantic Canadians for their vision in “wanting to entrust their lands, volunteering and giving monetarily to help NCC protect environmentally significant areas.”

Kevin McNamara, chair of NCC’s Atlantic regional board, said the organization is “very pleased” to welcome Cain to the organization and thanked Foley for his contributions and years of service.  

NCC is a not-for-profit, private land conservation organization that works to protect important natural areas and the species they sustain in Canada. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to conserve 14 million hectares, coast to coast to coast, including over 32,979 hectares in Atlantic Canada. 

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