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Inspired by nature: creating a healthier future with Go Wild

By Andrea Goertz, Chief Sustainability Officer, TELUS

My window is open, for reprieve from the heat of a hot Prairie summer day that has lingered heavy into the night. I hear frogs croaking, ducks admonishing and coyotes howling as nightfall gives way to calm and contemplation. The sun sets with not a breath of a breeze as I drift to sleep listening to the masterpiece of nature. I am eight years old and tired but happy having spent the day outdoors with my brothers, fishing around our pond, mucking about swamps, working on our tree forts and competing for the ripest, juiciest wild strawberry, raspberry and blueberry finds.

Kananaskis © Andrea Goertz

Years later, I still sleep with my window open. I centre myself with the sounds, sights and completeness of nature. I share my love of the outdoors with my teenagers: traversing increasingly ambitious and rewarding hikes, such as Burgess Shale in Yoho or Crypt Lake in Waterton, skiing in Banff and biking in Kananaskis. We have rescued dragonflies, observed great blue herons, whooping cranes, black bears and marmots. We have volunteered our time to protect endangered sage grouse.

I have frequented our UNESCO Heritage sites, participated in rare archaeological digs and learned more about palaeontology than I ever aspired to. I have bundled up to lay quiet and still in a field on a chilly night to take in the majesty of our Northern Lights and unravelled to the rush of glacial white water in Kicking Horse’s Class 4 rapids. I have travelled far and wide throughout Canada, from west to east, and to our Far North. I have marvelled at nature on land, from mountaintops, in the sky and under water.

And as TELUS’s Chief Sustainability Officer, I bring my personal passion to work: I get to set the course of nature at TELUS.

Our team’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing our use of renewable energy and pledging to the highest standards of sustainable development is world-renowned. We are topping global rankings when it comes to conserving nature. Check out our track record and learn more about TELUS’ sustainability vision: “Inspired by nature: creating a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Waterton Lakes © Andrea Goertz

Waterton Lakes © Andrea Goertz

Our team has brought this vision to life through partnerships with organizations like WWF-Canada. In 2012, TELUS committed $1 million over four years to help WWF-Canada mobilize volunteers in grassroots rural and urban environmental projects. The Go Wild Community Grants program, in particular, provides micro grants that enable local groups to do amazing things to protect, revitalize and enhance natural habitats in their communities. This spring, the program helped the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre protect and release at-risk baby turtles into their natural habitat. Take a moment to watch this inspiring story.

 
We are actively looking for ways to partner with fellow Canadians who share our desire to reduce our environmental footprint and live more sustainably. Tell us how you will inspire your community to become more involved with nature and we will support the best ideas with a Go Wild Community Grant (ranging from $1,000 to $7,000). Submit your application by Sept. 23, 2016 for your chance to be selected.

Andrea’s sidebar: Grassroots efforts like the one I noticed recently in Kingston, Ont., can be incredibly impactful in preserving the province’s turtle species. Neighbourhoods contribute to education and conservation by posting signs in waterfront areas about the dos and don’ts of turtle safety.

Follow Andrea on Twitter @andrea_goertz

Turtle crossing