Wendy Francis has been involved with Y2Y since its inception, and she has advanced the vision through many different capacities and roles, including Program Director, Interim President and Board Chair.
Currently acting as a Senior Advisor for Y2Y, Wendy has spent most of her career advocating for wilderness and wildlife. Her love of nature was nurtured during her childhood in Ontario, where all weekends and summer holidays were spent outside in neighborhood woods or at the family cottage near Algonquin Provincial Park.
Wendy cut her teeth on conservation issues as a volunteer with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) in Calgary, participating in successful public campaigns to oppose development in Banff National Park. In 1991, then-Premier Ralph Klein appointed Wendy to a review panel that led to strengthening the province’s environmental protection legislation. In 1996, she decided to make her career in conservation, going on to help protect southern Alberta’s Whaleback region, create Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, and secure provincial park protection for Kananaskis Country. She later helped to create a new Endangered Species Act for Ontario and was a key member of the project that launched the Canadian Boreal Initiative and led to Ontario’s commitment to protect 50 per cent of its northern boreal forest.
Educated in biology and environmental law, Wendy was the founding conservation director for CPAWS in Calgary, director of conservation science for Ontario Nature in Toronto, and was program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative for several years. In 2012, she received both a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and Wilburforce Foundation’s Conservation Leadership Award for her efforts.
Wendy spends as much time as possible in the natural world – hiking, backpacking and cross-country skiing. She lives in Gibsons, BC.