Community Conservation Lead for Nature United
Claire Hutton Community Conservation Lead for Nature United © Melody Charlie

Our People

Claire Hutton

Indigenous Stewardship Director

Canada

  • Areas of Expertise

    stewardship, community outreach, strategy

Biography

Claire Hutton is a Community Conservation and Leadership Advisor for Nature United based in Victoria, British Columbia. Claire has worked with Indigenous communities in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest for over a decade to support the authority of Indigenous peoples to steward their lands and waters. She oversees Nature United's Indigenous Stewardship Strategy, and prior to joining Nature United, she was the coordinator of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network with the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative.

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How would you describe Nature United’s approach?

We believe there is a different way to do conservation. We work in partnership with Indigenous peoples to achieve lasting outcomes for both people and nature. To do this, we need to be creative and flexible in building new pathways and approaches to support Indigenous-led conservation, and to make sure we show up as a respectful partner.

What have you learned over the last decade? 

Through our direct experience at Nature United, we have seen that when Indigenous Nations have the authority to make decisions about managing lands and waters, it has led to more durable conservation outcomes, healthier ecosystems over time, and stronger communities. Projects like the decade-long partnership with the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, prove just that; Working together to build strong relationships is at at the heart of long-lasting conservation and being a respectful partner. 

What did you do before joining Nature United? 

My background is in biology and community development. I feel privileged to have worked in various capacities to support Indigenous peoples who are leading the way in taking care of their territories, including working with Nations to establish the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network, which was one of the first networks of Indigenous Guardians in Canada. 

What makes Nature United’s approach effective? 

If we had to choose a single way to define Nature United’s approach, it would be our commitment to learning. In our work over the last decade, we have learned much and made mistakes along the way. Our practice as a conservation organization is adaptive and evolving! I feel proud of the work we are doing as Nature United. We are reimagining conservation by putting Indigenous rights and authority at the heart of our approach, and charting a new path that is based on listening to and partnering with Indigenous peoples. 

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