Deirdre Laframboise is an Olympic qualified athlete who combined her love of sports and environmental education to form a dynamic national charity improving the lives of thousands of young people.
Born and raised on a horse farm near the Gatineau hills just outside of Ottawa, Deirdre discovered her love for nature and competitive equestrian events at an early age. Her desire to study natural sciences drew her to the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, where she continued to ride competitively while completing her BES.
Deirdre was a member of the Canadian National Equestrian Team for four years and served as its national athlete representative for a decade. In 1988 she qualified for the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, but decided not to compete, out of concern for her 16 year old arthritic horse.
In 1992 Deirdre returned to school, earning a Masters in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Business from York University. Post-MES Laframboise fused her academic foundation in the environment, understanding of business, and experience as an athlete to launch a consulting venture in the expanding realm of corporate social responsibility.
In 2001 Deirdre teamed up with Canadian rower Anna van der Kamp and author David Chernushenko (Greening the Games) to form Clean Air Champions (CAC), an organization committed to educating Canadians on the importance of air quality and its connection to health and the environment. Using Olympic and other high-caliber athletes as champions, CAC has become the only organization in Canada delivering bilingual curriculum-connected environmental education programs linking health, environment and physical activity. Today CAC has affiliates in several provinces, a roster of over 200 Champion athletes, and three unique, interactive, curriculum-connected programs. They have reached over 155,000 youth directly and over 25 million Canadians via media and broadcast.
Amongst her many accomplishments, Deirdre served ten years on the Canadian Olympic Committee as both Executive Member and as a member of the Athletes Advisory Council. She was part of the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid Athlete Advisory Committee and a Torchbearer for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. She is a two-time trainee of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps program and a member of both the CSA Technical Committee on Sustainable Events and the Sandbox Environment Working Group and Committee.
In 2013/14 CAC will be expanding its programs to include outreach for healthy living in the workplace and water. These new themes will incorporate the complete story of how air, climate, water and soil are interconnected to one another, to our health and to our well-being.
Deirdre has been nominated for the 2013 Faculty of Environment Alumni Achievement Awards.