A Passion for Nature and Getting Kids Outside: Meet Mira Oberman

June 28, 2024

Introducing the team at CPAWS Manitoba

Mira provided strategic direction for our campaigns with a focus on how communications tools can target specific audiences to achieve broader objectives. She developed the Nature Club and Outdoor Education Program and provides oversight and strategic direction for our community engagement efforts.  Mira was responsible for media relations and all public-facing communications. She was also a key member of the chapter’s donor stewardship and development team.

Mira has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and communications. A creative storyteller and strategic thinker, Mira began working with CPAWS Manitoba as a consultant in April 2018 and joined as staff in January 2019.

Prior to joining CPAWS, Mira served as a senior communications manager for the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Among her many responsibilities, Mira was charged with developing and implementing a communications strategy for the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). Mira significantly expanded audience and engagement metrics after redesigning the IGF website in just seven weeks.

Mira’s journalism career spanned eight newsrooms in Canada, the United States and France. As a Chicago-based correspondent for Agence-France Presse, Mira was responsible for managing news out of 16 states. She covered pretty much anything interesting which happened in the central time zone, including the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and the collapse and revitalization of the US auto industry.

Mira and the CPAWS Conservation team in Churchill in June 2024. (Right to left) Neil Bailey, Ron Thiessen, Mira Oberman, Claire Woodbury, and David Swan.

Stepping Down

After more than six years of working to Keep Manitoba Wild, Mira Oberman stepped down from her role as Director of Communications and Public Programs at CPAWS Manitoba in June 2024. She left behind a cool t-shirt design, some incredible memories and a massive stack of postcards signed in support of conservation campaigns.  

Q+A with Director of Communications and Public Programs Mira Oberman

  1. What Was Your Role with CPAWS Manitoba?

The core function of my role as Director of Communications and Public Programs was to advance conservation campaigns by engaging the general public, rights holders, stakeholders, partner organizations and the government. 

There are a lot of ways to do that. So one day I would be designing a new postcard for people to sign at our Keep Manitoba Wild outreach tents or crafting a new call-to-action social media campaign. Another day I’d draft a briefing note and policy paper ahead of a meeting at the legislature. Then I’d take a break from my computer and talk to CBC about our Nature Club activities before wrapping up a merch guide for our Indigenous partner. 

Our public programs were born out of the stress of the pandemic. My twins were in kindergarten when schools shut down. Getting outside kept us sane. And I wanted to share that with other people. 

We started offering webinars to help people explore nature at a safe social distance in January 2021. We also got to work on an outdoor education program to help parents navigate home learning and help teachers get their students outside. Pretty much as soon as public gatherings were allowed again – with a cap of 25 people outside – we started offering classes in the park and free group hikes to help people get outside and feel like part of a community again.

Since then, more than 20,000 people have registered for Nature Club programs and nearly 18,000 children have participated in our Outdoor Education programs.  

  1. What Do You Hope to Achieve with Your Work?

When I was a kid we used to have to stop at a gas station to clean all the dead bugs off our windshield on country drives. That doesn’t happen anymore. Not in southern Manitoba at least. 

We need to protect nature for a lot of reasons. Trees clean the air we breathe. Healthy forests, wetlands and peatlands clean the water we drink. I also believe we have a moral obligation to care for the Earth and for the creatures we share it with, including the generations yet to come. 

Thanks to the tens of thousands of Manitobans who have supported our campaigns, we now live in a province where the government has committed to working with Indigenous communities to protect 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. This is an incredibly ambitious target, but I believe we can get there if we stay focused and work together. 

  1. Favourite part of your job?

GAH! There are too many good things about working for CPAWS. It’s hard to pick a favourite. I have fantastic colleagues who make me laugh and have taught me so much over the years. The work is meaningful, incredibly rewarding and really interesting. I’ve got a boss who makes space for his staff to take initiative, try new things and feel a sense of ownership over their work.  

CPAWS Staff Mira Oberman & Neil Bailey at Earth Day at the legislature in April 2024

There is one experience that will stay with me forever. We were invited by Sayisi Dene First Nation to spend a week camping near Tadoule Lake as part of our Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program. The beauty of the eskers, the sounds of a crystal clean lake lapping on the beach, the spectacular aurora and stars in a truly dark sky… amazing. But what was truly life-changing was the gift of sharing stories and experiences with elders, youth and other community members. 

I’d been working with Ernie Bussidor on his Nation’s quest to protect the entire 50,000 square kilometre watershed for about a year at that point. Sharing a campfire with his community, tasting the fish he caught in a net, boating across the lake to a cabin Ernie built with his hands… it helped me understand at a deeper level how fundamentally important it was to not only conserve those lands and waters, but to do so in a way that respects and supports Indigenous knowledge and culture. 

  1. What Inspires You to Be an Advocate for Nature?

Nature is my happy place. Sure, I enjoy a good restaurant, a great concert or even a hockey game. But I am drawn to the wilderness. I breathe differently when I’m hiking in the woods or sitting next to a lake. The sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind are like a sponge that absorb stress. 

I’m an advocate verging on an evangelist for spending time in nature because there is some pretty cool science to back up what we already know: there are an endless number of health and wellness benefits to spending time outside.

Mira leading our Beaudry Park group hike in Sept 2021.

Fast Facts:

How would you describe yourself in 5 words? Mom. Intellectual. Environmentalist. Storyteller. Warm.

My favourite outdoor activity: is Hiking!

My favourite Manitoba Vacation spot: The Whiteshell

My favourite Provincial Park: Beaudry (and the Whiteshell)

My favourite Winnipeg Park: Assiniboine Forest.

My favourite nature book: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Help Keep Manitoba Wild


CPAWS Manitoba has helped establish 23 parks and protected areas thanks to people like you.

With your help, we can protect half our lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife.