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Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Cipryk

Posted on May 2, 2022

Volunteers are at the core of FortWhyte Alive. They make magic happen.

Working behind the scenes as a fundraising committee volunteer for over 30 years, Nancy Cipryk has been instrumental in expanding FortWhyte Alive’s community of support.

Her passion for FortWhyte Alive and environment education is contagious and inspires others to take a hands-on approach to philanthropy.

How did you hear about volunteering with us and what made you want to start?

It has been an honor to work at FortWhyte all these years. I have done a lot of volunteer work for different places. The cause is important, but it’s the people

After my great Aunt donated funds for the Interpretive Centre aquarium, Bill Elliott called my Mom and asked her to cut the ribbon, as my Aunt had just passed away. My mom was down south for the winter, I was 20 years old, and my Mom told me to “get a suit and go and cut the ribbon” and I did! Me and Graeme Sifton! That was my first introduction. I was hooked. Got an invite for the Sunset BBQ, I think it was close to one of the first ones. I got to know Maureen Krauss who is the most lovely person and she reached out after and said I looked like I had fun and she asked if I would like to join the committee. I said sure and there we went on our journey! 

Here we are, 30 years later.

I really love the people, I loved working with Bill and the committee. The committee has had turnover and you always get to meet new people. I can’t walk away from FWA, I love what they do. When the girls were first born we went there. My favorite thing is Santa in the Forest. We still go to Santa in the Forest and the girls are going to be 16 and 14 this year! Time flies.


What has been your favourite part of volunteering at FortWhyte?

Sunset BBQ committee for about 30 years. 

I was on the board for years, did a 3 year term twice, which was great. I miss being on the board, it was a great time there was so much going on.

I was on the board with Joan Richardson and she spearheaded a program between Balmoral Hall and FWA where kids spend a week in an outdoor classroom. My girls were one of the first ones to do it and they just loved it. I remember talking to the teachers, grade 3 and the teachers were freaking out they were going to lose a kid, “how are we going to keep track of everyone?” and I remembered seeing them come back and they said “oh my god we loved it out there and the kids had a great time”. 

I can’t think of too many places in the world who have that. I remember Bill saying people would call from all over the world asking “how do you do that and how can we do it here?” It is a real gem for Winnipeg and to have the donors in the city that support it and keep it going. It is education for everyone, not just kids.

It truly is unbelievable out there. We are so lucky to have something like FWA in the middle of our city.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering at FWA?

FortWhyte is based on nature and people who love nature and animals and you will never find a nicer group of people. You really won’t! Now my goal is to get the next generations involved and organizing. That is why I am thrilled so many new young committee members have joined Sunset BBQ.  

It is such a lovely group of people. If you can’t connect with the people then it’s hard to volunteer your time. When it’s a happy place, it’s easy. I love it there. I love everything about it.

I am grateful FWA is here and teaching my children. They need to learn about composting, the environment and how to save this beautiful planet.

Thank you, Nancy for everything you do. You make magic happen


FortWhyte Alive’s annual Sunset BBQ is an unforgettable evening of lakeside views and delicious food in support of environmental education – thoughtfully planned by a committed group of passionate volunteers.

Want to learn more about the Sunset BBQ or learn how to get involved?

Learn more at