Canada celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity - Thursday, May 22nd, 2003
Canada celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity, May 22nd by organizing an event at the Canadian Museum of Nature(CMN) http://www.nature.ca/
which included presentations and exhibits from various federal departments.
This year, the theme for Biodiversity Day established by the CBD Secretariat was "Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation: Challenges for Sustainable Development". Carole Lemay from the Biodiversity Convention Office (BCO) of Environment Canada made a presentation on "The Equator Initiative" and highlighted the importance of biodiversity conservation for sustainable community livelihoods.
BCO's booth attracted the attention of many visitors who showed a keen interest in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, and the Canadian Biodiversity Information Network. Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) had an interactive exhibit including a poster game called: "Identify these Seeds" and had 12 varieties of potatoes on display. Henri Goulet from AAFC made a presentation on "Biocontrol and its Relation to our Food Sources".
Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service 's exhibit focused on the role of biodiversity in non-timber forest products for local and Aboriginal communities. Their expert on non-timber forest products, Bradley Henry, also a non-timber forest product producer, had wild garlic, cranberries, mushrooms and fresh Canadian maple syrup for visitors to sample.
The Canadian Forestry Association's teaching kits on forest biodiversity were available to the teachers of the school groups present at the museum.
Jean Lauriault from the CMN made a presentation on "Building Capacity in Developing Countries" and discussed workshops and consultations he offered in developing countries on the importance of biodiversity conservation. The CMN booth exhibited local varieties of rice and various tools used for the preparation of food in various countries
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans focused their exhibit on the impact of invasive species to local biodiversity, and used the sea lamprey in the Great Lakes as an example.
Also present at the Biodiversity Day Exhibition was the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum whose exhibit focused on "The Secret Life of the Forest”. Overall, the event was a huge success! There were over 1000 students in school groups from grades 5 to 8 who showed a high level of enthusiasm and interest in learning about biodiversity.
In addition to the event at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC, celebrated Biodiversity Day in Saskatoon by inviting 8 classes from Saskatoon to visit their Research Centre to learn about biodiversity and conserving plant germplasm. About 250 students and 20 adults from five schools from grades 3 to 8 participated in the event. Each tour through PGRC lasted about one hour. Professional and technical staff explained to the students the importance of biodiversity on a world basis and in Canada, what Canada was doing about conserving biodiversity, how plant germplasm was conserved, the importance of viability testing germplasm, how germplasm was increased in the greenhouse and field and how genetic variation studies at the DNA level were conducted.
Teachers for each classroom were given PGRC bulletins and an Identify the Seed poster game, Biodiversity Day posters, bulletins and general information about AAFC research from the Ag in the Classroom program. Each student received a bur oak seedling compliments of SaskPower.
The days were very busy and well received.