Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Canada’s Next David Suzuki in Local School?

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Mike McPhail
February 20, 2005

Canada’s Next David Suzuki in Local School?

Andrea Howard with TarantulaAttendees at Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s 5th lecture on Biodiversity on Feb. 17, were awed by the shear magnitude and quality of educational material’s and teaching techniques that Andrea Howard, from the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum in Kemptville and speaker for the evening, incorporates into the ” Museum in a Suitcase Program”. This exciting interactive, and hands on program brings environmental education into the classrooms of our local schools.

Introduced by MVFN host Janine deSalaberry, Andrea Howard explained many people believe that our relationship with nature is forged in childhood. This was certainly the case with David Suzuki, who developed a real love of nature through father-son camping and fishing trips. Programmes such as Andrea Howard’s bring that outdoor environmental experience right into the children’s world of the classroom.

Could one of our own local children become a leading environmentalist & educator like Canadian David Suzuki? That is certainly a dream and aspiration shared by both Andrea Howard and the MVFN who, through it’s granting programme, help to fund local environmental education initiatives like the “Museum in a Suitcase Program”.

Ms. Howard showed how the programme starts by presenting our children with the known natural world knowledge building blocks and then encouraging them to question the infinity of existing scientific knowledge. Equally important she pointed out is to convey to them that they can play an important role in the world and that each generation has a responsibility to aspire to do a better job than the previous one in our important role of stewards of the land.

Children have much to teach us about maintaining a sense of wonder and respect for the natural world, said Howard. “Listening to them may help us regain the perspective we often lose in the bustle and din of our artificial urban environment. Take the time to incorporate outdoor family recreation into your busy schedules because time spent in the outdoors forges lifelong relationships with nature.”

At the end of her talk, Andrea was joined by MVFN member Franziska von Rosen of Pinegrove productions and presented MVFN with a peak of selected footage of “Our Incredible World”; a dramatic and multimedia resource series on biodiversity based on the pan-Canadian Life Sciences curriculum.

Mark your calendars for MVFN’s 6th Biodiversity lecture entitled “Lichens: an overlooked and threatened aspect of biodiversity,” by Dr I. Brodo of the Canadian Museum of Nature, to be held on Thursday March 17th at the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. at 7:30 pm. If you are not yet a member of the MVFN, this may be a good time to join. For further information, please contact MVFN Programme Chair Tine Kuiper, 256-8241 or consult our web site: www.mvfn.ca