The Second International Youth Symposium for Biodiversity, saw 100 students (Grade 6 to 12) and their chaperones gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate Youth Initiatives in Biodiversity. The Symposium was organized by BiodiversityMatters, with partners St-Laurent Academy, Convention on Biological Diversity, HabitatNet, and the Canadian Museum of Nature. The Macoun Marsh Project, an award-winning youth biodiversity project of St-Laurent Academy, hosted the event, July 5-9, 2009.
The focus of the Second International Youth Symposium on Biodiversity was:
to celebrate and share the work they are doing at home regarding local biodiversity efforts.
to experience Canadian biodiversity with a full scale Bio-Blitz (A Biological Survey with local scientists and naturalists) to develop methods to implement the Global Youth's Accord for Biodiversity that was created by nine (9) nations during the First Youth Symposium in Mexico in 2005.
To foster youth engagement activities to enhance their understanding of global stewardship, and a shared sense of understanding and commitment to the global community through acting locally and thinking globally.
Under USAID assistance, the purpose of this project of the students of the Albanian Colleges is to assist national and international institutions in taking biodiversity considerations into account and its particular importance into conserving “Global Biodiversity”.
BARBADOS (UNESCO) Youth PATH
To establish the 1st Barbados’ system of protected areas (Pas) and the first National Park.
UNESCO Youth PATH will spearhead the tree planting exercise.
BOLIVIA- (PRODII) With USC Canada
PRODII’s focus is on building farmers’ ability to conserve biodiversity, and use the increased biodiversity to increase farm incomes. The goal: to help farmers reclaim their environmental and cultural heritage, moving beyond subsistence agriculture towards ecologically sustainable farming that earns higher incomes and reduces hunger.
Great Ape Conservation Project (African Center for Research, Development and Climate Change) Our project is a youth service learning project. We bring together kids from our network of environmental clubs to go into the communities and offer a service to nature. We do this by mobilizing communities to take action in preventing the great ape extinction.
CANADA- E-POWER Youth Conference – Halton Hills, Ontario
On February 18, 2009 we planned a Youth Conference for approximately 200 student delegates from Grades 6 to 12. The focus on Biological Diversity was selected to engage our youth environmental leaders on the many ways to help support the 2010 international target to stop the loss of Biodiversity.
CANADA (Macoun Marsh Biodiversity Project- Ottawa)
On the grounds of Beechwood Cemetery, there exists a small wetland called the Macoun Marsh. Michael Léveillé, a science teacher at the nearby St-Laurent Academy and a group of local environmentalists and educators approached The Beechwood Cemetery Foundation to protect and preserve the biodiversity of the Marsh, to enable school children and the public to appreciate and learn from the environment. Jean Vanier Catholic School students have also been active partners in the project in recent years.
CANADA (St. Mark Catholic High School (S.A.V.E.) Students Against Violating Earth)
At St. Mark, S.A.V.E. has begun planning the Mosquito Creek/Rideau River rehabilitation project. By using plants that are native to our area, students will construct a wetland that will provide our school with an area for field studies. Our objective is to filter and purify runoff water that flows from our school, and into Mosquito Creek, eventually reaching the Rideau River.
CANADA (Provincial Envirothon competition)
ONTARIO- Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network (Provincial Envirothon competition) WINNER TO BE DETERMINED
CANADA (CISV – EcoGroup- Saint John River Valley)
Our project is about sustaining biodiversity and creating awareness. We are making a difference to the biodiversity in our ecosystem by helping to re-establish the bur oak tree to its natural habitat in the Saint John River Valley.
HONDURAS (FIPAH)- With USC Canada
FIPAH is a nonprofit organization that works in four regions of Honduras, facilitating participatory farmer research that helps to break the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation by breeding new plant varieties and developing new techniques to suit the unique environments in which the farmers live and grow their crops.
INDIA- Forest sanctuary called Aranya in South India
We are three students – Smiti, Shrishti, and Maya – studying in two high schools located in the International township of Auroville in South India. We are keen on sharing the study we are doing in a young forest sanctuary called Aranya, which is a part of Auroville. Our teacher/ leader is Priya Sundaravalli. While all three of us will be working together in Aranya, we would each like to focus on specific but related aspects of the ecosystem there, and present these findings individually.
JAPAN- Conserving Owls
We are protecting and breeding owls in our area. We send our research data to the Ministry of Environment. We also planted over 250 trees and we made birds houses for these owls.
MEXICO- Yucatan field site with HabitatNet in Mêxico
The overall goals of HabitatNet are to (1) develop conservation biological literacy in high school students by affording them an opportunity to learn field methods and applications while collecting and interpreting biological diversity data and (2) establish baseline biological diversity data for HabitatNet / SIMAB field sites.
MEXICO- Lemuel Mena Vega
Sea turtle work / research from the Yucatan field site (Presenter)
U.S.A. - RESERVOIR RECOVERY STUDY- NEBRASKA
Within ten miles of Spalding, NE two local man-made reservoirs have been refurbished after serving as popular recreation sites for more than half a century. Both reservoirs were drained and dredged due to sediment build up, which was affecting the fish populations. Students have been documenting the difference in regeneration and environmental changes of these two water systems.
U.S.A. - CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO – ZOO CREW
Zoo Crew teen volunteers assist in the Education Division of the zoo by actively participating in various conservation projects and interpreting. The program focuses on conservation and encourages teens to learn responsibility, develop job and career skills and grow in their personal conservation ethic. One local initiative is called “Replant and Rebuild.”
U.S.A. - RHODE ISLAND- Dan Bisaccio (HabitatNet/ Brown University)
Dan is the founder of the First International Youth Symposium for Biodiversity that was held in Mexico in 2005. Our Youth Accord was created during that gathering.
Keynote Speakers/ VIP Guests
Thank you to the following speakers and special guests:
Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) An Algerian national, Dr. Djoghlaf has pursued a distinguished diplomatic career that has included postings with the government of Algeria and UNEP.
Ms. Ulrika Nilsson , Biosafety- Associate Public Information Officer, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Ms. Jaime Webbe, Programme Officer, Dry and Sub-Humid Lands, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Honourable Donna Cansfield, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources
Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Revenue
Dr. Robert Anderson Entomologist, Canadian Museum of Nature
Paul “Little Ray” Goulet, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
Helen Mertz, First Nations Representative, a member of Wikwemikong First Nation is currently a part time professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.
Bonnie James (Manager, Policy and Outreach, Environment Canada/ Ecosystems and Biodiversity Priorities) Bonnie will be joining us at our opening event.
July 4, 2009: OPENING DINNER
Master Of Ceremonies, Dr. Gracia-Garza
Dr. Gracia-Garza is currently the Director General, Science and Technology (S&T) Strategies at Environment Canada where he is responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Minister of the Environment, Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers of Environment Canada on S&T strategic issues of the department and federal community. He also ensures strong links between the science and policy communities within and outside the department; provides support to the S&T Branch by communicating and promoting the results of its S&T efforts; provides expert advice on current and emerging environmental technological innovations and, oversees the management of environmental arm-length organizations. Previously, Dr. Gracia-Garza was the Senior Advisor on domestic S&T policy issues to the National Science Advisor to the Government of Canada (Privy Council Office/Industry Canada); Policy Director on the Ontario Federal Council (OFC) Secretariat and later Regional Director, Strategic Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, Ontario and Nunavut Region with Health Canada. He started his career in the Federal government as a scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).
Special presentations: Symposium Directors Michael Leveille and Dan Bisaccio “How the Macoun Marsh Project evolved into the Symposium?" Michael Leveille, Executive Director “Opening Remarks”, Dr. Ahmed Djoghaf (Executive Secretary- CBD), Yasir Naqui (MPP Ottawa Centre) "Youth Engagement at the local level to enhance sustainable living" Symposium Youth Board, Musical presentation by St-Laurent Academy and others, Aboriginal Experiences interactive dance presentation. The CISV Eco-Group from Fredericton, NB. made a lovely presentation on the Biodiversity in Atlantic Canada.
July 5, 2009- DAY 1
VISIT TO MACOUN MARSH & GATINEAU PARK
Visit to the host project site- Macoun Marsh Biodiversity Project with a biodiversity search.
Tree Planting event at The Macoun Marsh with special guest Helen Mertz, a member of Wikwemikong First Nation.
- Biodiversity Exhibit at St-Laurent Academy Campus.
- Lunch at Eardley Escarpment- Gatineau Park.
- Travel to new venue and explore area (YMCA-YWCA Dunrobin).
- Concurrent Biodiversity Presentations Session
- Species search activity, camp fires.
July 6, 2009- Day 2
YM/YWCA Camp Dunrobin/ CONSERVATION OF SPECIES – Dan Bisaccio / Brown University – HabitatNet
Session 1 (8:30 – 10:00) Introduction to Youth Accord 1
- Slide show and music Youth Accord 1 – Quintana Roo, Mexico.
- What, Why, Result, and Next Steps from Youth Accord 1 to Youth Accord 2 … a short talk by Dan.
- Setting the stage for “Making a Difference” … an activity (Handshake Transformations).
- Performance – “Sculpture Garden” (participant groups creating tableaus around concepts of ecology, conservation, and friendship).
- Natural Sculptures: Delegates will “create and install” – using only natural materials that will biodegrade over time to be recycled by our landscape – a tribute to our surroundings (Canada) of the biodiversity it affords and its’ connections to all of our home habitat.
Session 3 (1:30 – 2:30) “If I could change the world in a day ….”
- Reading Response Chain of Youth Accord 1.
- What would I tell world leaders …… (next steps).
+Geocaching/ +Movie Night
July 7, 2009- Day 3
BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE DAY- Let’s Talk Science Team
What is climate change and global warming and how do they relate to biodiversity?
- Atmosphere (chemistry related)
- Ground water (earth sciences related)
- Carbon cycle
- Benthic invertebrates (some experimenting and species identification)
- Scavenger hunt (finding specific species and briefly writing about their habitats and how they think climate change could affect the species)
- A role play activity where the effects of climate change will be modeled using the youth as an animal species
- summary of the day and chance to use recycled materials in an art work to express something learned or write a song or a skit
+Boat/ kayak/ Swimming activities with YMCA +Camp Fires
July 8, 2009- Day 4
SEEDS, SOILS AND SYSTEMS (ECO):
Why we need to start small and think big! With USC Canada
What is agricultural biodiversity and why do we need to support farmers who farm this way? How do farmers select the seeds that produce food and manage the soil that brings these seeds to life? Why do farmers always need to think about the broader ecosystem when they produce food? What are some of the threats to healthy food production systems? Participants will be given an opportunity to dig into these questions – with their hands, heads, and hearts- through interactive sessions on the link between seed security, soil and water conservation, and ecosystem management strategies.
July 8, 2009/ 5:00 pm - CLOSING EVENT
YMCA/YMCA Camp Dunrobin
- Bob Anderson (Canadian Museum of Nature Entomologist)
- E.O. Wilson Youth Conservation Award
- Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
- First Nations- Water ceremony
- “Speaker’s Corner”
- Close remarks
- Before dance element
- Dance party
Honourable Donna Cansfield (Ontario Minister of Natural Resources)
Cansfield is a tireless contributor to services for communities, families and, in particular, children. She was a school trustee for 15 years, president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, and vice-chair of the Toronto Foundation for Student Success. She also has national experience through her work as a board member for Learning for a Sustainable Future, director of Prime Mentors of Canada and as a past president of the Canadian School Board Association.
- David Suzuki
As politicians focus on voters for impending elections and corporate executives on the quarterly report, decisions are being made with consequences that reverberate well into the adult lives of today's youth. Yet young people don't vote and their future is seldom a part of political and corporate discussions. One consequence is declining quality of air, water, soil and biodiversity that we are leaving for coming generations. That's why youth are being informed and motivated about the important issues that will affect their lives.”