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Kids, Space and Species: Leading the Way in Wildlife Conservation

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Ottawa, October 9, 2001 - The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources and the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Environment.

The Space for Species project, first piloted in the 2000-2001 academic year, is the result of a partnership between the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Canada's Canada Centre for Remote Sensing.

"Our goal is to use space-based technology to connect students with their environment and with each other," said Marlene Catterall. "Whether following a leatherback turtle as it searches for jellyfish prey or tracking a pregnant polar bear as she searches for a denning site, students become actively engaged in the struggle of these special animals."

Participating classrooms study up to four species at risk in Canada: leatherback turtle (endangered), polar bear (special concern or vulnerable), caribou (endangered, threatened and declining populations), and eider duck (declining). Students engage in tasks that include monitoring the complete migratory cycle of the animals on-line and learning about the threats to their existence. "Thanks to the consortium of partners supporting the Space for Species project, students from coast to coast to coast will have access to the most advanced space technologies in support of a unique learning opportunity," stated Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk. "The cooperation of key Canadian wildlife biologists generated a lot of interest and helped students share in the excitement of real life science - setting research objectives, deciding on methodology, and collecting and interpreting data."

The core of the Space for Species project is its Website at www.spaceforspecies.ca where students have access to images from Canada's world-renowned RADARSAT-1 Earth observation satellite and location data from the Argos satellite. Students from Riverview Alternative School in Ottawa today guided special guests at the Canada and the World Pavilion through the Space for Species website. "I am just thrilled to be able to offer my students a web-based project that encourages experiential learning and provides the students with access to space-based technology and the opportunity to raise their questions with scientists and astronauts," commented Mrs. Christine McLaughlin, one of the teachers in attendance.

In addition to the ongoing support of the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Canada's Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, the Space for Species project is made possible through the generous financial support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Canadian Pacific, DuPont Canada, Rolls-Royce, Husky Oil, Cargill Limited, George Weston Limited, and RADARSAT International. The participation of biologists from Dalhousie University, Government of Northwest Territories, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Service-Prairie and Northern Region, is also gratefully acknowledged.

"The Canadian Wildlife Federation is delighted to be working with each of the private and public sector partners and sponsors involved in this project," commented Mr. Colin Maxwell, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. "By exposing school children to the science behind the effort to protect endangered animals and giving them a new perspective about their world, we hope to instil in them a life-long desire to protect these species."

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For more information:

Media Relations Office
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: 450-926-4370
Fax: 450-926-4352

Michel Cléroux
Media Relations
Environment Canada
Telephone: 819-953-4016

Communications Coordinator
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
Natural Resources Canada
Telephone: 613-996-2648
Fax: 613-996-9843

Sandy Baumgartner
Manager, Programs and Communications
Canadian Wildlife Federation
Telephone: 1-800-563-9453

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