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June 2010 issue

Orcas are among the species profiled on “Return to the wild,” a new virtual exhibit.

Wild ways

Return to the Wild website
“Return to the wild” website
Did you know that sea otters float on their backs in groups called “rafts,” sometimes holding paws with fellow otters to avoid drifting apart? Embracing the notion of power in numbers, this is how they protect themselves against predators such as bald eagles and sharks. Peregrine falcons, for their part, are consummate creatures of habit, regularly returning to the same nesting sites. Falcon pairs have apparently used one site in England for more than 760 years!

This is but a glimpse of the intriguing wildlife facts featured in “Return to the wild,” a virtual exhibit profiling 24 aquatic, terrestrial and airborne animal species found throughout North America. Launched in June, the website was produced by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) with the support of the Canadian Heritage Information Network, as part of its Virtual Museum of Canada initiative to provide access to collections across the country through the internet.

“Return to the wild” also offers interactive maps and descriptions of six ecozones in Canada: Arctic, northwestern forest, desert, prairie, boreal forest and eastern forest. Each species profile is linked to a series of articles on that animal from Canadian Geographic’s archives, which give insight into the evolution of wildlife conservation in Canada over the past 80 years and underline the RCGS’s continued commitment to environmental stewardship. Visitors interested in a historical perspective on the cougar, for example, can click on a link to an October 1950 story entitled “The eastern panther is not extinct.”

In addition, 12 lesson plans, developed by the Canadian Council for Geographic Education and aimed at students in middle and secondary school, are available on the site.

Monique Roy-Sole



Watershed moment

Barbara Stymiest, Group Head, Strategy, Treasury and Corporate Services at the Royal Bank of Canada,at right, with Society President Gisèle Jacob
(Photo: David Barbour)
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is launching a bilingual multimedia initiative to encourage and help Canadians to protect watersheds.

The Society has received a Leadership Grant from the RBC Blue Water Project — a 10-year, $50-million grant program to support charitable endeavours that foster a culture of water stewardship in Canada and internationally.

“Access to clean water is probably the most important issue of our time,” says Barbara Stymiest, Group Head, Strategy, Treasury and Corporate Services at the Royal Bank of Canada. “The Blue Water Project is about partnering with organizations that are doing fabulous work in the area of watershed protection.”

The cornerstone of the Society’s project will be an interactive map that will enable users to learn about specific watersheds in Canada and to find information on getting involved in community conservation efforts through action guides for citizens and students.

The project will also include special issues of Canadian Geographic and its French-language sister publication Géographica in June 2011; a poster map; a thematic module on the Canadian Atlas Online; lesson plans for teachers; and a photo contest, to be announced in the upcoming July/August issue of Canadian Geographic.

Monique Roy-Sole

Wanted: green trailblazers

Award for Environmental Innovation
The Canadian Award for Environmental Innovation
(Photo: Doug Taylor)
Do you know someone who is committed to improving Canada’s environment? Has he or she blown you away with novel green initiatives?

The Canadian Award for Environmental Innovation, launched by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and 3M Canada in 2009, recognizes individuals in business, government, academia or community organizations who are actively contributing to the protection or restoration of the environment.

“The submissions received last year prove Canadians have an undeniable commitment to environmental issues,” says Chip Allan, 3M Canada’s executive director of community relations. “We hope this award helps recognize the people who share 3M’s innovative spirit through their important environmental initiatives, while encouraging others to be creative, get involved and make a difference.”

Last year’s inaugural winner, Sidney Ribaux, co-founded Équiterre, a Montréal-based social and environmental organization that has become one of the most influential in Quebec. Focusing on issues such as ecological agriculture and energy efficiency, Équiterre encourages citizens, businesses and governments to make environmentally responsible choices.

To nominate a candidate, visit The Canadian Award for Environmental Innovation website by Aug. 31, 2010. The award will be presented at the Society’s College of Fellows Dinner in Ottawa on November 4.

Ainslie Cruickshank

Special delivery

On May 22, Canada Post released this set of five stamps, featuring the winning images of Canadian Geographic’s 2009 Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year Contest. The stamps were issued in honour of the 80th anniversaries of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic to coincide with International Biodiversity Day and the reopening of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, which is curating a travelling exhibit of the best 30 photographs from the contest. Visit the Canadian Geographic Photo Club for information on the third annual Wildlife Photography of the Year Contest.

Stamp images courtesy of Canada Post Corporation 2010. Reproduced with permission.


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