Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Biodiversity Mentor Training Course Outline- Canada

Biodiversity Mentor Training Course Outline
Ottawa, Ontario- St-Laurent Academy, Notre Dame Catholic School, and Devonshire Public School (Youth aged 12 to 24)

Module 1: The Tree of Life (2 hours)
The concept of a tree of life as a multi-branched trunk illustrates the 4 billion year evolution of all life on earth.  This concept is continually changing as more genetic information shows us how closely we are related to all living things.  The purpose of this class is to broaden the student’s concept of how life functions within diverse ecosystems and on a planetary scale. 

We will use our outdoor study area in the center of urban Ottawa.  Our Macoun Marsh project in Beechwood Cemetery continues to be our core biodiversity project. To date, almost 1350 species have been recorded here.  A personal nature journal will be used to record discoveries. 

Module 2: Our Human Need for Biodiversity (2 hours)
Biodiversity is used in medical research and in our food industry.  It is directly connected to the purification of the air and water, decomposition of wastes, recycling of nutrients, the pollination of crops, and the regulation of our climate.  Many cultural services are to be considered here.  Our global economy cannot function without biodiversity.       

We need more protected areas, not just outside human cities, but inside as well.  We need connections between protected spaces so species can move from one area to the next.  We need to learn how to live with wildlife in our backyards. 

The students will partake in various activities that connect seemingly unrelated everyday products to their biological sources. 

Module 3: Political Action (2 hours)

Dr Djoghlaf, Executive Director of the CBD is quoted as saying "We are experiencing the greatest wave of extinctions since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Extinction rates are rising by a factor of up to 1,000 above natural rates. Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost. Every year, between 18,000 and 55,000 species become extinct.” 

Our planet’s future rests on the conservation of our irreplaceable natural heritage- our biodiversity.  Species are being lost at an unprecedented rate with massive consequences for our planet, the economy, and our health. 

Understanding our place in the global community is key to this process. The students will meet face-to-face with youth that have been active in the formation of the International Youth Accord for Biodiversity and its presentation in Nagoya, Japan at COP10 in October 2010.  Students will be made aware of local, national, and international opportunities as possible venues for involvement.   

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