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Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Local biodiversity education

International Biodiversity Day grant from BEAN network makes possible World Turtle Day event for local students

Local watershed students to learn about protecting species by attending ‘unique educational experience’

Students from the Exeter area are to learn about how to protect turtles and other species by taking part in a World Turtle Day Extravaganza. This educational experience takes place at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA) east of Exeter on May 23. This program, celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity, is made possible due to funding from the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network (BEAN). The $500 grant supports this learning event which is delivered by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) in partnership with the Huron Stewardship Council (HSC).

“We are very excited that the BEAN is providing this support for education about protecting the local species in the watershed,” said Denise Iszczuk, Conservation Educator with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “The education of youth is important for conserving Ontario’s diverse species of plants and animals.” 

As part of the event, HSC is to have live animals to assist in active learning and understanding of local reptiles and amphibians including the diverse habitat requirements and the diversity of species.

“We want to provide local students with a meaningful outdoor experience to learn about their local reptiles and amphibians,” said Jory Mullen, Lead Species at Risk Technician with HSC. “Developing a connection to the local environment will help students to regard biodiversity with a new perspective.”

Students are to find out, first-hand, how knowledge and science go together. After learning about the species, students are to use their new knowledge to act as citizen scientists to find and record sightings of reptiles and amphibians at Morrison Dam Conservation Area. To record sightings, students are to learn how to use the newly updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas phone application. These days, almost everyone seems to have a mobile phone with them even while walking or hiking in the outdoors. Using this kind of technology to report sightings is quick and easy now for many people. To learn more about this ‘app’ visit: ontarionature.org/protect/species/app.php.

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

The Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network helps people in Ontario to make positive changes for the benefit of diverse species of animals and plants. This network supports education and practical actions to recover and prevent the loss of biodiversity in the Province of Ontario. It does so by connecting scientists and governments with teachers, parents and guardians, and students. The network helps to create awareness by offering education through BEAN-approved lesson plans and other work. Ontario's Biodiversity Strategy led to the creation of BEAN. A statement from the BEAN Network thanked Ausable Bayfield Conservation “for your ongoing efforts to inspire and empower people to protect biodiversity.”