You may not have heard of the Get to Know Society but you’ve probably heard of the famous Canadian wildlife painter, Robert Bateman. Several years ago Mr. Bateman founded the Get To Know organization that encourages kids to get outdoors and get to know the wildlife in their neighbourhoods and beyond. Here’s what their website says about them.
The Get to Know Society’s mandate is to promote environmental education in order to raise a generation of Canadians who are inherently aware of their impact on the environment and how their positive interaction with their local wildlife can help preserve our natural wonders for generations to come.
Through the Get to Know Program, the Society helps ensure that young people are provided opportunities to spend more time outdoors. This is particularly important in this day and age, as children continue to abandon outdoor experiences for those they can participate in from within the home. This detachment from nature, and resulting sedentary lifestyle, can have a negative effect on the development of children.
The motto of the Get to Know Program is “Connect. Create. Celebrate.” These words articulate our mission to foster connections to nature through the creative arts – and to celebrate the fantastic work being done by youth in response to the environment and the need to understand and value nature.
Every year they have a contest for kids to submit artwork, a video, a piece of writing or a photograph that features wildlife and the outdoors wherever you may live in Canada. As past winners, my brother and I have become part of their youth advisory board and get to spread the word about the contest. The contest just launched and the deadline for entries is August 1. You can make more than one entry and in more than once category. It’s lot of fun to watch the entries on-line and see what other kids have submitted from across the country.
The Mossom Creek Salmon Hatchery lies in the middle of some of the most amazing forested lands and has remained, for the most part, undeveloped. The land it sits on and is surrounded by is owned by Imperial Oil. Unfortunately, the land is now up for sale and because of that, we may lose one incredible pocket of land that we’ll never be able to recover. The hatchery land is really unique and special because of it’s bio-diversity. It’s inhabited and travelled by A LOT of wildlife (I know this because a lot of that wildlife visits my backyard as well). Unfortunately I’ve learned that development companies and businesses don’t always want to do the “green” thing or the right thing so it’s up to people like us to give them reasons to plan development with those trees, those animals and that habitat in mind. I can’t imagine the work of all the hundreds of volunteers that have helped at the hatchery over the last 30 years could all be destroyed in the interests of making money. This is where the politicians come in because they can actually help determine what can and can’t be done on a site and I hope that our local politicians will come together to try to preserve as much of the Ioco lands as possible and be responsible and do the right thing. I know sometimes that means it costs more or takes longer but it’s much easier to preserve habitats now rather than try to bring them back years from now when people realize the mistakes they’ve made. Here’s an article recently written in the local paper. Make a difference and have your voice heard. Write your local policiticans or attend city council meetings to express your opinion. In the words of Barak Obama, “one voice can change a room…your voice can change the world”. I was invited to voice my opinion at a gathering of politicians and individuals who are trying to find ways to stop developers from destroying what took nature years to develop.
Mary Hagedorn, the biologist who is cryogencially preserving coral around the world, has posted a video that updates the Reef Recovery Initiative she has been working on. Check out this video.
If you’ve been following my work you’ll know that my very first film was on my very favourite person and my hero, Ruth Foster. A few weeks ago I learned that both Ruth and I would be receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal – together! It was such an honour to receive this recognition and it meant so much to share the evening with Ruth. There were lots of local politicians there and even an RCMP officer in the famous red uniform that is recognized around the world. Did you know that women did not become members of the force until 1974?
One of the great things about technology and social media is the way we can make connections with people all over the world. This has given me an opportunity to network with others who feel the same way that I do on many issues, especially environmental ones. Part of that networking comes from sharing information and sharing contacts. It was through this kind of networking and communicating that I met and got to work with Kenny Ballentine in California. I first posted about him in November of last year. Kenny is a filmmaker extraordinaire who happens to share a love of nature and the wish for children to spend more time in nature. He really practices what he preaches because he has a fantastic family that he does so much with in the great outdoors. Kenny has just completed his film Nature Kids and screenings for his movie will begin next month and the DVD will be available for purchase in the summer. You can watch some of the trailers for the movie at this vimeo channel.
The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology = SCWIST. Have you ever thought about becoming a scientist one day. Well, this non-profit agency encourages, supports and inspire girls and women to do just that. Their MS Infinity program is aimed specifically at girls. Here’s sample of how they help girls make connections with science.
Get hands-on with science – we hold conferences and workshops filled with fun activities, stories and games. These are all designed to bring science to life.
Feel inspired towards a career – the most exciting careers are often ones students have never even heard of. We introduce jobs from all areas of science in our role model programs and during our conferences.
Find support – girls get the support they need when deciding how to take their interest in science further with eMentor and role model programs.
Secure volunteering opportunities – we provide volunteering opportunities for both women in science-related careers and girls looking to get there in the future.
Well, it took a year to make but it’s finally done. My latest movie, The Child in Nature is all about nature deficit disorder, the subject of my TEDx talk in the fall. Richard Louv is featured in the film and I have him to thank for the topic since he created the term. Ruth Foster first introduced me to the concept of the disconnect between people, especially kids, and nature when I was 8 years old. The concept stayed in my mind for a long time so I decided to make a movie about it. Rich was kind enough to grant me an interview in California early last year and we’ve been communicating about the subject ever since. It was a hard movie to make because I got sidetracked a few times. First with homework, then with getting just the right footage and finally with all the editing I had to do because I switched to new filmmaking software which took a bit of getting used to.