Patsy Gibbons, who lives a couple of miles outside Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, started off minding a vixen he calls Gráinne (pictured perched on Patsy’s head) at age seven weeks, seven years ago.
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TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ – Canada’s parks ministers have committed to work together to creatively and collaboratively inspire Canadians to experience nature through parks in ways that support their health and well-being.
The action was prompted by the first-ever comprehensive evidence-based report in Canada that chronicles the many proven benefits of spending time in nature.
Developed by the Canadian Parks Council, Connecting Canadians with Nature: An investment in the well-being of our Citizens pulls together an increasing body of research that demonstrates the immense benefits of connecting with the natural world. The benefits are broken down into six key areas:
- the economy;
- physical and mental health;
- spirit and cultural identity;
- personal development;
- the welfare of communities; and
- the environment.
In a joint statement released at the Meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Parks, with the exception of Quebec*, held in Toronto, Canada’s park leaders committed to innovate, diversify and adapt the country’s park offerings to meet the changing needs of families, and to work with various sectors of Canadian society – municipalities, school teachers, health practitioners, business leaders, community builders, tourism operators – to support experiences in nature that enhance Canadians’ collective health, prosperity, growth and productivity.
During the meeting, the ministers further agreed to collaborate in developing a passport to parks, to build on existing digital tools that make it easier for Canadians to visit their parks and share best practices to expand programs such as learn-to-camp activities in more jurisdictions.
- Within a generation, Canada has transitioned from a rural to an urban nation, with 80% of Canadians now living in cities. Canadians today spend on average 90% of their time indoors, with increasingly sedentary lifestyles that are contributing to a variety of chronic health issues.
- From lowering blood pressure, to reducing stress levels, to supporting children’s cognitive development, nature has the profound ability to support both our physical and mental health.
- Green spaces also support job growth and economic prosperity and build stronger communities by creating outdoor tourism and recreation opportunities.
- The meeting was co-chaired by Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada and Dr. Richard Starke, Alberta’s Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, and hosted by David Orazietti, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources.
“Canada is fortunate to have a rich array of parks that are recognized for supporting our overall well-being, and for providing direct benefits to communities through job creation, recreation and tourism opportunities. Our Government is committed to working with our partners to find ways to encourage and support Canadian families to connect with nature from coast to coast to coast.”
Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Our parks are an incredible resource that holds the potential to benefit Canadians physically, mentally, socially and economically. To fully realize that potential, it’s essential we work together to inspire more Canadians to get outside, explore our parks and connect with the wonders of our natural world.”
Dr. Richard Starke, Alberta’s Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
“I’m pleased that Ontario was able to host this conference highlighting the beauty and importance of Canada’s parks. Ontario continues to connect Canadians with nature through programs such as Learn to Camp and through the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter, the first charter of its kind in Canada to help children discover the wonders of nature. We look forward to working with our partners to enhance opportunities for the public to enjoy Ontario’s provincial parks.”
David Orazietti, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resource
“Canada’s extraordinary system of parks, the oldest in the world, offers some of the best places to experience all of nature’s powerful benefits, but we cannot work alone. The Canadian Parks Council is ready to join forces with others, to create new opportunities that will help maximize the many benefits of personally experiencing nature.”
Dawn Carr, Executive Director, Canadian Parks Council
- Connecting Canadians with Nature: An investment in the well-being of our Citizens (http://www.parks-parcs.ca/english/cpc/publications.php)
- Parks ministers’ statement (http://www.scics.gc.ca/)
- Backgrounder: Connecting Canadians to Nature through Parks (http://www.scics.gc.ca/)
- Canadian Parks Council (http://www.parks-parcs.ca/)
- Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat (http://www.scics.gc.ca/)
*The Quebec Government does not subscribe to the “Connecting Canadians with Nature” initiative. One of the initiative’s main objectives, which consists of improving public health and wellness through outdoor recreation activities and thereby supporting decreased health costs, falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec, particularly in regards to health promotion. However, Quebec will participate in the exchange of information regarding, among others, best practices in park management and promotion.
About the Canadian Parks Council
Since 1962, federal provincial and territorial governments have collaborated through the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) to promote excellence in parks and protected areas management, to advance park and protected area values and interests, and to encourage cooperation and mutual support among member agencies.
Environmental Studies Centers: “Green schools” in nature
The Environmental Studies Centers in Cyprus provide a different experience of learning in nature, away from the stresses of everyday life and its problems. Students are given an opportunity to encounter a wide range of flora and fauna while having fun studying a natural environment. ESCs offer varied educational programs designed to meet the specific needs and requirements of each group through fun activities.
ESCs can be found in many areas of Cyprus: in Troodos, Athalassa, Salamiou, Akrotiri of Limassol, Pedoula and Kritou Terra. The first environmental center in Cyprus is located in the village Kritou Terra and has operated since 1995 in the abandoned primary school of the village, which was restored creating a beautiful space for environmental education. This ESC includes a classroom, library, laboratory and dorms. The presence of pupils and students gives new life to the village and was the reason for upgrading several of the abandoned houses and monuments.
According to the staff, students of all ages, scouts, teachers and professors visit the Center and learn about the environment of Cyprus, through one-day picnics and exclusive programs. Youths from various countries of Western Europe and the Middle East come to participate in the Center’s environmental activities. Depending on their interests, a group can choose from a range of activities such as hiking in the Avakas canyon, exploration of the environment through the senses and getting to know the Akamas peninsula’s forest ecology and freshwater. All activities are led by qualified young teachers.
The ESCs do not simply reproduce information and knowledge, but maintain the character of “green schools”, which are designed to provide the opportunity for teachers and students of all levels to approach environmental issues from different points of view. They also seek to link environmental topics and sustainable development, as presented in the curriculum of the Ministry of Education of Cyprus and through the particular characteristics of the regions.
Reports from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute suggest that the implementation of alternative forms of learning and teaching techniques based on analysis and critical thinking is accomplished through the personal experience of participants. The purpose of this program is to create informed and aware citizens who will be able to take action and participate in decision-making for the improvement of the environment and the insurance of sustainability in a very pleasant manner. Issues focus on water, forests, agriculture and livestock, as well as practices for sustainability through art, history, traditions and culture. (1)
According to scientists (2) the ESCs are linked to local society and create networks for communication and cooperation, thereby strengthening the participation of local populations in their actions. They also connect standard with informal education, highlighting the environment as an essential educational tool and promoting lifelong learning.
Learn more about the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centers at esc.com.cy.
- Vergopoulou S. Skoullos M. (2007) The role of EEC in the Education for Sustainable Development, Athens
- Zachariou A. Nikolaou A. (2006/2007) Environmental Education Curriculum for elementary and pre-elementary schools, Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, Nicosia
- Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture http://www.moec.gov.cy/dkpe/
- Cyprus Pedagogical Institute www.pi.ac.cy/
Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on conservation of nature and the environment. Our mission is to foster greater understanding amongst the Vietnamese public about environmental issues of local, national and global significance, ranging from protection of wildlife and natural ecosystems to climate change. We employ creative and innovative strategies to influence attitudes and behavior, not only highlighting the need to protect Vietnam’s rich natural heritage and the living world around us, but also encouraging greater public participation in achieving this important and challenging task.
Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) is currently looking for candidates for the position of Wildlife Protection Program Team Leader for operations in the south of Vietnam – BASED IN HCM
Description of position
The ENV Southern Wildlife Protection Program Team Leader is responsible for coordinating his team to execute baseline wildlife trade and hunting surveys in five provinces of Southern Viet Nam, as well as organizing, helping recruit and coordinating volunteers to carry out regular monitoring of violating establishments in urban centers where wildlife crime have been documented.
The team leader works closely with Ha Noi- based Program Coordinator and ENV Wildlife Crime Unit to coordinate and conduct investigations on crimes in the south of Viet Nam and supervises one staff member.
The team leader is responsible for coordinating operations of the ENV’s Southern Vietnam field office tasked with reducing consumption and demand of wildlife amongst consumers and aggressively working to eliminate illegal hunting and trade of wildlife in southern Vietnam.
- Carry out awareness activities: Work closely with the program manager and Hanoi-based Mobile Wildlife Awareness Unit as well as other departments within ENV to carry out awareness activities in the central region. Activities include public events, radio shows, media interviews, development and distribution of awareness resources, stakeholder meetings, and other activities.
- Conduct priority monitoring: Work closely with the Hanoi-based Wildlife Crime Unit to conduct priority monitoring of business establishments to ensure compliance with wildlife protection laws.
- Coordinate enforcement operations with local authorities: Liaise with local authorities in the southern region to address specific crimes reported to the WCU, and build cooperative relationships with local authorities that yield proven results in ENV’s efforts to combat wildlife crime.
- Conduct field investigations: Carry out regular inspections and investigations of major wildlife trade operations including public zoos and wildlife farms in close cooperation with the Major Crimes Unit of ENV.
- Conduct Geographic survey: Carry out surveys to map out wildlife trade networks, key consumption enterprises, hunting patterns by communities bordering protected areas, and other “hotspots”
- Administer field office operations: Help develop and supervise an ENV satellite office including all relevant administrative duties associated with running a small office. Meet all administrative requirements of ENV including regular communications and reporting, processing of finances, etc.
Assist with Wildlife Protection Network: Assist in recruitment and training of volunteers from ENV’s Wildlife Protection Network, involve volunteers in awareness activities, and liaise with the National Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator on all issues relating to volunteer activities.
Stakeholder meetings: Provide critical support planning, organizing, and executing local stakeholder meetings on wildlife trade in the central Vietnam region.
Additional assignments: Complete other duties and assignments as specified by ENV managers
- University degree required
- Excellent survey and investigation skills
- Excellent management communications skills
- Good knowledge of commonly traded wildlife identification
- Strong Vietnamese writing skills
- Good verbal and written English
- Computer literacy: Word, Excel, Internet
- Ability to work independently, take initiative, and pay close attention to details
Terms and Benefits
- Long-term contract
- Mixed English-speaking environment
- Opportunity to work closely with international and national experts
- Friendly and creative working environment, competitive benefits
- Opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge
- Salary based on experience and performance
Interested candidates are invited to send their application and cover letter to the following address before March 31, 2014 by email or by correspondence.
The candidate MUST download ENV application form from the link below:
Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)
SS13 Hong Linh, Ward 15, District 10, HCMC
Tel: 08 3977 1928
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
The revelation comes in the wake of the international furore over the killing of Marius, a healthy 18-month-old giraffe, by Copenhagen Zoo. It has since been established that five of the animals have been put down by zoos in Denmark since 2012.
Across Europe, 22 healthy zebras, four hippos and two Arabian Oryx were also put down. The Oryx were killed at Edinburgh and London zoos in 2000 and 2001.
Several German zookeepers were prosecuted in 2010 for killing three tiger cubs at Magdeburg Zoo. However, some zoos, such as Twycross in Warwickshire, have a policy of not putting down healthy animals.
Dr Lesley Dickie, executive director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza), told BBC Radio 4’s The Report that between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year across Europe. “That’s our estimate for all animals management euthanised in the zoo, be it tadpoles up until a giraffe,” she said.
She added that “less than a few hundred” larger animals such as giraffes, zebras, lions and bears were included in the total. She said the true number was not known as studbooks sometimes do not record why an animal is killed. Like Marius, some animals are put down as part of a breeding programme designed to encourage genetic diversity in the captive population.
Dr Dickie said if zoo populations became too inbred they would be “absolutely no use for any future reintroduction programme. There’s lots of success stories. Tiger populations are now more stable in our zoos than they are in the wild,” she said. “Things like golden lion tamarins, a small primate from South America – it only exists because of zoos. There are other animals in which the situation in the wild is very dire and thank goodness we have captive populations.”
The Eaza yearbook for 2007-08, the latest available to the public, indicated that over-breeding was a problem for some species with surplus male monkeys, baboons and leopards. Simon Tonge, Eaza’s chairman, admitted that the “numbers game can be made to sound awful”, but insisted most of the public were on their side.
“There is 10, 15 per cent of the population who believe that the worst thing a human being can possibly do under any circumstances is to kill an animal,” he said. “But for the majority of people, if it’s necessary to euthanise an animal for human consumption or to regulate the populations, actually they are perfectly happy for that to happen.”
But Libby Anderson, of animal welfare group OneKind, said the idea that killing zoo animals was part of a conservation effort was misguided. “These animals will never replenish the wild populations. If we want to conserve wild populations, we have to address the challenges that they face in their environment,” she said.