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Canadian Biodiversity Strategy

GOAL 3 - Education and Awareness

To promote an understanding of the need to conserve biodiversity and use biological resources in a sustainable manner.

The loss of biodiversity is a global problem requiring solutions based on individual and community participation and commitment. If national and international efforts to conserve biodiversity and use biological resources in a sustainable manner are to succeed, individuals and communities must understand and appreciate the value of biodiversity and the causes of its decline.

Education and Awareness

Article 13:

Promote understanding of the importance of, and the measures required for, the conservation of biodiversity.

Convention on Biological Diversity

It has been demonstrated that education is the most cost-effective means of producing long-term social change. Education allows individuals to make lifestyle and consumption decisions that are sensitive to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use objectives.

Biodiversity education and community awareness should be strengthened in a variety of ways to reach people across the country. Biodiversity themes should be enhanced in the curricula of formal education systems, as well as in non-formal settings such as museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centres and parks. Awareness-raising and education could also take place through such means as the mass media, films or interactive computer programs.

A significant portion of Canada's biodiversity exists on private land. Education programs developed for land-owners and local communities will need to be tailored to the needs of these vital audiences.

Education by Example

The Antelope Creek Ranch was established in 1986 through a partnership involving Alberta Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada, to demonstrate that sound range management can benefit the land, wildlife, livestock production and recreation.

Members of the public possess valuable knowledge that can contribute significantly to government policies, plans and programs. Processes should be designed in such a way that full and meaningful public participation takes place.

Strategic Directions:

  1. Develop and deliver effective biodiversity education and awareness programs by:
    1. evaluating and monitoring the level of public understanding and knowledge regarding biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of biological resources in order to design and target effective education and awareness programs;
    2. integrating themes and messages about biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of biological resources into the formal educational curriculum;
    3. increasing biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of biological resources messages by building on existing interpretive programs in national and provincial parks and other protected areas, and at libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens; and
    4. strengthening coordination among educational institutions, government departments, museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, businesses, conservation groups and other organizations.
  2. Enhance opportunities for professional development for those involved in teaching environmental education.

    Alberta's Provincial ParksAlberta has established environmental education centres known as "outdoor classrooms" in Fish Creek, Peter Lougheed and Dinosaur Provincial Parks.Alberta has also developed teaching resources for its provincial parks.

  3. Create educational material that emphasizes measures that can be taken to prevent or reduce impacts on ecosystems and biological resources.
  4. Promote public awareness of biodiversity issues, conservation and sustainable use requirements and changes in the state of biodiversity and improvements in resource management practices through periodic reports, fact sheets, electronic information systems and other communication material and methods.