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Biological Diversity aka BioDiversity has an extremely huge impact on nature by causing all sorts of disasters from pollution such as global warming and climate change.
To say that pollution does not have an impact on us or on the world, and can be avoided, is like stating that cancer is not a huge problem – not true at all.
In this article you will learn how a group of youth with the support of some adults got together to hold a BioDiversity Matters Conference, aka BDM3. This was just the starting point for our marathon race and the journey won’t end until we all start decreasing our energy consumption. Adults are the runners handing over the baton to the youth, who will bring those same adults to the finishing line with your support. On that finish line day all pollution on earth will finally end and Biodiversity will be brighter and the naked eye will witness it!
We have been eagerly waiting for this event since last year.
The motto was, “Action Now for Life on Earth”, followed by the message,” Get Involved. Get Engaged. Join-Learn-Enable-Act”. Representing my school on an honorary basis, Stewarttown Middle School while being a POWER youth caucus had the honor to be at the table first. Before I get into the area of BDM3, let me explain what we mean by Biodiversity.
Experts explain that Biodiversity is an important element in the natural world and maintains ecosystem functions by preserving species. It protects species health by ensuring genetic diversity.
BioDiversity also acts as a buffer to many diseases—a genetically diverse population is much more likely to withstand outbreaks, while weak genetic diversity within wildlife can lead to an increase of epidemics and poor public health.
This was Power’s third year of hosting the Biodiversity Conference; hence this is why it is called BDM3. P.O.W.E.R. (Protect Our Water Resources and Environmental Resources) has hosted BDM3 to engage and enable students and schools to participate in the United Nations Decade of Biological Diversity. BDM3 provided an interactive educational experience through workshops, displays, collaborative directions and networking opportunities. The goal is to create a focal point in your school for Biodiversity so that members of your school’s green team expand the work and networking after the conference is over. Your Delegate team is supposed to have a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 student delegates and one adult or teacher.
Invited delegates ranged from grade 7 – 12 and ideal students were outgoing passionate school leaders interested in Biodiversity and were action oriented.
Preparation for this huge event was a huge deal which started back in October, 2011. Every Wednesday after school from 3-5 pm I attended meetings to get ready for this fun-filled and great cause event! It took us more than five months to plan and organize this amazing and breath-taking initiative. During this period we made posters, forms, presentations and bird houses etc. for the participants to get their green hands on it. On February 7, students by the cafeteria at GDHS set up tables (registration, displays, etc) and as many arrows et al. We also assigned tasks and the time-schedule for February 8th morning.
Early morning at GDHS, Mr. Gord Swanson and Mrs. Donna Norrie, legendary environmental GDHS education teachers, were busy setting up the tables, banners and were also excited about this event. I joined them at 7.30 am and started my submerge-mission into the ocean of BDM3.
On Wednesday, February 8th, POWER and HPBDN (Halton Peel Biodiversity Network) hosted Power’s 3rd Youth Conference on BDM3. This was a conference on biodiversity and the Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020). Approximately 250 students from Halton and Peel Regions attended sessions and workshops throughout the day at Georgetown District High School (GDHS) in Georgetown, Ontario. The goals were to help youth and school teams educate and take action during the Decade on Biodiversity, and create a network for the schools and youth.
I was struck by the number of people who actually attended the event – I didn’t expect so many people. GDHS was filled with students, teachers, experts and animal ambassadors for BDM3. It was a great student-developed, adult-enabled event where, along with other youth from the steering committee, we helped participants to develop the knowledge and skills to be able to take part in the UNDBD. Many delegates from North Halton and Peel took part in the full day of hands-on events including live animal interactions, international youth projects, and, inspiration from the Biodiversity Council of Ontario. This day was an opportunity for students to unite and reconnect with nature, become more in tune with their local parks and conservation areas, and learn what they can do to help out in their community. For many students, the Stewardship Day is also one of the few days that they are able to connect with local environmental organizations.
I think that we didn’t have as many mature youth to give this message to because our oldest group of people were probably only grade eight’s and maybe, just maybe a handful of grade nine’s as well. But other than that I think we were extremely successful and even attracted some adults into this youth-led initiative. With time being our biggest enemy at all times, with or without enough of it, would still be hard to help entertain and keep the audience alive and enthusiastic. This was our third conference, and I really think that our fourth one is probably going to be four times better.
The organized agenda for BDM3 included: the welcome and indigenous opening; experienced biologist, Steve Hounsell, was there and gave a great welcome to everyone as well as sharing some of his marine-diving stories. The moving on activities like, Birds of a Feather, BioDiversity Muse and News, Speak Up and Speak Out, and so on moved forward with a formal closing and followed by a networking session.
Being a POWER youth caucus member I would ask the local youth hanging about to like the following facebook page. The more activity on the page the more people we can connect to, and the more people we connect to, the more people will be aware of the IMPORTANCE of saving our local biodiversity and the only way to have an impact is to get the message across: