The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, in partnership with the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada and Students on Ice, is hosting Polar Perspectives in celebration of International Polar Year on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in Halifax. The event is being held at 15 venues across the country this year and features a day-long forum for high school students and an evening speakers series for the public will be held at the museum at 1747 Summer St., Halifax. “The youth forum is a truly unique opportunity for our future scientists, leaders and environmental stewards to learn about Arctic ecosystems, northern issues, International Polar Year and climate change,” said museum manager Janet Maltby. “We are thrilled to be part of this important learning opportunity for young Nova Scotians and to involve them in discussions about current issues affecting our polar regions and ultimately, our planet. These students will then go back to their schools and communities with a commitment to being International Polar Year ambassadors for climate change issues.” This fall, high school students with a strong interest in science and environmental leadership from across Nova Scotia were encouraged to apply for the one-day forum. Hilary Ashley, a Grade 10 student at Citadel High School in Halifax, was selected as one of the 25 participants. She wrote: “I am wanting to participate in the Polar Perspectives Youth Forum so that I can learn about the issues facing the North, such as climate change and the impact on wildlife. I am looking for ideas to help raise awareness in my community and school to slow down the impact of climate change in the North.” During the forum, students will participate in discussion groups on themes such as health, culture, climate change, conservation, sovereignty and indigenous rights. There will also be a special live videoconferencing session with students in Canada’s Arctic region. “This live video component will be a tremendously powerfulexchange and opportunity for Nova Scotia’s young people to interact directly with northern youth to hear their thoughts, stories and perspectives,” said Geoff Green, a veteran of more than 100 polar expeditions, and founder and executive director of Students on Ice Expeditions. The forum concludes with a display created by the students from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. followed by two public lectures. Arctic Paleobiology Adventures will be presented by Natalia Rybczynski, paleobiologist, Canadian Museum of Nature and Carving the Islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago with John Gosse, Canada research chair in Earth Systems Evolution, Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University. Ms. Rybczynski will discuss evidence of past climate, ecosystems and biodiversity and Mr. Gosse’s talk will focus on the causes and timing of island formation and what the climate records indicate about this Arctic landscape change. Also taking part in the forum is Zoë Caron, co-author of Global Warming for Dummies, a founding member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, who also helped develop the Sierra Youth Coalition’s Sustainable Campuses initiative in Atlantic Canada. Recently recognized in Vanity Fair, she has been named among the Top 30 Under 30 to watch in Halifax by Canada’s Alternatives Journal. A documentary film based on the forums that weaves together Canadian impressions of the polar regions will be produced in the coming year. Youth forum participants and Canadian high school students are also invited to enter a national International Polar Year contest to send one student from each province and territory on a Students on Ice International Polar Year Arctic Expedition in 2009. Other sponsors of the forum include, Canadian Geographic, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the government of Canada’s International Polar Year Program.
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