The 2013 Earth Month Youth Forum
250 Voices, One Night
Saturday April 27, 2013 at The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON
To celebrate Earth Month, Earth Day Canada’s EcoMentors and the Royal Ontario Museum joined forces to engage and connect hundreds of environmental youth leaders and educators from across the province for an evening of inspiration, education, and leadership.
Youth at the Forum explored environmental issues, participated in hands-on workshops presented by awesome environmental organizations, and teamed up with their peers to start affecting real change!
Inspiring Keynotes for Environmental Leadership
Astronaut and nature photographer Roberta Bondar and award-winning photographer Sebastião Salgado led youth in powerful discussions of how their unique travels have shaped their views on the world today. Their presentations highlighted the important role we must all play in the preservation of our planet, and opened youth up to awe-inspiring images of the planet we call home.
Dr. Bondar’s beautiful photography explores Earth’s stunning environments and her unique perspective is a reminder of the preciousness of our planet. As an astronaut, visionary, and environmental educator, Dr. Bondar is a true renaissance woman and an inspiring example of leadership, curiosity, and care for the Earth. Named as one of North America’s best explorers by Time magazine, she is always moving forward into new territories.
Sebastião Salgado has travelled to over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Touring exhibitions of this work have been presented throughout the world in leading museums and galleries. Since the 1990s, Salgado has worked on the restoration of a part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, and created the Instituto Terra, an environmental NGO dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and education. Salgado has been awarded numerous major photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments. He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States.
Forum Host & Environmental Hero Simon Jackson rallied youth to create change!
Simon Jackson is the founder and chairman of the six million-strong Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, the largest youth-run environmental organization in the world, and is executive producer of The Spirit Bear, a forthcoming Hollywood CGI animated movie. For his efforts, Jackson has been named a Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine and was the inspiration for a made-for-TV movie, Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story.
Participants of the Forum explored hard-hitting questions and brainstormed creative solutions to a wide range of environmental issues, including environmental education and leadership, environmental action and advocacy, sustainable transportation, water, food, fashion, biodiversity, species protection, and wetland conservation. Workshops included:
For the birds – Exploring skills
and techniques “in the field”
Youth tested hands-on techniques for studying all kinds of birds in the field through fun games and interactive exercises by surveying the ROM galleries, and gained skills to become champions for the care and conservation of our feathered friends!
This workshop, led by Earth Day Canada explored the potential of intelligent, urban transportation that builds the environment and communities into its design. Youth explored new and innovative technologies and systems that will define the future of our daily commutes.
Youth. Environment. Leadership.
Through interactive activities and group discussions, this session gave youth an opportunity to discover their roles as environmental educators, and to explore how to turn education into action by facilitating EcoMentors workshops with groups of other young people.
Designing Sustainable Community Food Systems
Youth investigated the dynamic evolution of community food production, exploring “agro-ecology” -- the study of ecological processes in agriculture – and brainstormed ecologically minded agricultural practices and cooperative techniques that can develop healthy, sustainable food systems.
Resize Your Fashion Footprint!
Youth explored the cutting edge of eco-fashion in this engaging workshop. Ecofashionista Kelly Drennan led this hands-on session that focused on how we as consumers can reduce the ecological footprint of our wardrobe in terms of toxic chemicals, water, energy and waste.
It's time to change our reactions to the problems and issues we discover around us. This environmental action oriented workshop stressed that it's time to realize how our actions actually can change things; not only in our communities, but on a global scale!
Becoming Nature Guardians
Youth learned how to get involved through hands-on activities that focus on nature appreciation and the conservation of wildlife and habitat. The Nature Guardians program strives to help young people discover their potential as leaders and nature advocates through their newly formed Youth Council.
Seeing the World Through a Different Lens
Strengthening our relationship with the environment through the lens of the camera, youth explored the art and science in the patterns around us. From understanding the basics of photography, lines, colours and shapes, to science within the artistic elements of an image, this workshop helped youth tell their story and share it with others to develop a personal environmental heritage.
Protecting our Wetlands with Citizen Science!
Youth learned how to play an active role in wetland stewardship and gained skills and techniques to report amphibian and reptile sightings to Ontario wetland databases. Participants delved into important concepts of wetland stewardship, and left with the knowledge needed to help protect and conserve our precious aquatic ecosystems!
What’s in a Watershed?
Youth took a virtual journey of discovery through local watersheds, exploring the boundaries of Toronto's vital watershed and how it has been transformed as the city has grown.