May 17, 2006 18:01 ET

Her Excellency, the Honourable Lise Thibault, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Officially Opens the Ecomuseum's New Owl Sanctuary

SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 17, 2006) - The official public opening of the Ecomuseum's Owl Sanctuary took place today at 4:30 PM in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The Opening Ceremony was graciously performed by Her Excellency the Honourable Lise Thibault, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec while Quebec comedian, actress and musician, Anne Letourneau, was the master of ceremonies. Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, MNA for Jacques-Cartier and Minister for Native Affairs also spoke during the ceremonies and announced a financial contribution of $60,000 from the Quebec Government.

The funds to build the owl sanctuary were raised in November 2004 at the Ecomuseum's first public fundraiser, an auction, at the Royal Saint-Lawrence Yatch Club. More that $42,000 was raised by the auctioneers, a cast of well known Montreal figures; Global Television's Al Dubois, Andrew Peplowski and Tim Sargeant, CHOM Radio's Ted Bird, Radio 940 Montreal's Mark Shaloub, RDI's Catherine Mercier, CJAD's Sharman Yarnell, renown Quebec comedian and actress Anne Letourneau and Montreal Canadien's hockey legend, Steve Shutt. This new sanctuary and its nature walk will enable the birds to live in a more stimulating environment, bringing them much closer to life in the wild while providing an exciting and educational experience for visitors. The owl's current facility, the Raptor building, is in great need of repair and is a full house.

Over 100 people enthusiastically welcomed the Lieutenant Governor as she descended the 200 meters of nature walk after her private tour of the Ecomuseum site. Among the welcoming guests were: members, directors, volunteers, docents, employees, donors, nature enthusiasts, conservationists, media figures, philanthropists, municipal and provincial government officials and local community leaders. Prior to the unveiling by Her Excellency of a recognition plaque for those who worked hard to raise funds and build the owl sanctuary, the ceremonies began with an exciting speech given by the zoo's young dynamic director general, David Rodrigue. Rodrigue unveiled the Ecomuseum's future plan which includes the launch of phase III of the Education Building Capital Campaign. This campaign to raise over $350,000 will provide expanded office space for personnel, an expanded gift shop area, an additional room for educational activities and an extension of the exterior covered area to better shelter groups awaiting admission, and a lounge and reference library for the park's over 100 dedicated volunteers and docents.

The Ecomuseum, the focus of St. Lawrence Valley Natural History Society, is an educational wildlife zoological park, striving to foster an appreciation and understanding of the flora and fauna of the St. Lawrence Valley. The Ecomuseum promotes responsible stewardship of the Valley through education, research and conservation. The Ecomuseum, open to the public every day but December 25th, is located in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and offers on-site educational tours, summer camps, off-site programs for groups, schools, companies and the general public. With over 100 indigenous animal species, the Ecomuseum has the largest collection of animals native to Quebec, in Canada.

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