Ducks Unlimited Canada - National

Ducks Unlimited Canada - National

June 25, 2009 14:55 ET

Monsanto Canada Funds Wetland Education for Prairie Schools

Grant supports new Wetland Centres of Excellence this spring

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - June 25, 2009) - Monsanto Canada recently presented Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) with a major grant of $71,000 to expand its Wetland Centres of Excellence education program for schools in the Pembina Trails School Division as well as two additional schools at new sites in Virden, Man. and in Yorkton, Sask. The Yorkton site for the program is being provided by Richardson International, a James Richardson & Sons, Limited company.

Located just south of Winnipeg, Kelburn Farm, operated by Richardson International, is the site used by Pembina Trails. With the new funding from Monsanto Canada, DUC will be able to expand its education awareness to students at Fort Richmond Collegiate and other high schools in the division who use the natural wetlands at Kelburn as an enrichment study site and an outdoor classroom.

"The program has been of great value in teaching our students about the real business of agriculture and getting them excited about science and environmental studies," said Bob Adamson, who has been the lead teacher for Pembina Trails in the program since its inception three years ago. "Its programs like this that provide students with authentic experiences that make a difference in helping them develop their interests and decide on future careers."

Another key component is a mentoring program for Grade 4 students in the school division. In the spring and fall, experienced high school students lead classes of younger children on an all expenses paid wetland field trip at Kelburn, teaching them about wetlands, conservation and sustainability. "Having young students learn from older students is a powerful thing to see in action," said Adamson, who is very proud of his team of wetland leaders and mentors.

This new initiative builds on the past successes of Kelburn Farm. "With the Monsanto funds, we'll be able to underwrite the cost of wetland field trips over the next five years at all three sites and provide the two new sites with the infrastructure needed to support their education programs," said Dr. Rick Wishart, director of education for DUC. "This will include field equipment, interpretive signage for walking trails and floating boardwalks to get students safely out to study a wetland. We are now seeking lead schools and teachers to take on the projects at the two new sites."

While these sites provide authentic outdoor learning opportunities for children, the Kelburn and Yorkton sites, plus another Virden-area location, provided by Tundra Oil & Gas Limited, are also being developed as Sustainable Land Use Centres, serving as extension-education centres for farmers and other local groups. Additional major funding recently provided by the Richardson Foundation to DUC is being used to outfit the sites with a variety of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs). These demo practices will show how profitable business ventures, like commercial agriculture and resource extraction, can be complementary with maintaining healthy habitats for wildlife and people.

"Sharing these practical BMPs with farm landowners and others so they can adopt them in their own operations is critical if Canada is to develop its resources sustainably, while at the same time conserving its wetlands and other natural features," said Bob Grant, DUC's Manitoba manager of operations. "Wetlands not only provide feeding and nesting sites for waterfowl and many other species, they also reduce the impacts of floods and droughts, cleanse polluted water and store greenhouse gases that can otherwise add to climate change."

Trish Jordan, public affairs director with Monsanto Canada says the company is proud to be part of such a broad educational partnership.

"The educational programs DUC will deliver at these Wetland Centres of Excellence will provide a valuable opportunity to bring real life agricultural and conservation issues into the school curriculum in the communities where they exist," explains Jordan. "Farmers are the original environmentalists and these programs also complement Monsanto's commitment to environmental sustainability. Many of the students attending these schools will be living on family farms in the future or their livelihood will depend on a strong and sustainable agricultural sector."

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monsanto Canada Inc. is part of the larger global Monsanto family. Monsanto Company is an agricultural company and a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. Learn more about our business and our commitments at www.monsanto.ca or www.producemoreconservemore.com. Monsanto Canada has been supporting DUC's environmental education program for four years.

Ducks Unlimited Canada is a private, non-profit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

Contact Information

  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
    Karli Reimer
    National Communications Coordinator
    204-467-3279
    k_reimer@ducks.ca