February 24, 2009 12:00 ET

The Rivers Institute at BCIT-A First of Its Kind in British Columbia

A donation of $1 million will establish conservationist Mark Angelo as Canada's first Chair in River Ecology

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2009) - It will unite the public in an effort to protect the world's rivers; increase public awareness about the importance of our waterways; conduct state-of-the-art river-related research; provide financial support to students; and will be led by world-renowned conservationist Mark Angelo. It's also the first entity of its kind in British Columbia. It is the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and its establishment is intended to pave the way for a better ecological future for British Columbia and beyond.

Through a generous one million dollar donation from environmental philanthropist Rudy North, the new Rivers Institute at BCIT will play a leadership and science-based role in key management issues while partnering with existing BCIT programs such as Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation, Environmental Engineering, and Canada's first Ecological Restoration degree.

"This couldn't come at a better time. BC's natural heritage is arguably one of the greatest of any economically developed regions in the world," says Rudy North, president and founder of North Growth Management Ltd., who generously donated one million dollars to the cause. "We are becoming aware of how much our population growth is compromising its future existence. I am confident that today's announcement of a River Ecology Chair and a Rivers Institute at BCIT will become a driving force for keeping BC a natural wonder of the developed world."

The Rivers Institute will celebrate Order of Canada recipient Mark Angelo as the Rudy North Chair in River Ecology, the first such position in Canada. As program head of the BCIT Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program, Angelo has brought attention to the critical importance of healthy waterways, founded both BC and World Rivers Day, and inspired thousands of BCIT students and stakeholders throughout his 35 years at BCIT.

"The Rivers Institute will help to develop and support future river leaders; a part of the Institute's mandate that I'm particularly excited about," says Angelo, a member of the Order of Canada and an inaugural recipient of a United Nations Award for Science, Education and Conservation. "While the Institute will be very active in BC, it will also have an international reach, and will be involved in efforts to protect healthy rivers and streams while trying to restore those waterways that have been damaged in past."

Among others, local examples of initial projects will range from efforts to protect key riverside habitats along the Heart of the Fraser between Hope and Mission and major restoration initiatives on Guichon Creek and Still Creek in Burnaby.

To arrange for interviews or photographs, please contact Mark Angelo at 604.432.8270 or mark_angelo@bcit.ca.

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