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World Biosphere Reserve

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 22, 2015


Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge National Urban Park and Greenbelt
World Biosphere Reserve Nomination


Toronto, Ontario - On the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day, a day that encourages people to take action to help preserve the earth, the Rouge Valley Foundation is proud to announce the nomination of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge National Urban Park and adjacent portions of the Greenbelt as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Biosphere Reserve. A UNESCO World Biosphere nomination often starts with grassroots organizations and the resulting designation can form the basis for strong and continuing programs of research, monitoring, education and awareness for the three environmentally and culturally significant areas and strengthen attention and initiatives for stewardship and promotion of sustainable livelihoods and capacity development in addition to effective cooperation in environmental governance on the three areas.


“The nomination process is a lengthy one and we are glad to be able to finally announce this to the public,” said David Lawrie, Program Director of the Rouge Valley Foundation. “The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation provided generous funding to get this nomination up and running and Professor George Francis (University of Waterloo), Professor Dan McCarthy (University of Waterloo), Professor Graham Whitelaw (Queen’s University), Debbe Crandall (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition) and others, have spent tremendous time helping to develop the required background materials and there has been great progress made, and now we need the public’s help to turn this nomination into a designation.”


Environmental groups, farmers, tourism operators, local businesses, academics, conservation authorities, government, and the general public are encouraged to voice their opinion and show their support for this nomination by visiting the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge National Urban Park and Greenbelt World Biosphere Reserve website (www.orgbr.ca) and by emailing letters of support for the nomination to supportorgbr@orgbr.ca. Hard copy letters can be mailed to the ORGBR Nomination Committee c/o Rouge Valley Foundation,
1749 Meadowvale Road, Toronto, ON M1B 5W8
.


The Oak Ridges Moraine and adjacent portions of the Greenbelt (including the Rouge National Urban Park) combined, cover 418, 920 ha of environmentally significant land including farmland, forests, wetlands, meadows, lakes, and rivers providing homes to thousands of plant and animal species including over 78 federally and provincially listed Species at Risk including the Jefferson Salamander, Redside Dace, Eastern Meadowlark and Blanding’s Turtle. This new nomination would compliment and support the current Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve which was designated in 1990.


The Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt were protected in 2002 and 2005 respectfully but with the added designation of World Biosphere Reserve so much more can be accomplished in these areas. A World Biosphere Reserve designation will help promote sustainable agriculture and provide livelihoods for farmers, increase ecotourism and sustainable tourism, increase awareness and social consciousness for stewardship, biodiversity, and good land management, promote communities to come together and develop programs that further understanding about conservation and sustainability, and can also increase the flow of local, technical and scientific knowledge about conservation.


“This is an important initiative to make meaningful change in our local communities,” said David Lawrie. “We strongly believe that a World Biosphere Reserve designation would provide a model for stewardship, sustainable livelihoods and learning. One just has to look at the successes of other World Biosphere Reserves to see the many benefits that can be gained if we all work together.”


The Rouge Valley Foundation, formed in 1984 to protect the Rouge Valley, was a significant stakeholder in the formation of the Rouge Park in 1995 by raising awareness of the ecological significance of the land and now they hope to help make the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge National Urban Park and Greenbelt a World Biosphere Reserve continuing their dedication to protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. The Rouge Valley Foundation encourages everyone to take a minute this Earth Day to do their part and help make this nomination
a reality.


We’d like to thank our web hosting sponsor Treefrog for their generous support while we work on this nomination. For more information about Treefrog visit www.treefrog.ca.


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For media information or visuals, contact:

Serena Lawrie, info@orgbr.ca, 416-282-8265


For World Biosphere Reserve nomination information contact:

Professor Dan McCarthy, University of Waterloo, dmccarthy@uwaterloo.ca, 519-888-4567 ext. 33065


For information about the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge National Urban Park and Greenbelt contact:

David Lawrie, Rouge Valley Foundation, Program Director, info@rvcc.ca, 416-282-8265


About the Rouge Valley Foundation: The Rouge Valley Foundation was established in 1984 and is a registered non-profit charity. The Rouge Valley Foundation was one of the original stakeholders to help establish Rouge Park in 1995 and currently operates the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. The Rouge Valley Foundation’s mandate is to preserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Rouge Valley. This is achieved through a variety of restoration and rehabilitation projects and through educational programming. The Rouge Valley Conservation Centre offers environmental education programs, guided interpretative hikes through the Rouge Valley, and conducts restoration, research and monitoring work throughout the Rouge River watershed. Educational programming and public outreach is informed by our up to date monitoring, research and restoration activities undertaken throughout the valley, bringing nature to life for our visitors.

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