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2009 NSERC Awards for Science Promotion

Dr. K. Martha M. Jones

The residents of Nova Scotia have gained valuable insight into the delicate balance of their regional ecosystems thanks to the enthusiastic work of Dr. Martha Jones, an Associate Professor in Biology at Cape Breton University. She spearheaded two significant public awareness programs that have had a major impact on the perception and understanding of threats to aquatic environments in the region.

Project UFO (Unidentified Foreign Organisms) examines the impact of invasive alien species on ecosystems on Cape Breton Island. Jones developed a variety of communication tools to educate and inform environmental stakeholders, including commercial fishers, First Nations representatives and youth groups, of the best prevention methods for combating the introduction or spread of invasive species. The This link will take you to another Web site Project UFO Web site averages more than 1,000 hits per month, and its resources are used regularly as teaching tools in classrooms throughout the region.

The Sydney Tar Ponds was the subject of recurring public debate and environmental consultation regarding the best way to remediate the location. Jones carried out research at the site beginning in 2003, and her findings helped to inform the public about the nature of aquatic life in the Tar Ponds. Her work had a positive influence on the perceptions held by many people. Her research and outreach efforts also highlighted the importance of considering wildlife in the planning of a large-scale remediation project. A feature interview about the project on the Discovery Channelís Daily Planet was voted the television programís Top Story of 2008.

Jones is an energetic and inspiring leader in her community, and she has engaged many local residents to become active stewards of the environment.

For more information on the announcement of Dr. Jonesí NSERC Award for Science Promotion see: This link will take you to another Web site

Kivalliq Science Educatorsí Community

Since 1994, students in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut have had their interest and skills in science boosted thanks to the creative imagination of the Kivalliq Science Educatorsí Community (KSEC). The volunteer-run registered charity strives to make science fun and relevant, preparing Inuit youth for the demands of an increasingly technological world.

Originally formed by a group of science teachers in the Kivalliq Region, KSEC began by organizing science fairs, but over the years expanded its scope to include camps, contests, awards and teacher resources.

KSEC strives to emphasize the connection between science and studentsí culture and heritage. Science projects, for example, must be presented in both Inuktitut and English at science fairs. Those fairs also often become popular social events in their host communities.

The impact of KSECís efforts is experienced in the region and beyond. Science teachers in the Kivalliq region receive vital support that is being recognized and emulated in other regions. Students perform better not just in their own schools, but also on the national stage through participation in events such as the Canada-Wide Science Fair.