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Marc Lalande

Marc LalandeMarc Lalande believes in the potential of Indigenous young people. He gives them great opportunities to be proud of themselves and encourages them to aim higher. He is convinced that all Indigenous youth deserve the chance to develop their scientific skills and become leaders in their communities and their nations.

Through events such as the Quebec Aboriginal Science Fair (ASF) for students attending school in First Nations and Inuit communities in Quebec, Mr. Lalande offers these young people a unique window onto the sciences. The young people who participate in this fair often draw inspiration for their projects from their own cultural heritage and in the process discover that their ancestors were scientists in their own way. Mr. Lalande has also developed a mentoring program for students and teachers and a workshop where teachers can learn about how to plan science fairs.

Mr. Lalande firmly believes that in promoting science to young people, partnerships are the key to success. He has developed partnerships with numerous organizations in the public and private sectors, including Indigenous educational institutions such as the First Nations Education Council, the Cree School Board, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq (School Board of Nunavik) and the Institut Tshakapesh. The Réseau Technoscience, which is one of Mr. Lalande’s partners and a sponsor of the Hydro-Québec Science Fair, has invited this year’s winners of the Quebec Aboriginal Science Fair to attend the MILSET Expo-Sciences International, an international science fair that will be held in the United Arab Emirates in September 2019. This event will give Canadian Indigenous youth a wonderful opportunity to showcase their scientific talent to the rest of the world.

Mr. Lalande is a founding member of the Quebec Aboriginal Science and Engineering Association (QASEA) and currently serves as its president and treasurer. For over 19 years, he has been devoting time and energy to training volunteers and seeking partners to inspire Indigenous youth to make science their passion and their career.

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental SciencesThe St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, known as the River Institute, is not only at the core of the reclamation of the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall, ON, but also at the heart of inspiring thousands of students to explore the fascinating world of science.

Established to address the “Area of Concern” designation due to contamination and poor water quality, the River Institute set out to restore the health of the St. Lawrence River. In doing so, they brought researchers, partners, youth and their community along on their journey of environmental change.

With the St. Lawrence River as a natural laboratory, the River Institute delivers educational programing that makes science fun, while doing hand-on research in the field with real scientists. Sharing the excitement of scientific discovery, they encourage young people to consider a career in science.

Two of the main educational objectives identified by the River Institute are to increase involvement by girls and young women and to increase partnerships and involvement by First Nations youth. Working with, and recognizing the traditional beliefs of one of their founding partners, the Mohawks of Akwesasne, the River Institute promotes a greater appreciation of First Nations traditional knowledge in all of its programs.

While undertaking the environmental restoration of the St. Lawrence River, the River Institute enhances and transforms people’s understanding of water as a precious natural resource, and its importance to our future. By using science as an outreach tool to inspire an appreciation for our river ecosystems, the River Institute motivates youth toward a future in an exciting field and encourages the public to make choices that respect and preserve the health of this precious natural resource.