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YOUR TORONTO ZOO RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANT TO LAUNCH NEW CLIMATE ACTION LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

June 25, 2021



PROGRAM FOCUSED ON ENGAGING AND INSPIRING LOW-INCOME VISIBLE MINORITY/BIPOC AND NEW CANADIAN YOUTH

TORONTO, ON, Friday, June 25, 2021: Human caused climate change is real and the impact is devastating for nature. We are taking steps to address our cumulative impact and need your help!

Your Toronto Zoo and the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy are proud to be the recipient of an approximate $380,000.00 grant through the Government of Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund (CAAF). The grant will support the Zoo’s new Climate Action Learning and Leadership Project – the CALL – that was created to support and engage youth from underrepresented communities to take action to combat climate change. In addition, this initiative will provide new Canadian youth with the knowledge and skills to create their own climate change call to action in their neighborhoods and wider networks and raise awareness of the opportunities to find their way in the career fields of climate change and conservation science.

“I am inspired by the initiatives brought forward by Canadians from coast to coast to coast. All across Ontario, local groups like the Toronto Zoo are engaging in meaningful climate action that supports Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Together we are building a cleaner, healthier future for our children and grandchildren,” said The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“A consistent, measurable, and progressive climate action plan will help Canada exceed our 2030 Paris climate targets and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Climate change is happening right now, and our government has a comprehensive and effective plan to ensure a greener, healthier, and safer tomorrow for all,” said Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament for Scarborough – Rouge Park.

The Toronto Zoo's Climate Action Learning and Leadership project will support and encourage youth to find their calling in the career fields of climate change and conservation science. The program will include the working with community partners to identify individuals from these communities to participate in the Project and help Zoo staff to understand the needs of these communities to ensure meaningful experiences. Additional program partners will work with these participants to create digital tools/platforms for participants to share their knowledge and engage their community, through youth teaching youth, social media, and other methods. THE CALL will also offer 12-week 'Climate Action' paid internships for eight participants aged 18 to 30; and, leading the 'Engaging Climate Action Champions Leadership' program for 40 individuals aged 15 to 17.

“Your Toronto Zoo is committed to the important role of conservation education,” said Dolf DeJong, CEO of your Toronto Zoo. “With that commitment in mind we are excited to work alongside critical community partners to expand our outreach and engage youth to take meaningful action to combat climate change and make a positive impact,” he added.

“The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to raising funds to support your Toronto Zoo’s fight against wildlife extinction” said Beth Gilhespy, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director.  “We were privileged to work with the talented team at the Zoo to prepare this successful funding application.  The CALL will create initiatives that will inspire direct action to combat climate change, a key factor in wildlife extinction, and give youth an opportunity to gain valuable experience towards their future careers.”

The CALL will be supported by three one-year Zoo staff positions - who will be responsible for establishing and cultivating partnerships, mentoring and supporting participants, and building and managing a strong and sustainable program.

The CALL will engage youth in two broad programs:

  • Building Leadership through Climate Action Internships
  • Engaging Climate Action Champions Leadership Program

The Building Leadership through Climate Action Internships paid program will be developed to serve low-income, visible minority and new Canadian youth aged 18 to 30. These internships will provide participants with a knowledge of climate change issues and actions they can take, by teaming them with experts and experienced Toronto Zoo staff. Interns will then take their knowledge and passion into their communities to develop programs for action. Interns will also mentor youths in the Climate Action Champion category (ages 15 to 17) as they carry out their own programs to help reduce our climate impacts. The internship will include both Zoo-Based and Community-Based Experiences where participants will gain hands-on work experience and have the students to put their learning and knowledge to use while developing experience and deepening relationships within their own communities.

The Climate Action Champions will experience a four-week program developed for low-income, visible minority and new Canadian youth aged 15 to 17. Up to 10 participants will attend each of the four sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to attend the Toronto Zoo site to learn from Zoo staff about biodiversity, climate change, and their impacts on animals. They will also participate in “Behind-the-Scenes” opportunities and field research alongside Zoo staff including monitoring and research around local Canadian endangered species. These unique experiences will increase their awareness of the important conservation work their Zoo is doing, and opportunities for their further involvement at the Zoo.

In addition, participants will work with Toronto Zoo staff on action-oriented projects, both at the Zoo site and in their home community. Action oriented projects include connecting with Zoo guests at the polar bear exhibit, conducting virtual field trips for external youth groups, producing content for social media, and - back in their home community - collaborating with community partners. As with the internship program, these experiences will flow into additional opportunities for these youth such as integrating them into our volunteer program and provide them with hands-on experiences when applying for positions at the Zoo or likeminded organizations that are committed to protecting biodiversity.

WATCH THE ANNOUNCMENT LIVE Friday, June 25th at 1:00 PM from the Polar Bear Habitat: The Toronto Zoo - Home | Facebook

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Media Contact Information:

Katie Gray
Manager of Strategic Communications
kgray@torontozoo.ca

Amanda Chambers
Toronto Zoo’s Supervisor of Strategic Communications
achambers@torontozoo.ca



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For general information visit torontozoo.com

The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive.

An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.

Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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