Why biodiversity is important to you: chapter 2

Discovering biodiversity

Protecting biodiversity starts with knowledge and exploration. The Government of Canada, including Environment Canada, has taken a lead role in providing Canadians with opportunities to learn about and experience biodiversity.

What can you do? Get outside! Discover biodiversity while you walk, ski, snowshoe, ride horseback or cycle.

The Trans Canada Trail, the world's longest network of trails, makes it easy to experience biodiversity. Four out of five Canadians live within 30 minutes of the Trail. Learn more about it at The Trans Canada Trail web page.

Hinterland Who's Who has been providing Canadians with information about Canada's wildlife and wildernesses since the 1960s. Through its website you can learn about nature and the many species of animals in Canada. Visit Hinterland Who's Who webpage for more information and a complete list of activities and programs for helping to conserve biodiversity.

The Biosphère, Environment Canada's museum in Montréal, is devoted to environmental education and action. Since 1995, the Biosphère has increased awareness of environmental issues, including biodiversity, through its interactive and educational exhibits. The Biosphère has created a series of BioKits that encourage participants to use their five senses in exploring nature in urban and rural areas. Individuals, families and schools across Canada can download a BioKit by visiting their website.

Proud to be Canadian

There is no denying: Canada is huge. We are the second-largest country on Earth. Canada covers over 15 million square kilometres of land and water, containing approximately 24% of the planet's wetlands, 20% of its freshwater and 8% of its forests. We see biodiversity in every corner of our country and witness its impact on our economy, culture and society.

Canadians inhabit some of the most diverse natural settings in the world -- from coastal communities to arctic tundra, prairie grasslands to mountains, and even deserts. With such a variety of natural treasures, it is no surprise that the Government of Canada takes its role so seriously in conserving biodiversity.

Did you know...

Canada's boreal region covers 34% of the country's land mass and contains 21% of the world's total boreal forest.

The boreal forest, which is wooded mainly with coniferous trees, is a dynamic system of living organisms -- plants, animals, insects and micro-organisms, interacting with the soil, water and air.

Canada has a rich tradition of environmental awareness and conservation. In fact, Canadian governments began establishing protected areas not long after Confederation.

Did you know...

1872: First municipal park (Mount Royal, Quebec)
1885: First national park (Banff, Alberta)
1887: First wildlife sanctuary (Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan)
1893: First provincial park (Algonquin, Ontario)

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