On Monday, Algoma University welcomed the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, Bob McDonald to campus to celebrate the launch of the new four-year Honours Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program.
Bob McDonald is the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, an award-winning science program that is heard by over 500,000 people weekly. McDonald is also a regular on CBC TV’s The National and host of the children’s series Head’s Up. As a writer, he has authored four bestselling science books, and has recently published his latest book, Canadian Space Walkers: Hadfield, MacLean and Williams Remember the Ultimate High Adventure. For his contributions in promoting science in Canada, McDonald has been awarded the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, among others. In 2008, he won a Gemini Award for “Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series”.
“We are thrilled to have Bob McDonald on campus to help us mark the launch of our new Environmental Science program,” said Dr. Celia Ross, Algoma University’s Acting President and Vice Chancellor. “Environmental Science is in high demand across the province as young people turn to this field of study to help solve the current problems facing humanity. Bob McDonald is a lead communicator for scientific and environmental research and he will raise excitement locally about studying in this crucial field.”
While on campus, McDonald toured the University’s Essar Convergence Centre (ECC), which boasts state-of-the-art laboratories, where course work will be completed by students in the new program. He delivered an hour keynote address to approximately 500 students from across Sault Ste. Marie, titled “Perspectives on a Planet”.
“Planets are everywhere. It looks like every star in our galaxy has planets, and while many of them could be warm enough to support life, we have yet to find another Earth. Through a cosmic journey to those other worlds, we will see how rare the Earth is, and why environmental science is so vitally important,” McDonald said following the keynote.
Later, McDonald spoke with media and various community partners at a launch party in The Speakeasy.
In February, Algoma U received ministerial consent to offer an Environmental Science program with courses beginning as early as September of 2017.
The new program is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating courses in biology, chemistry, and geography. Students enrolled in the program will develop critical thinking skills that will allow them to contribute solutions to the current environmental, social, and economic challenges facing the world in the twenty-first century. Subject areas include, but are not limited to, the spread and threat of invasive species, the continued loss of biodiversity and degradation of agricultural soil quality and availability, and other environmental changes. Students will complete an 80-hour internship and a thesis in their upper years.
For more information on the environmental science program or to apply, please visit www.algomau.ca/environmental-science.