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New Lakehead – Ontario Nature program to recognize Master Naturalists

Caroline Schultz, Kim Fedderson © Lakehead University

Some of Ontario’s leading naturalists met today at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus to celebrate the launch of a new Ontario Master Naturalist Program (OMNP).

The first of its kind in Canada, the program is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed by Lakehead University and Ontario Nature. The new partnership will provide the unique opportunity for naturalists and those dedicated to environmental stewardship to become certified as Master Naturalists.

Award-winning naturalist Bob Bowles – an avid supporter of Lakehead University’s education and research activities – conceived the program. Bowles chairs a steering committee of experts from the region, including representatives from Ontario Nature and Lakehead faculty members that designed the program.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ontario Nature to launch this new Master Naturalist program,” said Dr. Kim Fedderson, Dean & Vice-Provost of the Orillia campus. “Bob continues to open doors for Lakehead, this time with Ontario Nature, which has resulted in this exceptional opportunity to members of our community.”

“Ontario is blessed with an active group of people who care deeply about the environment,” said Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s Executive Director. “By partnering with Lakehead, we will now be able to formally recognize and support these dedicated volunteers.”

The inaugural OMNP, to be offered this spring, involves a 6-module course of in-class instruction, fieldwork and volunteer commitment.

“We are excited about the program,” said Bowles. “Each of the learning modules focuses on a different interest area – from local plant species, insects and reptiles, to birds, wetlands and landscapes. Participants will be able to broaden their knowledge base and fast-track their level of expertise.”

Details about the program, including registration information, can be found online at, www.lakeheadu.ca/about/orillia-campus/community-programs/omnp and ontarionature.org/masternaturalist or by contacting Bowles at masternaturalist@lakeheadu.ca.

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Lakehead University Orillia Campus Dean & Vice-Provost Dr. Kim Fedderson and Ontario Nature Executive Director Caroline Schultz sign a Memorandum of Understanding, launching Canada’s first Master Naturalist Program.

MEDIA: For more information, please contact:

  • Communications Officer, Lakehead Orillia – Kathy Hunt, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or kjhunt3@lakeheadu.ca.
  • Communications Manager, Ontario Nature – John Hassell, at 416-444-8419 ext. 269 (work) or 416-786-2171 (mobile) or johnh@ontarionature.org.

In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education. Guided by its Strategic Plan (2013-2018), Lakehead is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community. About 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies.

Maclean’s 2015 University Rankings places Lakehead University 2nd in Ontario and among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities, and 1st among Ontario’s undergraduate universities for Total Research Dollars, Social Sciences & Humanities Grants, and Library Expenses. In 2014, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead 2nd in Ontario and 3rd among Canada’s undergraduate universities.

Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters and 150 member groups across Ontario (charitable registration # 10737 8952 RR0001). For more information, visit www.ontarionature.org.