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From climate change to yoga: UTSC invited families to rendezvous with science

Student volunteer Eric Lentz teaching kids about bats and bugs. Photo by Ken Jones.

It was a beautiful morning at the Toronto Zoo and families poured through the gates, many with strollers and wagons in tow. U of T Scarborough tents with cheery student volunteers from the Let’s Talk Science program greeted families with a zoo map of eight unique pavilions for Science Rendezvous, an annual event coinciding with Science Odyssey, the Government of Canada’s 10-day celebration of science in partnership with NSERC.

“Science Rendezvous is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the community and show the relevance of scientific discovery and scientific inquiry,” said Professor Bernie Kraatz, UTSC’s Vice-Principal of Research.

Zoo-goers experienced activities and live talks from UTSC scientists while moving through the pavilions. Meaghan Greer was visiting the Zoo with her six-year-old daughter Evelynn and was impressed by how knowledgeable and patient with children the student volunteers were as they described the science of bats and bugs at one pavilion stop. For the Greer family, though, the best stop of the day was vising the Tundra Trek. Greer said she felt her daughter gained the most knowledge about the environment from the polar bears. “It showed her how climate change is impacting bears and because this is something we’re talking about at home, it really stood out,” said Greer.

The science-focused day strengthens the community partnership between UTSC and the Toronto Zoo, which began in 2008. UTSC faculty hold appointments at the Zoo and teach jointly with Zoo research staff in the area of conservation. The Zoo is also a partner in UTSC’s Co-op program for undergraduate students.

“Our partnership with UTSC encourages the community to see first-hand conservation, science and higher education in action, and we’re thrilled more than 7,000 people visited the Zoo to experience Science Rendezvous,” said Jennifer Tracy, Toronto Zoo’s Senior Director of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships.

UTSC also hosted events at Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre with activities in yoga and buoyancy. View the Science Rendezvous photo album on Facebook.

© University of Toronto Scarborough