THUNDER BAY, ON — Science North is extending its presence in Northern Ontario, thanks to the official opening today of a base in Thunder Bay.
The Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North was on hand to officially open the new facility at the Boys and Girls Club building.
“I am very pleased that Science North is now able to expand its reach and directly serve people from all across Northwestern Ontario,“ says Gravelle. “With this investment people from all across the North will benefit greatly from Science North’s unique programs.”
“The mandate of Science North is to serve all of Northern Ontario,” says Jim Marchbank, Science North CEO. “We are very grateful that Science North is able to invest in the resources required to expand science program outreach to schools and communities throughout the North, from Quebec to the Manitoba border.”
Science North’s outreach programs introduce a unique brand of hands-on science education experiences. This is done through the Cool Science Caravan where Science North staff travel in a van to several communities across the North throughout the year, delivering bilingual outreach programs in schools, at festivals and fairs, special events, malls and libraries. This summer, Science North is offering week-long summer science camps in nine communities west of Wawa. Staff also go into schools with more formal, curriculum-based structured programs and in the future, video/web conferencing will be offered where teachers are sent a kit with science equipment and supplies to share with their classroom, as a Science North Scientist delivers the science program from a studio located at Science North.
“This extended presence is not new to the North”, says Nicole Chiasson, Director of Northern Programs and Education. “It has been here before, but because of the distance between Sudbury and Thunder Bay and other northern centres, Science North staff were unable to be here as much as we’d have liked. Now, there is a facility from where outreach can be delivered to a much larger area.”
As Science North strives to fulfill its mission to serve all of Northern Ontario, the people hired possess strong backgrounds and skills in science communication.
The new Thunder Bay base and the programs it offers are a direct result of increased funding from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to the science centre’s annual provincial operating grant, announced in April of 2009.