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Lucky Grade 8 Class From Saskatchewan Wins Canada's Coolest School Trip

Parks Canada announces winners of Canada's Coolest School Trip and launch the "Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone" map

OTTAWA, April 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced that a grade 8 class from Saskatchewan has won Canada's Coolest School Trip contest of the My Parks Pass program. The lucky class will be travelling to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to visit Parks Canada's Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

"Congratulations to Mrs. Laurie Pylatuk's grade 8 class from Caronport Elementary School on winning Canada's Coolest School Trip contest," said Minister Kent. "I have no doubt that this trip to some of Parks Canada's special places will create lifelong memories and a lasting connection between the students and this region of Canada known for its scenery and culture."

Before receiving the good news, the winning class had the opportunity to be the very first students to try out the new Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone program . This program includes a giant floor map created with Canadian Geographic Education and brings to life important Parks Canada stories and places through exciting educational activities. Schools are invited to request, free of charge, the giant floor map which is a fun way to learn about Canada's nature and history. For more information visit www.canadiangeographic.ca.

Following the map activity, Minister Kent announced to the class that they had won the contest. The class is thrilled and excited about their June 3-7 trip to Cape Breton.

To enter the contest, classes were invited to submit a video, audio or print advertisement encouraging Canadians to explore the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and/or Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Between November 2012 and March 2013, 47 entries were submitted. Following public voting, a panel of judges reviewed the top five entries in each category and awarded the grand prize and three runner-up prizes. The winning class submitted a video ad comparing a field trip in Saskatchewan, with one that would take place at the Fortress of Louisbourg. The runner-up winners are Grade 8 classes from Environmental School in Maple Ridge, British Columbia (video), École Héritage in Falher, Alberta (audio) and Tyndale Christian School in Calgary, Alberta (print). Each will receive a special presentation by Parks Canada, a pizza party and $500 will be donated to a charity of their choice. To view the entries visit www.contest.myparkspass.ca.

"I am very proud that the video produced by Mrs. Pylatuk's grade 8 class from Caronport Elementary School won Canada's Coolest School Trip, a program aimed at helping teachers in their work and students learn more about our great country," said Mr. Ray Boughen, Member of Parliament for Palliser, Saskatchewan, who was attending the announcement.

My Parks Pass and Canada's Coolest School Trip are a collaboration between Parks Canada, Canadian Geographic Education, The Historica-Dominion Institute and Nature Canada. The class will be flying on-board Air Canada, a proud partner of the My Parks Pass program and Canada's Coolest School Trip contest.

The My Parks Pass program grants grade 8 / secondary 2 students across Canada free access for one year to any national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas administrated by Parks Canada, including free entry for classes. The program also entitles families to receive a discount on daily and annual family passes.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada's historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

BACKGROUNDER

Canada's Coolest School Trip contest and the My Parks Pass program

My Parks Pass provides real and/or virtual opportunities for ongoing youth engagement, learning and connection with Canada's natural and cultural heritage. Parks Canada is proud to collaborate with dedicated partners in this initiative; together, we work to ensure that all Canadian students have an opportunity to learn about the stories and places represented by national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites.

A few words from our national partners:

"The students who won Canada's Coolest School Trip this year clearly demonstrated a fine appreciation of Canadian geography. As a result they have earned an incomparable opportunity to explore a special place in our vast and diverse land. This partnership with Parks Canada has enabled the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to fulfill its mission to truly make Canada better known to young Canadians. We look forward to extending this opportunity to many other students in years to come. " John Geiger , president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society

"Nature Canada is pleased to be a member of the My Parks Pass program. This program has effectively engaged over 10,000 8th graders annually online and on site in Parks Canada's places. Many lucky winning families and classes have experienced spectacular Canadian landscapes and learned about the rich natural heritage that surrounds us. Nature Canada is committed to pushing the boundaries beyond the typical offerings of a youth-based awareness and education program, creating meaningful connections between Canadian youth and families and the nature and biodiversity around us." Ian Davidson , Executive Director of Nature Canada

"The My Parks Pass program provides students with an incredible opportunity to connect with the physical places where key moments of our country's history took place. We're delighted to congratulate the grade 8 students from Caronport Elementary School as the winners of this year's Canada's Coolest School Trip contest." Anthony Wilson-Smith , president of The Historica-Dominion Institute

"All of us at Air Canada, and especially our team at Regina Airport, look forward to welcoming the students from Caronport Elementary School onboard our flights to Toronto and onwards to Sydney, NS, in June. As the country's largest airline serving the most communities Canada-wide, Air Canada is delighted to support young Canadians in their exploration of our great country through our partnership in Canada's Coolest School Trip contest. Fostering relationships between the next generation and Canada's treasured and natural heritage is also consistent with Air Canada's social responsibilities of supporting communities and helping to promote environmental stewardship." Craig Landry , Vice President, Marketing, at Air Canada

The national partners of the My Parks Pass program also acknowledge the involvement, support and enthusiasm of many Nova Scotia partners who together, look forward to welcoming the winning class of the 2012-2013 edition of Canada's Coolest School Trip contest. This year local partners are: Ambassatours Gray Line, Cape Breton University, Cape Breton Partnership, Destination Cape Breton Association, Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, and Cape Breton Resorts.

Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone Giant Floor Map

The objective of the Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone map program is to provide opportunities for youth to learn about the important stories and places that are represented by Canada's national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.

The map is 11 x 9 metres (35 x 26 feet) and includes 10 activities covering Parks Canada themes and stories - students can follow the migration route of species at risk, go on a road trip to Parks Canada places, guess the route of the lost ships of the Franklin expedition, and more. The main audience is Kindergarten to grade 8 students. The map is available to all schools in Canada to borrow for free, for a two-week period. Five of these maps, along with the activity suitcases, are available.

The Royal Canadian Geographic Society has collaborated with Parks Canada to develop and deliver this program. Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone map program is separate from, but in support of, the My Parks Pass initiative .

"This new giant floor map of Canada's national parks represents a breakthrough in geographic education in Canada, said John Geiger , president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. A joint initiative of Parks Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, this innovative educational resource brings our natural and cultural heritage within walking distance of Canadian students. It is a tremendous incentive for Canadian youth to explore and discover our great country. "

For more information and to order the map for your school, visit: www.canadiangeographic.ca/educational_products/parks_canada_floor_map.asp

SOURCE Parks Canada

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