Thursday, May 27, 2010

3,400 Acres of Carolinian Canada Protected Thanks to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Gift to Nature Conservancy of Canada

Long Point Biosphere Reserve

Part of $100 Million Donated by The Foundation to Organizations across Canada, protecting more than 100,000 acres

TORONTO, May 27, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, a private family foundation, has made possible the preservation and restoration of more than 3,400 acres (1,375 hectares) of Carolinian Canada land in the Norfolk region of south-western Ontario, one of the most biologically diverse regions of Canada. Through a donation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, these lands will be gradually restored to natural habitat for many species-at-risk.

Since the early 1980s, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has donated more than $100 million to conservation organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada to conserve more than 100,000 acres of significant natural habitats across Canada.

"Canada is blessed with a rich and diverse natural legacy. Through careful science and advanced stewardship techniques and the co-ordinated efforts of private individuals, family foundations, non-governmental organizations, and others, we can protect that legacy for generations to come," said Geordie Dalglish, Chair of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

The Foundation's Norfolk Carolinian Legacy project will help the Nature Conservancy of Canada preserve land on the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, part of the Carolinian Life Zone - which comprises less than a quarter of one percent of Canada's landmass, but is home to 25 percent of all species at risk. The lands that are part of this initiative are outstanding examples of Norfolk County's best forests, savannahs and wetlands.

The timing of this project is especially significant as 2010 is the U.N. International Year of Biodiversity. Areas of Norfolk County and Long Point are part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, an area that has been designated as one where conservation and sustainable land use can exist in harmony.

"We are inspired by the commitment of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation to champion conservation in Canada," says John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "The Weston family's generosity and foresight have allowed us to dream and plan for projects of this scope across the country. They have ensured a remarkable legacy."

About the Project

The Norfolk Carolinian Legacy land is home to many species at risk of extinction in Canada including the Acadian Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler, American Badger, Eastern Foxsnake, Spotted Turtle, American Chestnut and Eastern Flowering Dogwood. In fact, Norfolk County is home to 60 nationally listed species-at-risk and 221 provincially rare species.

The area is home to a number of key conservation initiatives including Backus Woods, Long Point, the South Walsingham forest and the St. Williams Conservation Reserve.

"We're particularly pleased that this project will contribute to the significant progress already made by the Norfolk community to have conservation co-exist productively with agriculture and other land uses," said Dalglish. "Walking trails will be established for local community access and also to support local tourism."


- The Norfolk Carolinan region is Canada's biodiversity "hotspot";
- This portion of the Carolinian Life Zone contains one of the highest densities of species-at-risk in the country;
- The area has the highest level of forest cover in south-western Ontario;
- The W. Garfield Weston Foundation's investment in the Norfolk Carolinian Legacy project will increase the amount of natural habitat on the landscape and improve corridors and linkages among existing protected areas at Long Point, Backus Woods, South Walsingham and the St. Williams Conservation Reserve;
- Clean water in Dedrick Creek and Big Creek are essential to maintaining the health of Long Point Bay and its significant sport and commercial fisheries;
- Each year tens of thousands of ducks, geese and swans, and hundreds of thousands, to millions of smaller birds stop in the region to rest and feed during spring and fall migration;
- Long Point is the longest freshwater sand spit in the world.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation first established in the 1950's by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta. The Foundation directs the majority of its funds to organizations and projects in the fields of land conservation, education, and science in Canada's North. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of helping charitable organizations to make a difference and enhance the quality of life for all Canadians.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has long played a leading role in helping to preserve Canada's unique landscapes. The Foundation has previously worked with NCC to support the conservation of ecologically significant land from coast to coast, including the Waterton Park Front in Alberta, Old Man on His Back in Saskatchewan and the Musquash Estuary in New Brunswick.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our valuable natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) coast to coast. By investing in conservation we are ensuring our natural world remains a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that filters the air we breathe and the water we drink. Through strong partnerships NCC works to safeguard our natural areas so that our children and grandchildren will have the chance to enjoy them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What existed before the big bang?

by Robert Lamb

It is difficult enough to imagine a time, roughly 13.7 billion years ago, when the entire universe existed as a singularity. According to the big bang theory, one of the main contenders vying to explain how the universe came to be, all the matter in the cosmos -- all of space itself -- existed in a form smaller than a subatomic particle.

Once you think about that, an even more difficult question arises: What existed just before the big bang occurred?

The question itself predates modern cosmology by at least 1,600 years. Fourth-century theologian St. Augustine wrestled with the nature of God before the creation of the universe. His answer? Time was part of God's creation, and there simply was no "before" that a deity could call home.

Armed with the best physics of the 20th century, Albert Einstein came to very similar conclusions with his theory of relativity. Just consider the effect of mass on time. A planet's hefty mass warps time -- making time run a tiny bit slower for a human on Earth's surface than a satellite in orbit. The difference is too small to notice, but time even runs more slowly for someone standing next to a large boulder than it does for a person standing alone in a field. The pre-big bang singularity possessed all the mass in the universe, effectively bringing time to a standstill.

Following this line of logic, the title of this article is fundamentally flawed. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, time only came into being as that primordial singularity expanded toward its current size and shape.

Case closed? Far from it. This is one cosmological quandary that won't stay dead. In the decades following Einstein's death, the advent of quantum physics and a host of new theories resurrected questions about the pre-big bang universe. Keep reading to learn about some of them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Author Encourages Older Adults' Faith

from Christian Newswire
by; Janice Neely

NASHVILLE, U.S.A. May 17, 2010 /Christian Newswire/ -- Missy Buchanan is a woman on a mission to spread the news that aging is part of God's plan for the journey of life. In honor of Older Adult Month, Buchanan chose May to launch her new show on BlogTalkRadio, "Aging and Faith with Missy Buchanan." Her next live show will be Tuesday, May 25th at 3:00 p.m. CST. Buchanan's program is meant to be a resource for older adults and those who love and care for them.

As a middle-aged adult, Buchanan attributes her passion and mission to her experiences with her parents, who struggled physically in their later years. When they moved to an independent living facility, Buchanan visited her parents for several hours each day to help them with specific needs. Along the way she built relationships with other residents of her parents' facility.

"All around me," Buchanan remarks, "I saw a huge need for spiritual nourishment and for families and churches to more fully empathize with the feelings of aging loved ones--both the joys and the challenges. These people were desperate to hear that their lives still mattered--that they still had value." Unfortunately, too often, the attitude toward homebound adults is, "Out of sight, out of mind." more story at

The Salvation Army Opens Doors to Public During National Red Shield Campaign

Largest Non-governmental Provider of Social Service in Canada Hosts Open House Events at Facilities Nationwide

TORONTO, May 19, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the second consecutive year, The Salvation Army is opening its doors to the public, inviting Canadians to tour its facilities and see firsthand the social services it provides to more than 1.5 million people in need each year. The Salvation Army's 2010 National Open House is the largest one-day event culminating a month-long fundraising and public awareness campaign that seeks to educate the public about the cycle of poverty in Canada and raise funds to help combat the problem.

"Every day, The Salvation Army works in more than 400 local communities to deliver primary care services to the poor and homeless," said Commissioner William W. Francis, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army in Canada. "Today, we are inviting community members into our facilities, and we ask for their continued support."

The national open house events will spotlight the issues of homelessness and poverty, which currently affect more than three million people across Canada. Nationwide, there are more than 21 open house events taking place in many provinces across Canada. Earlier this month, The Salvation Army released a report, entitled "Poverty shouldn't be a life sentence." The primary findings indicate that one out of every nine Canadian adults have experienced or come close to experiencing homelessness. The Salvation Army also released data showing that demand for general social services has increased by 26 percent since 2008.

"Homelessness and poverty are two problems growing in size," said Commander Francis. "The Salvation Army serves the poor largely from contributions made by local community members. We invite all those who want to help in the fight against poverty to visit our centres on May 19th."

Members of the public can visit Salvation Army community centres on May 19th. Visitors can participate in open house events and activities within their community by visiting

The National Red Shield Campaign runs through May 31st. This year's goal is to raise $2.75 million. Money raised during the campaign directly supports those living in poverty through Salvation Army social services like emergency shelter care, substance abuse counselling and employment training.

Financial contributions can be made by visiting, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), by mailing donations to The Salvation Army, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, ON M4H1P4 or by dropping off financial donations at the closet Salvation Army facility in your area.

Donors can also support the May Red Shield Campaign by texting HOME to 45678 from most wireless phones in Canada. A $5 donation will be added to your monthly wireless phone bill.

About The Red Shield Campaign:

The National Red Shield Campaign is an annual fundraising and public awareness campaign held annually throughout the month of May. The Salvation Army utilizes online, phone, direct mail and door-to-door appeals to solicit donations from generous Canadians. Giving to The Salvation Army offers an opportunity to invest in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community. 86 cents of every dollar raised by The Salvation Army goes directly to support those in need.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community