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 May 2009 - Nr. 5

Opening at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on May 16, 2009, the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity is devoted to exploring our worldís biodiversity and the numerous factors affecting its conservation and survival. This innovative and interactive gallery combines seven ecosystem experiences, approximately 2,500 specimens and the Earth Rangers Studio featuring live animal ambassadors to convey an important message about the stunning variety of life on Earth, the interconnectedness of natureís amazing web, and the ability that each of us has to care for the environment.

"This spectacular new gallery brings together the breadth of the ROMís natural history collections and the latest research by Museum curators to convey a powerful statement about life on Earth and life in crisis that is both compelling and hopeful," says William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO. "The additions of dynamic and thought-provoking programming, as well as live specimens, make this gallery a must-see destination for visitors of all ages."

Located on Level 2 of the ROMís Heritage Building, the Schad Gallery is at the centre of the Museumís galleries devoted to natural history. A diverse ROM curatorial team, made of experts specializing in areas spanning from sharks and insects to lichens, water lilies and herons, has been involved in the development of this 10,000 square-foot specimen-rich permanent gallery.

"The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity represents the much-anticipated return of the Life Sciences collections to the ROMís public spaces," says Doug Currie, Curator of Entomology in the ROMís Natural History department and the Schad Galleryís lead curator. "The ROMís curatorial team has been working diligently for two years to select the most spectacular specimens, the most compelling videos and the most fascinating information about our natural world. Visitors will walk away with a feeling of respect for our planet and a renewed sense of purpose to protect its biodiversity."

The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity is named for Robert Schad and his family. Robert Schad is the founder and chairman of Earth Rangers, a non-profit organization that empowers kids to help improve the health of the planet. Robertís wife Elizabeth Schad is a member of the ROM Board of Governors. Their generous gift supports the creation of this gallery, its programming, as well as related scientific research by the ROMís curators in the Department of Natural History.

Mr. Schad states, "We are pleased to partner with the ROM. Capitalizing on the Museumís extensive biodiversity collections, this gallery will effectively inform the visitor that the Earthís biodiversity is in crisis. As well, Earth Rangersí message of hope and action is a great complement to the gallery and will help families make positive changes in their daily lives to care for the environment. We are proud of the role played by Earth Rangers and the Schad Foundation to help the ROM bring the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity to reality."

Three core themes run throughout the gallery and are the driving forces behind each ecosystem and species on display. Life is Diverse illustrates the astonishing number and variety of species on Earth Ė so many that the true extent of biodiversity is not yet known. Life is Interconnected demonstrates how species and habitats are so tightly interwoven that any impact on one of them necessarily affects the whole ecosystem. Life is at Risk highlights that the "web of life" is threatening to unravel due to human activities. This theme clearly points to humans being very much part of the problem and equally have the ability to be part of the solution.


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