OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 31, 2012) - The Canadian Museum of Nature is now offering free access to educational workshops for schools facing severe financial obstacles, thanks to support from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF).

Dubbed Nature Express, the free program includes transportation and general admission costs for students, as well as a curriculum-linked workshop led by a museum educator.

Nature Express is available to schools identified by their school boards as being disadvantaged due to economic, social or demographic factors. An estimated 1,200 students a year, from seven school boards in the National Capital Region, are expected to benefit from these free visits.

"We are grateful to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for supporting our efforts to connect with and inspire children about the natural world, especially those that may not otherwise be able to benefit from a visit to our museum," says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature.

"We understand the critical role that hands-on education plays in the lives of young Canadians," says Mary Desjardins, Executive Director of TD FEF. "That is why we are proud to support programs like Nature Express, which are focused on the history of our environment and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards."

For Nature Express, the museum offers a range of curriculum-based nature workshops for classes from Kindergarten to Grade 8 (secondary cycle 1 in Quebec). Some of the topics covered include fossils, plants, mammals, minerals, genetics and the environment.

Maggie Kilian, the museum's Head of Education, had proposed the outreach to disadvantaged schools based on her experience running a similar project at a botanical garden in Vancouver: "The payback was so high. The students who visited were very grateful, as they could learn about nature in a safe place that they might not otherwise have had access to. We look forward to having a similar impact with the museum's Nature Express program."

For details of the museum's workshops and Nature Express, visit the Teacher Zone at the museum's Web site,

About the Canadian Museum of Nature:

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes awareness of Canada's natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, on-going scientific research, a dynamic web site and the maintenance of a 10.5 million-specimen collection. The museum is a founding member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation:

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $60 million in funding to more than 20,000 environmental projects across Canada. In 2011, TD FEF provided more than $3.6 million in support of 1,058 projects. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environmental projects and programs. For more information on how to donate, visit

Contact Information:

Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature

Elizabeth McCrea
Director, Marketing and Communications
Canadian Museum of Nature