Sault Ste. Marie native Dr. Roberta Bondar is launching a new national award to recognize innovation and passion for the natural world.
The inaugural Roberta Bondar Foundation Award for Innovation and Creativity will be presented on Jan. 22 during a virtual celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of Bondar’s historic space flight and the recipient of the award will be named on Jan. 20.
The virtual event will include greetings from Anne Murray, Buffy Sainte- Marie, Susan Aglukark, Hayley Wickenheiser and Michael Serapio. Tickets are still available and more information can be found here.
Bondar became the first Canadian woman and first neurologist in space when she launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery on Jan. 22, 1992.
Bondar circled the Earth 129 times during the mission, covering a total of 3.3 million miles.
In a news release announcing the award, Bondar is said to have seen the planet from a different perspective and was committed to combine medicine, scientific research and knowledge of the environment to build hope for the future of humanity.
The mission of her foundation is to connect people to the natural world while inspiring conservation of the environment and building healthier lives.
“We know there are many organizations and people in Canada who share our vision for a healthy planet and a healthy population and we want to recognize their good work in celebrating and protecting our natural world,” said Bondar.
Through the Foundation, she has partnered with NASA to foster awareness about the effect of climate change and human activity on migratory paths of endangered avian species. She has also inspired thousands of young people to examine the natural world through experiential outdoor programming.
Bondar recently spoke to SooToday about her experiences growing up in Sault Ste. Marie and how they led to her work and life's passions.