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Canadians across the country celebrate David Suzuki's 75th

VANCOUVER — Basketball star Steve Nash sent an on-line birthday message. Singer-songwriter Danny Michel wrote a song. And thousands of students across the country will take a walk outside to celebrate Dr. David Suzuki's 75th birthday this month.

The man who never stops moving, talking, reading, writing, teaching or crusading is turning three-quarters-of-a-century young on March 24. To celebrate, Canadians are showing Dr. Suzuki what his work means to them.

About 200 schools in communities ranging from Sointula, British Columbia, to Ohsweken, Ontario, to Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland, along with big cities and small towns in between, will take part in Canada's Biggest Virtual Birthday Party. Thousands and possibly tens of thousands of students and teachers will take a walkabout in their schoolyard and then email questions to Dr. Suzuki about what they experienced.

On March 30, Dr. Suzuki will talk with students and answer their questions. Schools will connect into the session via an Internet connection, see Dr. Suzuki through Cisco TelePresence.html® technology donated by Cisco Canada and join the conversation through Cisco WebEx® Meeting Center, now with high-quality video. For more information go to www.davidsuzuki.org/events/canadas-biggest-virtual-birthday-party/.

As part of the celebrations, Ontario singer-songwriter Danny Michel will be featured on the Playlist for the Planet album launching March 24. His song, Feather, Fur & Fin, beat out more than 600 songs submitted by independent artists across Canada in a public vote on CBC Radio 3. Playlist for the Planet is a new soundtrack for the environment with all proceeds going to support the work of the David Suzuki Foundation. Participating musicians across the country be hosting launch parties this month, please see the list below for more details.

Released nationally by Universal Music Canada, the Playlist for the Planet CD breaks the mould of what to expect from "environmental" music. From Rush to Raffi, and D.O.A. to LIGHTS, artists from every genre have created songs that we can rally behind. For more information on the Playlist for the Planet please go to www.davidsuzuki.org/playlist.

Basketball star Steve Nash and Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference are just a couple of Canadians who have sent personal messages and given a gift to the David Suzuki Foundation in support of Dr. Suzuki's mission for a healthier environment.

"He has done so much for our country, constantly there for us, working for the environment," Ference says. "This is an opportunity to thank him for what he has done and to give him a gift. Of course, the best gift to give him and what he would want most is for everyone to help support his work through the Foundation."

Check out Ference's fundraising page, or read Nash's personal message at www.HappyBirthdayDavidSuzuki.com.

Schools participating in Canada's Biggest Virtual Birthday Party are also being encouraged to set up fundraising pages. Any school that raises $75 or more will have its name entered into a draw to win a Flip camcorder from Cisco and an exclusive webinar with David Suzuki. Cisco Canada will match all funds raised up to $10,000.

"Giving back is fundamental to Cisco's culture," says Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale. "We are thrilled that the David Suzuki Foundation is embracing Cisco TelePresence technology as a way to decrease its environmental footprint and increase the impact of its work."

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For more information, contact:
Leanne Clare, Communications Specialist, 613-594-5410
email: lclare@davidsuzuki.org

Background Information:

Canada's Biggest Virtual Birthday Party

  • On March 30, Dr. Suzuki will give a presentation on our interconnection and interdependence with nature and how this inspired him to become a scientist. The presentation will include a question-and-answer period with questions submitted by students. The questions will be read aloud by the co-host of the event, George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC Television's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.
  • Cisco TelePresence technology provides an immersive meeting experience boasting high-definition video and audio clarity, allowing employees to meet face-to-face on a moment's notice and at the touch of a button. Cisco TelePresence solutions help people meet, share content, create high-quality video recordings and events, consult with experts, deliver powerful personalized services and collaborate, however far apart.
  • Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, now with high-quality video, is the easy way to share ideas with anyone, anywhere. The solution can help accelerate decision-making while facilitating collaboration over the web in real time with remote employees, customers and suppliers. Participants can also deliver presentations, demonstrate ap¬plications and update spreadsheets. Share anything on your desktop just as you would in person.
  • The David Suzuki foundation has Cisco TelePresence in each of its four offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. The TelePresence system in Vancouver is Cisco CTS 3010 TelePresence with three screens; the other three locations are Cisco CTS 1300 TelePresence with one screen and three cameras.

Playlist for the Planet

  • Launch parties for the Playlist for the Planet:
    • Danny Michel
      March 20, at 9:00 PM
      Drake Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
    • Ashelin
      March 23, at 7:00PM
      Robert G. Reid III Theatre, Memorial University, St, John's, Newfoundland
    • Glenn Sutter and Friends
      March 26, at 8:00pm
      The Artesian on 13th, Regina, Saskatchewan
    • Remy Rodden
      March 24, at 8pm
      Gold Rush Inn, Gold Pan Saloon, Whitehorse, Yukon
  • Major Artists involved: Great Big Sea, Joel Plaskett, D.O.A., Raffi, Johnny Reid, Jessie Farrell, Randy Bachman, K-OS and Sebastian Grangier, Tom Jackson, Rush, The Trews, LIGHTS, Tanya Tagaq, Todd Butler, Hayley Sales, Alpha Yaya Diallo, Gordon Lightfoot, and Bruce Cockburn.
  • Independent artist winners (with location)
    S.O.S., Delhi 2 Dublin (British Columbia)
    The One, Keith and Renee (Manitoba)
    Let's Keep It Natural, Paper Lions (Prince Edward Island)
    Feather, Fur & Fin, Danny Michel (Ontario)
    Black Gold, Berna-Dean Holland (Alberta)
    I Don't Want To Know, David Myles (Nova Scotia)
    Weight of the World, Glenn Sutter (Saskatchewan)
    Think About the Planet, Remy Rodden (The North)
    Heal, Jack Lavoie (Quebec)
    Song For Mariana, Ashelin (Newfoundland and Labrador)
    Our World, Katie MacDonald (New Brunswick)
March 14, 2011