Roberta Bondar inspiring youth to mark Ontario 150 with photos of nature

Canada's first female astronaut, Roberta Bondar was in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday, as part of a seven city tour across northern Ontario. She is trying to get students involved in the Ontario 150 Bondar Challenge. She's asking students to take a picture of nature in hopes of it still being there in 150 years.

Canada's first female astronaut touring northern Ontario to promote photography challenge

Canada's first female astronaut Roberta Bondar says she hopes to inspire children to take pictures of the natural environment as part of the Ontario 150 Bondar Challenge. (Jason Turnbull/CBC)

It was 25 years ago that Sault Ste Marie's Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman to shoot into space.

She says that trip really stuck with her and inspired her to want to protect the planet.

Bondar was at Science North in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday to talk with students.

She wants to get youth outside exploring nature and photographing the natural wonders of our environment.

It's part of Ontario 150 Bondar Challenge.

Will it still be around in 150 years?

The hope is that those same wonders will still exist in 150 years, says Bondar.

"We get them to take a photograph and describe that photograph and why it was important to them. And to ask questions. We're trying to combine art and science so that people have the curiosity and the creativity that both disciplines offer."

Photographs can be sent to

"When you think about all our resources, really, the only one that's renewable all the time is sunlight. When we look at our planet we have to look at the wonderful organisms that take that sunlight and produce it."

Bondar is also an avid photographer. Her pictures are being featured in an exhibit at the science centre.

She was in Sudbury as part of a seven city tour across northern Ontario, called Earth Matters. It's a partnership between Science North and the Roberta Bondar Foundation.

With the tour, Bondar has already been to Sault Ste Marie, North Bay and Timmins. Dates for Manitoulin Island will be confirmed shortly.

It was when she was on Discovery 25 years ago that Bondar says she looked out on to earth and committed to protecting the planet.

"If we don't learn to respect [the environment], or teach kids coming through that this is important to us it will bite us in the tail."

With files from Jason Turnbull