News History

February 12, 2024
Common Voices Lecture with Dr. Roberta Bondar


This year’s TRUSU Common Voices Lecture Series features Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space!

Join us for a captivating evening with Dr Bondar as she speaks on Perspective Shift: Moving Beyond the Familiar to Reach for the Extraordinary.

The event will take place in the Grand Hall, Campus Activity Centre on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend the event, but seating is limited so please arrive early to secure your spot. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Get more details here

December 11, 2023
First Canadian Woman in Space


Roberta Bondar is Canada’s first female astronaut and neurologist in space. Her pursuits in the fields of science, medicine, and education continue to inspire generations of Canadians.

Traveling aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1992 Roberta Bondar became Canada’s first woman astronaut and the first neurologist in space. Following her space mission, she led an international space medicine research team working with NASA for over a decade.

Her outstanding contributions earned her the NASA Space Flight Medal, as well as induction into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. In 2009 Bondar founded The Roberta Bondar Foundation, promoting environmental education through photography.

She is the recipient of numerous accolades including Officer of the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario, 24 honorary doctorates from North American universities and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

November 10, 2023 to January 7, 2024
Patterns and Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive


Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive is an exhibition of selected high-resolution images from the project, Space for Birds.

By integrating three perspectives of migratory bird corridors—space, aerial and surface—this global, emotional story encourages ethical protection of fragile, endangered, and threatened avian species and the habitats they need to survive. It infuses the creative, artistic elements of the natural world with the energy of curiosity for things that science attempts to understand.

In this exhibition, three endangered and threatened migratory birds that cross international boundaries, are footholds in a new consciousness of the natural world that is completely exposed to the Earth within, and the universe beyond. Sustainability of life means understanding the complexities of integrating the natural world with one that is of human construct. To protect life that cannot protect itself from human impact and the challenges of climate change, we must engage ethically in lives beyond our own to find meaning for our own.

July 14, 2023
Humans can 'learn a lot' from nature: BONDAR


The Sault Ste. Marie native, and Canada’s first woman in space, tracks three species in her new exhibition that launches in Sault Ste. Marie. Ten years in development, Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive runs until Oct. 15 at Art Gallery of Algoma.

Whooping cranes, lesser flamingos and piping plovers are all at risk due to more intense storms, water demands of humans and loss of habitats needed during migration.

“These birds are symbolic of their challenges as migratory birds,” said Bondar during a VIP launch on Wednesday. “I’m hoping that you will love them all and that you will want to make sure that the things you do don’t have that negative impact.”

July 13, 2023
Bondar unveils powerful photo exhibition at hometown gallery


More than 10 years of bird migratory photography and research was displayed for the first time at the Art Gallery of Algoma on Wednesday by one of the Sault’s most famous citizens.

Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman and neurologist in space, was joined by 150 residents, dignitaries, family members, and other colleagues at the art gallery for an exclusive first-look at her photographic exhibition entitled ‘Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive.’

Featuring 53 photos, Bondar’s research project, called the AMASS (Avian Migration Aerial, Surface, Space) or ‘Space for Birds,’ had collaborated with NASA to track the pathways of seven unique avian species from the ground, air, and space.

July 13, 2023
Dr. Roberta Bondar in the Sault to unveil new photo exhibit


Dr. Roberta Bondar is a woman of many talents.

The first Canadian woman and neurologist to visit space, she has also become a renowned photographer.

The Sault native has had five art exhibits showcasing her knack for capturing the beauty of the natural world. Now in her sixth exhibit, she's putting a message of conservation behind her work.

Bondar, 77, unveiled ‘Patterns & Parallels: The Great Imperative to Survive’ to a packed gallery space at the Art Gallery of Algoma on Wednesday evening before its public opening.

April 11, 2023
Dr. Roberta Bondar’s passion for flight and nature continues to soar


Canada’s first woman to go to space is still living out her passion for flight – but in an entirely unique and environmentally-driven way.

For the better part of the decade, the Sault’s Dr. Roberta Bondar and her team at the Roberta Bondar Foundation have travelled all over the world photographing and documenting the migratory patterns and habitats of a variety of threatened and endangered species of birds.

Bondar's research project, called the AMASS (Avian Migration Aerial, Surface, Space) or ‘Space for Birds,’ collaborates with NASA to track the pathways of seven unique avian species from the ground, air, and space.

The retired astronaut says the idea of the project, which will produce a number of publications and exhibits for the public to view their findings, will be to connect people to the planet and natural environment in a meaningful way.

“It’s an inspirational message,” she says. “This is to be some way of making people be inspired by the feats these birds go through in order to survive, and what we can do to help them continue to live.”

“We want to give people that sense of exploration and discovery to try to share what astronauts see. Although it’s not quite the same impact as being there and seeing it in three dimensions, it’s trying to shape people into thinking about the earth as a planet and the life that’s on it.”

April 9, 2023
Canada's Hansen ready for moon mission, says Dr. Roberta Bondar


NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced last week that London, Ont., native Jeremy Hansen would join three Americans on the Artemis II mission – an historic 10-day expedition in which his team will orbit the Moon.

Hopeful for a November 2024 launch, Hansen, who will serve as one of the flight’s two mission specialists, will become the first Canadian and first non-American to travel outside of low Earth orbit.

Familiar with recording some firsts of her own, the Sault’s Dr. Roberta Bondar says the significance of Hansen’s mission for Canada is enormous.

June 22, 2022
Senate showcases ‘Visual Voices’ of artists Roberta Bondar and Edward Burtynsky


Two renowned Canadian artists are lending their artworks to the Senate for a new exhibit highlighting the effects of climate change on the country’s landscapes and endangered species.

Astronaut, neurologist and artist Roberta Bondar and landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky — known for his large-scale images of industrialization’s impact on nature — have each contributed a photograph to “Visual Voices: Artists & the Environment”, an art installation at the Senate of Canada Building.

Dr. Bondar, who was the first Canadian woman in space, went to great heights to capture her work, Endangered Shadows. The digital aerial image shows a group of Whooping Cranes in the Prairie Pothole Region of Saskatchewan, a common stopover for the endangered birds’ biannual migration.

The rich textures of the high-resolution photograph and the angle of the light hitting the staging pond make it look as if a large tidal wave is threatening to engulf the birds. It’s symbolic of the dangers that the Whooping Cranes face as climate change puts their habitats and migratory corridors at risk.

Mr. Burtynsky’s Alberta Oil Sands #6, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, 2007 provides a large-scale view of the oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, documenting the human impacts on the landscape.

These artworks also honour the important role artists play in sparking discussions about issues of national importance, like climate change.

Ontario Medical Association
January 12, 2022
Still exploring 30 years after space voyage


Astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar uses her passion for photography to encourage people to protect the planet

Dr. Roberta Bondar's world was forever altered in January 1992 when she looked down on Earth from the Space Shuttle Discovery and made a commitment to focus on protecting the natural world for the rest of her life. Thirty years after she became the first Canadian female astronaut in space and the first neurologist, Dr. Bondar continues to be busy connecting people to the natural world and inspiring them to respect and conserve the global environment.

“All the pictures in the world don’t do it justice,” Dr. Bondar said of looking out the flight deck window at our planet. Being able to see Earth, but not hear anything – not the birds chirping, not the wind rustling through the leaves – made her realize what a lonely planet it would be without life on it. “That was the premise for my wanting to come back and explore the planet and try to share with people the need to protect the natural world so that it doesn’t disappear, that all the life forms that are on it have a purpose in the big ecosystem that helps us live and thrive.”

In celebration of Dr. Bondar’s historic voyage to space, The Roberta Bondar Foundation is hosting a virtual evening with the former space traveller on Saturday, Jan. 22, 30 years to the day since she lifted off for an eight-day journey in which she circled Earth 129 times. The Ontario Medical Association is a sponsor of the event, which will include congratulations by singers Anne Murray, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Susan Aglukark, hockey legend and doctor Hayley Wickenheiser and astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Tickets for the main event and VIP gathering are available at Eventbrite or

While she will share stories about her space flight, Dr. Bondar will also talk about her explorations of Earth since then, including her work with the Roberta Bondar Foundation, the environmental education organization she established in 2009. As a physician, wildlife photographer, scientist, author, pilot, skydiver and environmentalist, she has much to share. She says she was honoured to be the first female Canadian astronaut in space ─ with all the responsibility that came with being a trailblazer. Dr. Bondar is equally proud to have been the world’s first neurologist in space, with the opportunity to study how spaceflight affects the nervous system and other parts of the human body.

NASA released its new ISS research feature on our Space For Birds | AMASS research project in time to share on World Migratory Bird Day 2021.

Space Station Images Trace Bird Migrations

AMASS project designer-photographer Dr Roberta Bondar, ISS astronaut-photographer Dr. David Saint-Jacques, and CEO Payload operator Andrea Meado relate their unique project views and commentary.

The ISS images are part of the space station’s Crew Earth Observation [CEO] project that has supported AMASS since 2016, by photographing locations of bird migration across the globe, for example, along the migratory paths of Lesser Flamingo, Piping Plover, Red Knot, Whooping Crane, and other species.

What can a collaboration of perspectives produce? Check out the story map of the Red Knot.

The AMASS Species Migratory Journeys are individually featured on their individual species StoryMaps

The Roberta Bondar Foundation’s Space For Birds | AMASS research project will host future exhibits and educational events.

Toronto ON
The Roberta Bondar Foundation
Apr 28, 2021

This Is Our Shot, Canada!

Dr. Roberta Bondar joins with thousands of Canadians to share her COVID-19 vaccination message for This Is Our Shot CA campaign. Speaking as a photographer, a physician, a neurologist, and an astronaut, she encourages us to complete our own vaccination path not only for ourselves and loved ones but also for those whose lives have yet to begin.

Once she is fully vaccinated, Dr. Bondar looks forward to resuming her international Space For Birds | AMASS research project documenting the lives and perils of endangered and migratory birds as they travel the world.

Dallas Fort Worth Texas
Consulate General of Canada in Dallas, United States
Apr 12, 2021


International Day of Human Space Flight

Making her splash in the southern U.S.A., Betty Beaver fosters friendships as she uncovers neat nuggets of neighbourly similarities and differences between Canadians and southwestern Americans.

Today, Betty interviews Dr. Roberta Bondar, the world’s first Neurologist in space and Canada’s first female astronaut, to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Human Space Flight

Dr. Bondar talks about her most favorite memories growing up in Ontario and wanting to be an astronaut, the connection between space exploration and Nature conservation, her connections to the Southwest U.S., the the Whooping Cranes in Port Aransas, and how you can explore both Nature and space up close and comfortable while stuck at home!

Betty is destined to continue busy as a beaver for the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas Fort Worth.

Toronto Ontario
Mar 16, 2021


Launch Day! Engineering Our Future Campaign

Launched online today on and in the National Post, the Engineering Our Future campaign.

Dr. Bondar details the need for and value of Diversity in education, cultural life experience, team collaborations, and group fieldwork.

“The Engineering Our Future campaign aims to bridge the knowledge gaps around equity in engineers, types of engineering, and the importance of the industry to Canada as a whole.”

International Space Station
Mar 2, 2021


International Space Station Images Trace Bird Migrations

The latest report about our AMASS SpaceForBirds project is featured in today’s ISS Research News. Images are part of the space station’s Crew Earth Observation (CEO) project that has supported AMASS since 2016, by photographing locations of bird migration across the globe, for example, along the North American migratory path of the Whooping Crane.

The Space Station Research article outlines the international scope of AMASS, designed by Principal Investigator and Project Lead, Dr. Roberta Bondar, bringing its growth and achievement into current focus. Canadian astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques shares his point of view as a space station’s Crew Earth Observer who contributes to Bondar’s ground and aerial documentation.

Already the project’s bird migration images & species information are incorporated in the CSA’s Exploring Earth, an educational project using photos from space on an interactive map.

The Roberta Bondar Foundation’s AMASS project will host future exhibits and educational events. Its research group is creating online story maps to provide information about the biology and survival perils for each of seven species, along with images, video, and maps of land use changes.

What can a collaboration of perspectives produce? Check out the story map of the Lesser Flamingo

Toronto Ontario
Harbourfront Centre
Jan 16, 2021


Northern Ontario Diaries

Ten Northern Ontario personalities serve up ten individual story slices from their lives in the auditory travel experience, Northern Ontario Diaries. Each person relates their own story in their own voice – told from different locations around Harbourfront Centre / Ontario Square – QR-code activated and/or speaker broadcast.

Dr Roberta Bondar tells her Moon Story as she joins fellow Northern Ontarians Patrick Hunter, Stephanie Piché, Barbara Nolan, Adrian Sutherland, Eva Bonjour-Liss & Luke Dinan, Annette Pateman, Jean E. Pendziwol, Waubgeshig Rice, and Wayne Taipale.

Northern Ontario Diaries
January 16–February 7, 2021 / 10am–10pm

Toronto Ontario
The Roberta Bondar Foundation
Dec 7, 2020

50th Anniversary of the Status of Women Report

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the Status of Women Report, Dr. Roberta Bondar lends her voice to Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health.

As the world’s first neurologist & the first Canadian woman in space, Dr. Bondar encourages us to continue the fight for gender equality so that gender and race do not dismiss opportunity.

Ottawa Ontario
Tourism Canada
Dec 4, 2020

This is Canada NICE | Explore Canada

The official Tourism Canada YouTube channel features a new short animation “Helmed by the creators of the Broadway musical Come From Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein” featuring the voices of well-known Canadians.

Your Challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to locate Roberta’s character and to recognize her voice!

How many Canadian references do you “get”?

Some helpful clues…

Dec 4, 2020

EcoSchools Canada teams up with The Roberta Bondar Foundation to expand The Bondar Challenge to all Canadian schools

Students across Canada can now participate in Dr. Roberta Bondar’s nature photography challenge in their journey to EcoSchools certification.

EcoSchools Canada is teaming up with The Roberta Bondar Foundation to give students across the country the opportunity to support their EcoSchools certification application by participating in the school-based Bondar Challenge. The nature photography challenge is inspired by the remarkable work of Dr. Roberta Bondar, the world’s first neurologist and first Canadian woman in space, distinguished astronaut, medical doctor, scientist, and photographer.

This partnership is being launched on Dr. Bondar’s 75th birthday, and celebrates her ongoing contribution to inquiry, creativity, and conservation of the natural world.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Dr. Bondar and her Foundation to make the Bondar Challenge available to schools across the country as a part of the EcoSchools certification program. Providing students and educators an opportunity to connect to nature, wildlife and our environment, is critical to developing a strong foundation for environmental learning, advocacy and action.”
– Lindsay Bunce, Executive Director, EcoSchools Canada

The Roberta Bondar Foundation has been inspiring and informing individuals and communities about the beautiful and complex web of life on our planet for 11 years, and the Bondar Challenge is a perfect example of its approach—one that combines both science and art to promote curiosity, creative expression, and respect for the natural environment.

As the largest bilingual, environmental certification program for kindergarten to grade 12 schools in the country, EcoSchools Canada hopes to invite more schools to join the Bondar Challenge by making the program available to schools across the country and allowing schools to claim points for the Challenge in their online EcoSchools certification application.

“This is a wonderful way to expand the reach of our program to be even more accessible, and we are pleased to join forces with EcoSchools Canada in our efforts to promote curiosity, creativity and conservation. Getting youth outside to explore the world around them through photography contributes to their overall wellness and mental health.”
– Dr. Roberta Bondar, President, The Roberta Bondar Foundation

If you are a student or teacher who would like to know more about how to participate in the Bondar Challenge with EcoSchools Canada, please visit the Bondar Challenge web page.

To learn more about The Roberta Bondar Foundation, you can visit

For more information about this initiative, please contact:
EcoSchools Canada
Galen Drinnan
Communications Manager

The Roberta Bondar Foundation
Joan Hamilton
Director, RBF Board of Directors