What on Earth are Biospheres?
Canada Post and Irish Post team up to deliver them on stamps
April 21, 2005
Biospheres are living laboratories that consist of areas of coastal and inland ecosystems. Biosphere Reserves are internationally recognized by UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program. Sites are chosen against a set criteria focusing on conservation, development and support for research, and education demonstrating a balanced relationship between people and nature.
"As Canadians we are privileged to live in a country of exceptional natural beauty," said the Honourable John McCallum, Minister responsible for Canada Post. "With this honour comes an obligation to preserve and strengthen these assets for the future. Biosphere reserves, like Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park and The Republic of Ireland's Killarney National Park, are an essential part of this global promise." McCallum added, "these stamps beautifully commemorate each country's commitment to the future of these parks and share our conservation message."
The stamps, the first ever joint issue between Canada and Ireland, will be issued at the domestic rate (50¢) in Canada and for domestic use in Ireland (one stamp at 48¢ and one at 65¢). The Canadian stamp was designed by Xerxes Irani and his design team at Calgary's nonfiction studios inc., while the Irish stamp was designed by Killarney artist Finbarr O'Connor.
Waterton Biosphere Reserve and National Park is situated in the extreme south-west of the Province of Alberta and covers an area of more than 52,000 hectares. The park is primarily an early spring to late fall destination point for approximately 400,000 annual visitors. Since 1901, when the biodiversity of the area was recognized, five major environments have been identified in the area - prairie, parkland, montane, sub-alpine and alpine. Specific plants and animals characterize each zone. The area became known as Waterton Lakes National Park in 1911 and is Canada's 4th national park, the smallest in the Canadian Rockies. The park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979. In 1995, UNESCO also designated the Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park as a World Heritage Site.
Located just south-west of the City of Killarney in south-west Ireland, Killarney National Park comprises the mountains and woodlands surrounding Lough Leane Lake and adjacent smaller lakes, moor lands, parks and gardens. It was Ireland's first National Park and came into being in 1932 when the Muckross Estate (the core of the present day National Park) was donated to the country. The park covers more than 10,000 hectares of mountain, moor land, woodland, waterways, parks and gardens. A major geological boundary occurs within the Park, that combined with the climatic influence of the gulf stream and the wide range of altitudes in the Park, gives rise to an unusual and varied ecology. UNESCO designated Killarney National Park as a Biosphere Reserve in 1982.
Available for sale at post offices across the country on April 22, 2005, each stamp measures 48 mm x 30 mm, and will be sold in a pane of 16 stamps - 2 stamps se tenant. Lowe-Martin printed 5 million of the stamps, and 400,000 souvenir sheets of both stamps, using 9-colour lithography and P.V.A. gum on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. The stamp is general tagged on all four sides with 13+ perforations. The Official First Day Cover will read WATERTON PARK, ALBERTA.
Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post's website, and downloadable high-resolution photos of the Waterton and Killarney stamps are in the Newsroom's Photo Centre. Stamps and Official First Day covers will be available at participating post offices, can be ordered online by following the links at Canada Post's website www.canadapost.ca, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA call toll-free: 1-800-565-4362 and from other countries call: (902) 863-6550.