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Online Bondar Challenge

Welcome to the Online Bondar Challenge! As we all spend more time indoors to keep each other safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Roberta Bondar Foundation is making resources from our signature program, the Bondar Challenge, open to the public for free. While we maintain physical distancing measures, we can still enjoy the wonders of nature and explore the ecological components that make up our local natural environments. Photography is a great tool to do this!

While the Bondar Challenge is normally geared towards youth, it’s a fun and engaging activity for all ages. It’s also a great way for families to explore nature together.

Our resources and activities are available at no cost but there is a fee to enter into our competition.

Whether you’re familiar with the Bondar Challenge or you’re learning about it for the first time, follow the steps below to get a sense of the program and our learning materials:

1. Get your camera!

A smartphone or tablet will work too. It’s good to practice handling and operating your device so that your photographs come out looking great.

2. Read our “Getting started with your camera” infographic

It gives a quick overview of how to handle and operate your camera, as well as a few photographic techniques to practice.

Thumbnail for English getting started with your camera
Getting Started with your Camera – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for French Getting started with your camera
Guide de démarrage pour l’appareil photo – FRANÇAIS

3. Try our activities

Our scavenger hunts, photo bingo and alphabet activity are fun ways to practice using your device and explore the natural environment around you.


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Photo Scavenger Hunt – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for French scavenger hunt
Chasse au trésor photographique – FRANÇAIS


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Alphabet Activity – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for French alphabet activity
L’abécédaire du safari photo – FRANÇAIS


Thumbnail for English photo bingo
Photo Bingo – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for French photo bingo
Photo Bingo – FRANÇAIS

4. Review our “Camera Tips” card deck

Dive deeper into photography! You can find more photographic techniques in this deck with examples using Dr. Bondar’s own photography. Practicing these techniques will help develop your photographic abilities and observation skills. It’s easy to fit in mathematic and artistic principles while practicing these techniques, such as the rule of thirds, patterns, repetition, lines and contrast.

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EcoSeek Camera Tips – ENGLISH
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Conseils pour la composition photographique – FRANÇAIS

5. Try our more challenging activities

We have a list of activities according to age/experience. These start from a beginner level and get more advanced and include inquiry-based learning. You can do the activities at your level or try them all!

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Activities – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for Online Bondar Challenge Activities French
Activitès – FRANÇAIS

6. Save your work. This is important!

Once you finish taking photos for the day, upload all of your work to a computer. Put them in a folder and name the folder with the current date. This will help you keep track of your work day by day and make it much easier to find specific photos.

7. Review your work

This is a good way to review your progress. Think about which photos you like best and why. Are there any techniques you want to work on, like lighting, focus or positioning of subjects? What were you feeling when you took each photograph? Why did you want to photograph the subjects you chose?

8. Optional: select your entry and complete a GEM card

If you would like to take part in our competition, select one photograph to submit for judging.

Note: a fee of $20.00 per submission is required to enter the competition.

In order for the photograph to be judged, you must complete a GEM card to accompany it. Our GEM cards are artist statement cards that summarize the details of your photograph, including how and why you photographed your subject and the conditions you photographed it in.

We have 4 categories of cards with their own level of difficulty. Emerald is our beginner level and is followed by Ruby, Sapphire, then Diamond, which is the most advanced level. You can select the level you wish to compete in and complete the corresponding GEM card online.

Instead of filling out a GEM card, you have the option of submitting a full written statement about your image. Photographs and written statements can be emailed to us.

You can find the competition Rules and Regulations here.

Take a look at our Judging Criteria to find out how our judges review and rank submissions:

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Judging Criteria – ENGLISH
Thumbnail for French judging cards
Critère de jugement – FRANÇAIS

Click the button below to make payment for your competition entry:

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