7 sustainability projects you may not know about

Catching up on campus life
Catherine Ouellet

Sustainable development. We may know what it is, but as Alexandre Beaudoin, a biodiversity consultant and UdeM graduate, says, it's not just about planting trees : “It's about rethinking our entire way of doing things to reduce the impact of our actions. And it’s also about integrating the social aspect, the poor cousin of sustainable development.” 

The Département de développement durable at UdeM has a small team working to advance the University’s efforts in this area. Here's an overview of what you may not know about sustainable development projects at UdeM :

1. Vegetable gardens on campus

The UdeM campus is home to a dozen gardens, brimming with a variety of fruit and vegetables, plus wooded areas reserved for mushroom cultivation. Urban agriculture on campus is an initiative of P.A.U.S.E. (Production agricole urbaine soutenable et écologique) / Sustainable and ecological urban agricultural production). 

2. Beehives on the roof of UdeM

At UdeM, several beehives spread over three sites produce approximately 400 kilograms of honey. When the Department of Chemistry analyzed our honey, they found its quality exceptional and 100% natural when compared to some industry honey, which is often diluted with sugar water. 

All about beekeeping

3. An ecological corridor: The Darlington project

This project brings the UdeM student and professional communities, the borough of Côte-des-Neiges  and elected officials together to take action. “The Corridor écologiuqe Darlington project allows us to take tanglible action. It’s a real project that shows people we’re making an effort to create a bridge with the borough’s community,” said Beaudoin. “This urban pathway will link Mount Royal to the Hippodrome and the Outremont campus and make mobility easier for species and individuals.” 

4. Ephemeral Projects: Greening the MIL Campus

The Parc-Extension community has been inconvenienced by the MIL Campus construction site for several years. To reduce the impact of the interruption, the Département de développement durable, in collaboration with local organizations, has been working to make the site green with initiatives like urban agriculture. The citizens of Parc-Extension can garden on the site, turning it into a space everyone can enjoy. “If we can grow together like this, we’re sending a good message for the future,” Beaudoin said. 

5. Tree nurseries

For a year UdeM planted 10,000 trees behind its residences as part of the Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain's (SOVERDI) Canopy Action Plan. The goal is to plant 300,000 trees by 2025 to increase the canopy index (an index of an area’s environmental quality) from 20% to 25%. The Outremont site will be home to these trees as they mature. Currently, the nursery is home to 13,000 trees. 

UdeM's green plan

6. Enhancing Mount Royal's biodiversity

UdeM is located on Mount Royal, the only place in Quebec with both historical and natural status. Since the institution was founded in the 1920s, a bit of everything has grown on campus and many species are now prohibited on Mount Royal. “Over 300 trees will be cut down on campus because of the emerald ash borer,” Beaudoin added. “It's sad, but I see it as an opportunity to rethink forest dynamics and take inspiration from untouched woodlands. There are 400-year-old trees in these woodlands that Jacques-Cartier might have seen.”  

7. Reintroduction of extirpated species

The Département de développement durable is also working to create wetland habitats to reintroduce species, like the wood frog and the American toad, that haven’t lived on Mount Royal for about 25 years. 

Catherine Ouellet
#Rédaction #Montréal #Écolo

Amoureuse des communications et des rencontres humaines, Catherine est une bonne vivante qui aime savourer chaque instant! Savourer, le terme est sciemment choisi : elle est passionnée de nourriture végétale, locale et expérimentale! Son baccalauréat en communication et sa maîtrise en gestion et développement durable l’ont aussi menée à parler de la cause environnementale de manière décomplexée. Et que dire de son amour de Montréal! Elle adore dénicher des petits bijoux d’endroits peu connus de la métropole en arpentant ses quartiers à pied.