Pollinator Conservation Talk

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On November 24, in collaboration with Oakvillegreen Conservation Association, Sheridan Office for Sustainability hosted its second event “Pollinator Conservation” in the Trees and Bees talks series  for  the members of the Sheridan College and local residents in the Town of Oakville.

While the first event was a forest walk in the trails around the campus, the second gathering was focused primarily on spreading knowledge about the conservation and growth of native bees and pollinator plants.

Victoria MacPhail, a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University studying bumblebee declines gave an informative talk. She brought in a display of native North American bees.

Victoria pointed out that the bumblebee is the most effective pollinator insect around the world. You may be surprised to find out that there are more than just your typical black and yellow classic bees. There are about 4,000 different species native to North America and 16 different types native to Ontario alone.

Bees have gotten a bad reputation historically. Known more as annoying bugs that instill fear of being stung, they actually help us in more ways then can be imagined.

“Bees provide an important link in our environment. The work of these tireless pollinators touches our lives everyday through the food that we eat. Even our seasons are marked by their work: the bloom of springtime meadows, summer berry picking and even pumpkins in fall,” as stated on www.xerces.org.

Due to the generalization the world has given pollinator insects, most people tend not to take their decline seriously, but it could have some major repercussions to the environment and our everyday lives.

To attract bees and other pollinator insects to your garden, here are a few key tips to consider.

  • Use as many native plants to your region as possible, native plants have evolved with the pollinators, so they are well suited to meet their needs.
  • Plant flowers with a range of shapes and sizes, different species are suited for different shapes and sizes of plants.
  • Include a variety that bloom throughout the seasons, this accommodates different species and their specific life cycles.

Representatives of Oakvillegreen Conservation Association helped teach the participants on how to prepare seed bombs using one of the most effective pollinator plants, the Milkweed plant.

  • You take seeds of the milkweed plant and role them into a natural clay ball.
  • Due to the fact it is a plant native to Canada, you must mimic the seasons for the seed bomb to take effect.
  • To trick the seeds you must put them in a wet paper towel and fold them into rows, then you put them into a ziplock bag and date them and list the seed.
  • You then leave it in the fridge for 3-6 weeks to let them germinate and then put the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. After which you can plant the seed bomb.

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Thanks to the work of environmental educators like Victoria and advocacy organizations like Oakvillegreen Conservation Association, Sheridan College and the community at large can now take the shared knowledge and get involved to help preserve the environment to support pollinators. Sheridan would like to express our sincere thanks to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for their generous support for the Trees and Bees talks series.

Sheridan’s New Pollinator-Friendly Garden – Project Update

A new native garden has just completed Phase One, the installation of its northern portion. The garden is located in front of J wing by the roundabout at the Trafalgar campus. When you visit this freshly-sodded site, you can see 11 young native trees and a semi-circular armour stone seating area with a crushed stone walking area. Phase Two, the southern portion of the site, includes the installation of a medicine wheel garden featuring a circular shape with native pollinator perennials planted in four quadrants.

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The garden is part of the Office for Sustainability’s efforts to promote biodiversity, support wildlife and increase greenspace on campus. The inception of installing a native garden followed the removal of invasive buckthorn from the site last fall. The Office for Sustainability would like to thank all those members of our community who had submitted ideas on designing the native garden. In particular, the medicine wheel design came from Sheridan’s Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support. The medicine wheel symbolizes the circle of life and the four directions. When completed, the garden offers both our indigenous students as well as Sheridan’s wider community a sacred place for reflection and celebration.

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About 98% of the plants being used in this garden are native to Southern Ontario. Native plants are better adapted to the local natural environment and climate than non-natives one and they generally need less water. The high diversity of plant species will increase the resilience of the garden in dealing with climate change and prevent invasive species such as buckthorn from returning to the site.

Native trees, shrubs and perennials in urban areas are vital for supporting insects and many of which are their pollinators. These plants and insects are at the base of the food chain. The native plants are also the habitats for other species.

The Office of Sustainability (OfS) would like to thank TD Friends of the Environment Fund for supporting this planting project as well as The Trees and Bees Talks Series being offered on campus this fall. OfS would also like to thank Oakville Green Conservation Association and Ontario Invasive Plant Council for sharing their expertise.

The planning for Phase Two will continue into the new year. Volunteers will be invited to join us on planting days. Please stay tuned!

Join the Repair Café at MakerSpace Brampton at Four Corners Branch Library this Saturday November 12 – If it needs fixing, bring it on!

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Our next Repair Café will be held at the MakerSpace in Bramption’s Four Corners Branch Library on Saturday, November 12! At the Repair Café, you can get help from volunteer fixers to repair your broken household items and learn how to do the repair yourself. We will have volunteer fixers for small appliances, computers, electronics, clothes, among others. Everyone is welcome to participate! You will meet new people while enjoying a cup of coffee.

As part of Sheridan’s Zero Waste program, the Repair Café fosters a culture of sustainability through sharing repair skills and knowledge  in our community. The Repair Café is part of a global movement that aims to reduce needless waste and to change the throwaway mindset of our society. As of today, there are more than 1,100 repair cafés in 29 countries. Sheridan is the first post-secondary education institution providing a Repair Café in Canada. You are invited to join this grassroots initiative.

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Below are the details of this upcoming event:

  • Who: Everyone!
  • Where: MakerSpace Brampton, Four Corners Branch Library (65 Queen St. East)
  • When: Saturday, November 12, from 11 am to 3 pm
  • Cost: Free!

Join Us for the Trees and Bees Talks at Sheridan!

trees-beestalks_title-imageSheridan College is pleased to host two free interactive talks below.  Everyone is welcome to join! Below are the event details and the Registration link.

Talk #1 – Tree Tour Through McCraney Woods

Date: November 8, 2016 (Tuesday)

Time: 4 p.m. sharp – 5 p.m.  (Updated)

Location: Meet at Sheridan “S” outside SCAET building

Speaker: Paul O’Hara, a field botanist, landscape designer, and native plant gardening expert with Blue Oak Native Landscapes. He is currently helping Sheridan to install the first phase of pollinator-friendly Medicine Wheel Garden at the Trafalgar Campus.

Topic: Paul will be guiding the hike along the trails through McCraney Woods, an urban forest in the Town of Oakville adjacent to the Sheridan campus. He will talk about the importance of native trees, trees of Oakville and Ontario, and the best trees to plant for biodiversity.

Note: All outdoor, please dress for the weather

Cost: FREE!

Talk #2 – Pollinator Conservation

Date: November 24, 2016 (Thursday)

Time: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: Room C208 (C-Building is directly behind the Sheridan ‘S’)

Speaker: Victoria MacPhail, a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University studying bumble bee declines and the use of citizen science data from the BumbleBee Watch program.

Topic: Victoria will talk about why we need to protect bees and other pollinators and how we can get involved. After the talk, participants will be invited to make seed bombs & grow your own milkweed with Oakvillegreen.

Cost: FREE!

Registration: Please RSVP via http://tinyurl.com/treesnbees

Sheridan College and Oakvillegreen Conservation Association are offering the series of two events above together to the Oakville and Sheridan communities. These two events are generously supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Fund and Ontario Trillium Foundation. For any questions, please email us at missionzero@sheridancollege.ca or program@oakvillegreen.org

 

Repair Café is returning to Trafalgar Campus – We are looking for Fixers!

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Are you the kind of person who avoids tossing things in the trash whenever possible? Do you enjoy fixing things and helping others learn how to do it? If your answers to these questions are “yes”, we need your help!

Sheridan will be offering its next Repair Café at the Trafalgar campus on Thursday, October 20, 2016. We are looking for volunteer Fixers who are skilled at repairing household items, everything from computers and electronics to small appliances and clothes. Faculty, staff and students are all welcome. At the event, as a Fixer, you will help visitors to repair the items they have brought in and explain to them the repair process.

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Below are details for this coming Repair Café:

Date: Thursday, October 20

Time: 11:30 am to 2 p.m.

Location: Atrium, SCAET, Trafalgar campus

In the 3-minute video below, a Repair Café visitor Lina talked about how the Fixer is helping her to repair her beloved broken lamp. This Repair Café was held in Toronto’s Central Reference Library in August.

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Volunteer fixers, Kiran Mascarenhas and Paul Magder are diagnosing the problem in this hair heater at the March café held at the Davis campus.

If you are interested in volunteering as a Fixer for the October 20 café at the Trafalgar campus, please contact Wai Chu Cheng, Sustainability Coordinator, at waichu.cheng@sheridancollege.ca .

Sheridan is the first post-secondary institution in Canada hosting the Repair Café. It was launched in April 2014 as part of the Mission Zero initiative. Repair Café is a global movement started in Amsterdam in 2009. It aims to reduce needless waste that is sent to landfill and to change society’s throwaway mindset. To learn more, please visit the following sites:

http://curiosities.sheridancollege.ca/giving-new-life-to-broken-items-at-the-repair-cafe/

http://repaircafe.org/en

Calling for Mission Zero Volunteers!

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The Office for Sustainability (OfS) is looking for volunteers to join our Mission Zero team! Our focus this fall includes strengthening the Zero Waste campaign and providing new campus greening opportunities that will further engage the Sheridan community.  Volunteers will be involved in a variety of outreach activities throughout the semester. As a Mission Zero volunteer, not only will you help the environment, but also you will have the opportunity to develop your communication and leadership skills. In addition, it will be a fun way to meet new people.  And of course, your volunteer hours will be counted as part of your Co-curricular Record (CCR).

As a first step on being part of the Mission Zero team, please fill out the volunteer form on the link below:

http://missionzero.sheridancollege.ca/get-involved/mission-zero-volunteer/volunteer-form/

All confirmed volunteers will be invited to a training session held in late September. During the session, we will discuss your volunteer schedule.

Feel free to visit our Facebook and Twitter to learn about our latest events and announcements.

For any questions, you are welcome to email us at missionzero@sheridancolllege.ca.

Hope you can join us for Mission Zero!

 

A New Wildflower Garden is Born

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Last Wednesday morning, the Office for Sustainability teamed up with Sheridan College staff and faculty to plant a new wildflower garden, in a place where an invasive species of foreign  Buckthorn trees once existed.

The Office for Sustainability and Facilities Services are working on restoring the health of our nature and increasing biodiversity on campus.

One of the goals of the planting event for the Office of Sustainability was to help eliminate the threat of the invasive pioneering species of Buckthorn that have spread aggressively throughout the Trafalgar campus. It is the second phase of an effort to get rid of them completely. Last year, a Buckthorn grove was removed outside of J wing, close to the bus loop.

After learning that the Buckthorn threatens the local biodiversity of the environment, the obvious follow up question becomes, what makes them so dangerous?

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According to Nathan Nettleton, the Facilities Project Technologist , “For one, it’s simply not from the area.  Secondly it’s a pioneering species, a species of tree that grows really well in adverse conditions and full exposure to the environment. Thirdly, it doesn’t grow where things tend to be.

“It spreads so fast, that what ends up happening is that the trees get so thick, that it chokes out the area and shades out any biodiversity, which is what you need.”

It has been an exciting transformation of the outdoor space just outside of the Trafalgar Athletic Stadium over the last two weeks. It has gone from a grove that was filled with invasive buckthorn, to a native garden made up of diverse wildflower species and mixed native grasses that attract pollinators and provide habitats for wildlife.

All of this took place after the Welcome Back Event held by the College for all staff returning to work. There was a filling breakfast followed by presentations and performances from students of the Bachelor of Musical Theatre program.

After the final presentation, the crowd of around 900 people were given the option to pick up a plant and a shovel, take instruction from Beatriz Gomez, Tree and Education Programs Manager at Oakvillegreen Conservation. They helped disseminate information on the importance of biodiversity and having local plants that help the environment, as well as taught the group of participants the proper technique for planting.

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“The planting event at Welcome Back was a terrific opportunity to engage our employees in creating a healthy natural environment that will in turn support the well-being of our community,” Wai Chu, Project Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability said.

“Through this event, we have achieved our key goal to build a community that cares about our environment and gets involved in making positive changes.”

Student and staff volunteers from the Mission Zero team participated in the event. They helped organize the entire event before and helped clean up during and after, making the whole process run very smoothly.

For students, volunteering was worth more than just lending a helping hand with the garden. Parneet Sidhu said, “Volunteering like this is important for our co-curricular record. I wanted to do something outside of my academics where I can get involved in the community, help my fellows and feel part of Sheridan.”

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“We have worked with Sheridan College in the past. We have talked at certain events before and I think it’s great that Sheridan has taken leadership on this, doing more and making sure that they are involving staff and students. It makes our work much easier when there is an engaged community,” Oakville Green volunteer Gomez said.

All in all, it was a great planting event. Not only for the sake of the environment, but also to get the whole Sheridan community involved and engaged in the importance of biodiversity on campus.

The Office for Sustainability and Facilities are extremely grateful for all of the support and enthusiasm and we hope to see you out there tending to the new wildflower garden.

They are looking for volunteers to help water the garden and remove any new buckthorn at the wildflower garden. Any employee or student who are interested in joining the stewardship team to help take care of the wildflower garden for this fall, please email missionzero@sheridancollege.ca.

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District Energy Master Plan Phase 1

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By Michael Melro

The Facilities Services department and the Office for Sustainability of Sheridan College have begun construction on Phase One of its new district heating and cooling system at the Trafalgar campus.

There are currently six boiler plants, spread across the campus that provides heat to each building on campus. This configuration leads to inefficient distribution of heating and cooling. Boilers and chillers that are too large relative to the loads they serve turn on for a moment then off again, wasting energy in the process.

The ultimate goal of the project is to move beyond these wasteful and outdated energy practices, by introducing a new system that will centralize all of the college’s mechanical equipment into one location.

“The proposed solution to this problem is to provide all of the heating for the entire campus from one location in the basement of C wing through a new central plant,” Facilities Project Manager Katherine Rinas said.  “This new plant will also be using combined heating and power technology, or CHP.”

You can think of CHP essentially as engines that produce electricity. This new district energy system is meant to help conserve energy while being as efficient as possible. This is embodied by how the CHP reuses any energy rejected by the plant, cycling excess heat produced back into the network of pipes.

IMG_0323The first phase is to install piping throughout the exterior parts of the campus. “The piping is actually a cool piece of technology. The steel portion has thinner walls compared to typical Canadian piping. It’s very durable, it is incased in plastic with foam surrounding the pipe, it comes pre-insulated and there is an integrated leak detection system,” Rinas said.

Sheridan will be the first post-secondary institution in Ontario to use this network of piping for a District Energy System.

The “network” is similar to a telephone or fiber line. It will be the supply and return lines for the super heated water running through the system. Campus heating water is currently supplied to buildings at 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit and returns to the plant about 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. With the new system in place, the water will be supplied at temperatures close to 212 degrees F, with return water as much as 50 degrees F cooler.

This super heated water will run through the primary pipes, while the secondary loop will have cooler temperatures, feeding all of the terminal devices on the campus.

It’s a closed loop circuit, so the water is pumped into the system only once, staying in the pipes for very long periods of time, reducing any wasteful water usage.

With this first step already underway, Sheridan hopes to become one of the most energy efficient institutions in the country. Construction of the first phase is expected to be done before Christmas break.

Mission Zero Volunteer Opportunity!

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Come and make some new friends before the new semester begins! Being a Mission Zero volunteer is a friendly and exciting opportunity to become part of the Sheridan community. It’s a great way to get to know other people before the school year starts. You will help educate and inform students about zero waste and encourage everyone to reduce reuse and recycle. You will also have the opportunity to support other cool initiatives such as Repair Café Sheridan and waste audits. These hours will be counted in your Co-curricular Record (CCR). To help you get started, you will be invited to receive training at the beginning of the semester.

If you really can’t wait to get started, there is an upcoming opportunity to take part as a volunteer. Orientation week is next week (Aug 29 – Sep 2) and we need volunteers to help educate people about zero waste as well as guiding people to sort out waste. There will be a training session at the beginning of each day before the start of the event and do a briefing of what to expect. You can choose whichever campus is convenient for you.

The Marketplace events will be held next week:
Davis: Monday Aug. 29 & Tuesday Aug. 30 (11 am – 1 pm)
Trafalgar: Thursday Sept. 1 & Friday Sept. 2 (11 am – 1 pm)

If you’re interested or have any further questions, please e-mail Wai Chu (waichu.cheng@sheridancollege.ca).

If you would like to volunteer for Mission Zero for the Fall semester, please fill out the form here.

Tour de Sheridan – Join Us on July 20!

The first 30 participants will receive a free water bottle with our Tour de Sheridan logo. All participants will have a chance to win a raffle prize!

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Jack Darling Memorial Park at the Waterfront in Mississauga

Would you like to enjoy cycling with other Sheridan members and tour around our neighbourhood this summer? You are invited to join the first Tour de Sheridan! Any Sheridan members, including students, faculty and staff are welcome to join this fun event. Staff members are asked to discuss their participation with their supervisors for approval.

Who:

Any Sheridan member

Why:

Cycling is fun. This is the best time of the year to tour around our neighbourhood by bike. At this event, you can also get a chance to meet other cyclists in our own community. Let’s stay active and encourage each other to do exercises that promote health and wellness.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – 8:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Route:

Choose one of the following two routes –

  1. From the Trafalgar campus to Jack Darling Memorial Park and return to the Trafalgar campus
  2. From the HMC campus to Jack Darling Memorial Park and return to the HMC campus

We will be using nature trails and less busy streets. The HMC cyclist group will take Burnhamthorpe and Culham Trails whereas the Trafalgar cyclist group will use Waterfront Trail.

Mileage and Meet-up:

Each route is about 17 km one way.

All participants will meet at Jack Memorial Park for a refreshment break at 9:30 a.m. before the return trip

Address of Jack Darling Memorial Park: 1180 Lakeshore W, Mississauga

Prizes:

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Tour de Sheridan Water Bottle

 

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Raffle prize – Duffle bag on wheels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first 30 participants who registered and completed the cycling trip will receive a Tour de Sheridan water bottle!

All participants will be entered for a raffle draw to receive a duffle bag on wheels provided by Akran Marketing.

How to Join:

Sign up for one of the following two pace groups, which start at a different time at the “S” of the Trafalgar and HMC campuses:

  1. Road bike group – meet at “S” at 8:30 a.m. (faster pace)
  2. Recreational bike group – meet at “S” at 8:00 a.m.

** For those individuals who choose to start at a different location outside the campus, please arrive at Jack Darling Memorial Park to meet with the whole group for  a refreshment break at 9:30 a.m.

Registration Deadline:

Monday, July 18

Registration:

CLICK HERE

This event is offered by the Office for Sustainability, Green Teams and Sheridan Student Union (SSU). Thanks to SSU for providing refreshments.

For any questions, please contact Wai Chu Cheng, Sustainability Coordinator at waichu.cheng@sheridancollege.ca.