A New Wildflower Garden is Born
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?
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.
“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.”
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.