Thunder Bay – CLIMATE – Confederation College has mark their commitment to sustainability with a tree planting in celebration of the completed Riparian Habitat Rehabilitation Project.
The Project began in August 2020 to restore water quality and aquatic ecosystem health along the McIntyre River, the main Confederation College Campus location.
“It’s been wonderful to see this part of the river come to life with the Rehabilitation Project,” said Sandra Stiles, Coordinator, Confederation College Environmental Technician program. “It returns this riparian area to a more natural state which improves the water quality in the river which ultimately helps protect Lake Superior. This restoration project also encourages biodiversity and supports climate change adaptation, both important steps towards sustainability”
As part of the project, Confederation College will plant 100 shrubs, 60 grasses, and 200 perennials along with 100 trees in this area. The plan also includes an Indigenous Garden with medicinal and ceremonial plants used by the Anishinaabe peoples, a Pollinator Garden and established No-Mowing Zones to allow native flowers, plants and birds to thrive. People are already enjoying the low-impact trails which have been created throughout the space.
The project was made possible thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative with the objective to restore the water quality and aquatic ecosystem health of Canadian Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The federal initiative awarded Confederation College a total of $75,000 over two years for the project. Confederation College and the City of Thunder Bay also provided financial and in-kind support.
“Confederation College has done incredible work to restore and protect one of the natural spaces we are fortunate to find throughout the city of Thunder Bay. In Northwestern Ontario we work and play within our natural environment and appreciate the importance of these spaces. It is an honour to be here to see the completion of such an inclusive and environmentally conscious project,” said Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament Elect, Thunder Bay – Superior North.
Students in the Environmental Technician Program played a large role in this endeavour, gaining hands-on environmental restoration, rehabilitation and sustainability experience. In collaboration with EcoSuperior, students completed an additional Low-Impact Development Project through Depave Paradise funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Green Communities Canada by removing unused pavement and replacing it with local shrubs and perennials to allow natural processes to absorb rainwater which in turn reduces the risk of flooding, helps maintain groundwater tables and decreases erosion
“We are so proud of the work to further our sustainability plan for our main campus,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “Thanks to Environment and Climate Change Canada, EcoSuperior and our dedicated faculty, we are giving our students the tools to take their desire for change to work effectively towards sustainability.”
Lynch also announced that single-use water bottles have been replaced entirely with water refill stations located throughout the College effective this fall. Additionally, there are no more plastic bottles of any beverage being sold on campus now.
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