Nature Immersion on Campus: Introducing the Campus Biodiversity Network (B/SI)
April 24, 2023 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Campus Biodiversity Network is a new consortium of post-secondary institutions working together to study campus greenspace and biodiversity in Quebec and beyond. Using citizen-science tools to monitor and evaluate biodiversity on campus greenspace, the Campus Biodiversity Network enables colleges to formulate and share their institution’s individual biodiversity baselines. The advantages of compiling and sharing collective biodiversity observations are numerous: on a technical level, the shared data allows colleges and institutes to see the cumulative tallies for campus biodiversity observations across all institutions; to identify the presence or absence of specific species, including at-risk pollinators, which many cities (including Montreal) have committed to protecting in urban spaces; and to make informed landscape-management and greenspace-design decisions. Perhaps even more importantly, the network provides a convenient means to encourage students, staff, and faculty to get out into nature without leaving campus. Results from our first year show that at some campuses, such as Vanier, the project has increased student contact with nature on campus ten-fold. We know such exposure to nature has immediate benefits (White 2019) for students and staff alike. This panel will offer attendees the tools necessary to begin doing citizen science on campus, regardless of background or expertise. The session will present a snapshot of our colleges’ individual (curricular and extracurricular) biodiversity initiatives, and show attendees how easy and effective it is to make biodiversity observations through the Campus Biodiversity Network, encouraging other institutes and colleges to join us.