Campus Naturalization Initiatives
The preservation and enhancement of campus ecology, biodiversity, and naturalized landscapes is of utmost importance to UBCO. Our Campus Plan, Design Guidelines, Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan and Integrated Rainwater Management Plan provide guidance in support of the expression of these values on campus, and in seeking to reflect the unique characteristics of our local environment.
Reichwald Health Sciences Centre (RHSC) Greenspace
The campus recently initiated a transition of greenspace adjacent to the Reichwald Health Sciences Centre (RHSC) to reduce irrigation requirements and allow for indigenous plants and flowers to support pollinators. Additional work is currently underway now to determine where and how these efforts can be expanded elsewhere on campus.
Managing Invasive Species
There is work is underway to manage invasive species, provide best management practices to support ecosystems and species at risk, and manage rainwater that falls on campus in a way that supports the natural hydrological cycle, with co-benefits to campus ecology and biodiversity. We acknowledge there is much more work to be undertaken and are leveraging opportunities wherever possible within new projects and renewals to create a positive impact on our surroundings.
En’owkin Centre Engagement
In our pursuit of meaningful and culturally sensitive change, we are engaged in emerging conversations with Indigenous faculty, staff and traditional knowledge keepers through engagement with the En’owkin Centre. Through ongoing consultations, we hope to co-create and implement strategies that acknowledge and respect local Indigenous cultural protocols, ensuring that their wisdom is appropriately integrated into our naturalized landscape initiatives.
Outdoor Gathering Space
Recently, the development of a conceptual design for the Outdoor Gathering Space project was proposed within the area east of the existing campus pond. This project was developed in alignment with UBCO’s 2019 commitments in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and will address ambitions for ecological restoration, traditional food harvesting and preservation, and a medicine garden, as well as an outdoor learning structure, gathering circle and fire pit, and other flexible spaces for teaching and learning.
New Academic Building Landscape
The landscape approach for the new academic building is presently under construction south of the EME building. The landscape for this project will retain the large area of intact indigenous trees and their naturalized understory on Alumni Ave. as well as on the east side of the site, and feature extensive indigenous planting areas informed by engagement with the En’owkin Centre and TEK keepers. While there will be a few small areas that will include hydroseeding with a locally appropriate, naturalized seed mix, no formal / mowed lawns will be provided.
Ecological Audits and Inventories
Our unit continues to benefit greatly from the information and guidance shared by the Indigenous Studies program’s summer intensives and their ongoing work to undertake campus ecological audits and inventories, which we anticipate will cover more and more areas of campus, through its many seasonal changes, over the coming years.