In a brunch formula, simultaneously in eight homes in Montréal, an expert presents one of the eight topics and answers questions from citizens. A host contributes to the vitality of the exchanges, and participants share their ideas for getting closer to nature in town. In the company of an expert sent to the site, each of the eight groups will tackle a different subject. Sign up now!
Everyone agrees about the importance of being in contact with nature. But in a context where schedules are already really busy, where the competition with screens is fierce and where nature can seem hard to spot in the city, how do we bring about the most beneficial encounters possible between children and nature?
Elizabeth Boileau has loved nature since childhood. After she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, and then a master’s in environmental education in 2011, her work as a guide with young children triggered a new enthusiasm: accompanying children in their explorations of nature. A teacher of early childhood education and a Ph.D. candidate at Lakehead University, Elizabeth is interested in educational programs in a natural environment and in the development of environmental values in young children. Her recent publication has to do with insects and children – an interest developed during her work as a science guide at the Insectarium! Elizabeth today lives in Calgary.
To successfully feed the world’s population between now and 2050, the report of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations suggests we rethink our way of feeding ourselves by adding insects to the menu. Raising insects requires not much space, offers an unrivaled animal protein conversion rate, needs less water and produces limited greenhouse gas emissions. But above all, insect-based dishes make it possible to discover new flavors and offer infinite possibilities for creating nutritious and delicious meals. So, eating insects? Yes?
Thanks to her father, Sonya discovered nature as a very young child and became a passionate ornithologist. Dreaming of travel, she completed a diploma of college studies in tourism. But what attracted her about the planet was still nature. So she took a bachelor’s degree in biology with an ecology option at Université du Québec à Montréal. It was there that she made her blinding encounter with insects. A world of infinite discovery opened up to her. After a stint with Radio-Canada as a researcher, she began a career at the Insectarium as a guide. Over the years she developed an educational approach based on emotion, contact with the authentic, and listening to visitors, an approach she now spreads, as the person in charge of programming, to her educational services team.
Energy, comfort, home interior, maintenance, food – dwelling in our homes goes hand in hand with consumption, even overconsumption. Do we always make the right choices? How can we do a better job of dwelling in our homes?
The holder of a master’s degree in the environment, Marlène Hutchinson teaches environmental studies and sustainable development at Université de Sherbrooke. In 2005 she founded Cycle environment, a consulting firm she still heads today. She regularly lectures on environmental topics and is often interviewed for television. The author of three books published by Éditions MultiMondes – Objectif zéro déchet: un projet collectif, 2017; Vice caché, les dessous de notre surconsommation, 2012; and Vos déchets et vous, 2007 – she encourages us to be more vigilant and proposes solutions for making the shifts we need to make.
Few Montrealers are familiar with the animal diversity in our town, and yet, there are many wild species here. Not only that, their incursions into the middle of the city are multiplying. Is it it because their habitat is disappearing or because we have quality green spaces here? And what about us: do we know how to behave with them?
Emiko Wong will be accompanied by Denis Fournier, a wildlife management technician with Ville de Montréal: two impassioned experts to join in reflecting on how we can better coexist with wildlife.
Emiko Wong is a veterinarian at the Biodôme de Montréal. After her doctorate from Université de Montréal she completed an advanced internship in avian medicine. To combine her twin passions, the discovery of new cultures and the animal world, she did international cooperation work in a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Guatemala. She also gained experience in a private clinic. A lover of nature and adventures, her dream was to take care of non-domesticated animals, and in 2003 joined the Biodôme live collections and scientific research and development division team.
As a wildlife management technician and natural-environment manager with the city’s Department of Large Parks, Greening and Mount Royal, he has conducted and coordinated, for the last 28 years, a number of wildlife inventories focusing on the mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fish in Montréal’s major parks. With his team he has introduced an program for ecosystem monitoring and ecological management in urban parks.
Denis Fournier works as part of a number of committees aimed at the recovery of at-risk species in Québec and takes part in concrete actions for the protection of threatened species. What he wants is to make the most of his knowledge and skills by finding viable solutions for the conservation of biodiversity and for more harmonious coexistence with wildlife on a local and national scale.
Community gardens, green roofs, edible gardens, container-grown plants on balconies: nature makes itself at home in the city just about everywhere, and what could be better. The result is more green spaces all over town, which contributes to reducing the impact of heat islands, purifying the air, promoting biodiversity, and if that weren’t enough, feeding us. So how do you get involved?
A biologist by training, Francis Cardinal also studied management and sustainable development. He’s a scientific communicator at the Biodôme de Montréal and an amateur gardener. In his spare time he works with his family on creating a nourishing forest. It was in the course of his encounters with gardeners working in various neighborhoods in Montréal and as a guide and participant in collective gardens that he expanded his knowledge and fueled his passion for urban agriculture. It enables him to exercise his creativity and his problem-solving, while making good use of public space.
Can green spaces make us calmer, more likeable, less stressed and healthier? That’s what researchers seem to be observing. Nature surrounds us, and even the city has much in the way of great natural biodiversity. However, it has to be maintained, protected and enhanced. But how do we get closer to nature?
A graduate in wildlife biology and in horticulture, Marc Sardi has worked in the field of the environment for over 20 years. His professional career has led him to employment with organizations like Space for Life (Insectarium and Jardin botanique de Montréal), Ville en vert, WWF-Canada and Regroupement Québec Oiseaux. He has been involved with Miel Montréal and Amis du Champ des Possibles, and today he shares his passion for the beauty of nature by way of his floral design company.
For Marc Sardi, our disregard of nature is the greatest threat to it. All we need to do is simply learn to look at it to be filled with wonder and want to respect it.
Nocturnal images of the Earth demonstrate how the lighting in urban areas is growing exponentially. This light pollution, especially in cities, is making the night disappear and depriving us of a magnificent starry sky. It also effects wildlife, flora and human health, because the night is indispensable to life. How can we regain a little darkness in the city? How can we provide enough lighting to clearly see and clearly be seen, without disrupting everything?
Sébastien Gauthier is an astronomer and in charge of the programing at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. A talented scientific popularizer, he did training both in physics and in multimedia. He started his career in astronomy at Mont-Mégantic National Park, which today is the world’s first dark sky reserve in an urban area. After completing numerous projects in scientific communication, he joined the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan team in 2013, where he’s made a number of highly successful astronomy films for the dome.
Horns, construction sites, engines, breezes in the trees, the water in a fountain, birdsongs: urban noises don’t all have the same effect on our well-being. How do we design our urban environment so that it’s easier hear the sounds that are good for us.
Catherine Guastavino is associate professor at McGill University, where she’s the William Dawson Scholar in psychoacoustics. She’s also affiliated with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT), where she’s served as assistant director for scientific and technological research. Catherine Guastavino heads the research program Sounds in the City, which aims to establish and implement a proactive approach to urban noise management in close collaboration with Ville de Montréal. That program brings together researchers and acoustics and urban planning professionals as well as citizens, so that collectively they can rethink the role of sound in the city the better to integrate it in the urban landscape.
She’s published more than 150 scientific articles on spatial audio, the perception of sounds in the environment and of music, and multisensory perception. She’s a member of the ISO working group on Soundscape (CAC/ISO/TC43/SC1).