WATgreen Advisory Committee Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held Tuesday, June 23, 1998.

PRESENT:   Paul Eagles, Patti Cook, Dennis Huber, James Kay, Winston Cherry, Roydon Fraser, Hamish Duthie, Ian Fraser.

1.    Minutes of the March 19/98 meeting were approved.

2.   Bicycle Management Plan - racks, lockers:

Patti Cook reported that she, Roydon Fraser and Les Van Dongen met and suggested a Class 2 secure bike rack, which would allow bike riders to lock both wheels and the frame of the bicycle, if they had 2 locks. The racks are located outside the PAC and Student Life Centre. There is a 285 group looking at monitoring the use of the racks and the need for bike lockers on campus.

3.    Environment Report for Executive Council in September

Patti Cook reported that she and James Kay had met and would collect information on the University of Waterloo's success in reducing our campus ecological footprint. There is much for the university to be proud of, but Kay and Cook would also like to include in the presentation a request for furthering the incorporation of environment into the curricula so that all students may leave the university with some knowledge of the environmental issues and implications that will face them.

An interdisciplinary studies course was suggested as an idea, perhaps with the help of Bruce Mitchell, a course much like ERS285 could be developed for all students on campus. More information was requested on how other universities are advancing in this area. Cook will provide the WATgreen Committee members with a few web links to various university institutes, centres, the Talloires Declaration, the Second Nature web page, and some others. Perhaps we should also be finding out how environment is integrated into courses across campus? (AHS was suggested). Roydon Fraser indicated that Engineering students could leave the university with no knowledge of environmental issues.

Background: "The first recognition is that all education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded, emphasized or ignored, students learn that they are a part of or apart from the natural world.... Environmental issues are complex and cannot be understood through a single discipline or department.... The danger lies in the possibility, even probability, that environmental studies departments will become just another jealously guarded, closed, academic fiefdom, and will fail to catalyze ecological thinking." -- David Orr, Professor and Author, Ecological Literacy 1992; Earth in Mind (1994), champion of Greening the Campus.

Greening the campus is like greening any other institution, it is about decreasing our ecological footprint. But it is more than this, it is also about turning out environmentally literate students. UW has done much institutional greening. However it has done very little, if anything, to green the curriculum so that it turns out students who are environmentally literate. In fact I would argue that it has fallen into the trap that David Orr warns of. Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies are "jealously guarding" their fiefdoms and this is preventing the greening of the curriculum and the catalyziation of ecological thinking at UW. While we are at the forefront of institutional greening at UW, a look at greening programmes at other campuses reveals that we are far behind when it comes to greening the curriculum. Only by facing this challenge can we hope to truly green the campus.

4.   ERS 285 Student Projects this term:

   Cook briefed the committee on the student projects for the summer term. They include:

* Denotes those projects suggested by members of the WATgreen Advisory Committee.

5.    North Campus Pond

Hamish Duthie reviewed the findings of student's Senior Honours Project on the North Campus Pond. The summary was distributed at the meeting. In general, her recommendations included bulldozing the steep banks and using barley straw to stabilize the bottom sediments to retard phosphorus and nitrogen recycling and thus algal growth. Other issues discussed were; the presence of carp, the role of the drain that discharges into the pond, pesticide residues and other remedial action.

What is the long-term vision for the pond? It is a teaching resource adding to the teaching value of the woodlot.

The pond is ground-water fed. The turbidity indicates the presence of carp. Dave Barton has consented to remove the carp with rotenone, a fish specific benign, fish-killer (works on invertebrates only), or by removing them (with nets) on an annual basis. He would work with the Ministry of Natural Resources on the removal and disposal of the fish, and any licenses required.

Why is a fish free pond better? It is better for salamanders, frogs, etc.

If the banks need leveling, the water will have to be drained to some extent anyway, and this may assist in the removal of the carp, by whichever method. Both actions could be accomplished at the same time.

How much would it cost to bulldoze the sides of the pond? To poison the fish? To remove the fish via netting?

Hamish Duthie will ask Dave Barton to prepare some information on the restoration of the pond, or a restoration plan.

The 285 group studying the pond will have an estimate of the size of the pond, and pesticide tests either begun or completed, as well as an investigation of the carp, and the drain.

Dr. Patricia Chow-Fraser, McMaster University, heads the Cootes Paradise component of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, and has promised to donate the aquatic plants from Cootes Paradise.

6.   Other Business:

  1. Styrofoam plates and cups recycling at the City of Waterloo Caroline Street depot?
    Patti Cook will investigate.
  2. Dennis Huber reviewed the proposal to collect the methane gas from the Region of Waterloo Landfill.
  3. Hamish Duthie reminded the committee that the committee terms for: Paul Eagles, Applied Health Sciences; Winston Cherry, Mathematics; and Hamish Duthie, Science are all up in September 1998. Renewals or replacements will be required.
    Patti to send out notices to Deans.

7.   Next Meeting:

September, 1998.

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Last updated: July 23, 1998 plc