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Campus community gets ‘green’ in support of sustainability

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 9, 2015 11:00 a.m.

 Taneal Brucks gets ready to apply compost tea to the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green – part of the Plant Health Care Model trialed this summer and supported by the Sustainability and Community Engagement Fund.
Taneal Brucks gets ready to apply compost tea to the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green – part of the Plant Health Care Model trialed this summer and supported by the Sustainability and Community Engagement Fund. Photo courtesy of Andres Palma.

October is Sustainability Action and Awareness Month (SAAM). As part of the month-long activities on campus, the University is offering students, faculty and staff a chance to earn some ‘green’ to support sustainability initiatives.   

Back for the second year is the Sustainability and Community Engagement Fund, which helps build a culture of sustainability among the University of Regina campus community while fostering positive impacts in the surrounding community.

The Fund supports students, faculty and staff in becoming more active citizens by funding projects that foster a stronger engagement for sustainable and socially responsible practices and actions on campus.

The deadline to submit ideas is Nov. 2, 2015. In all, $28,000 will be available to help develop new iniatives.

Last year, funding was provided for such programs as a bike repair station, a portable digital smart board, and a greywater treatment system.

Another project trialed the plant health care model – a method of plant stewardship that builds up healthy soil bacteria that are required to release nutrients into the soil from decomposing dead plants, generating healthy plants without the need for pesticides or chemical fertilizer.

The plant health care model was piloted on the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green this summer, thanks largely to the hard work of students Taneal Brucks and Andres Palma.

“These highly talented summer students did an amazing job using compost tea, overseeding, organic fertilizer and hand weeding. The oval lawn is in much better shape than it normally would be at this time of year,” says biochemistry professor Dr. Tanya Dahms, who was the project lead.

“The Plant Health Care Model is a safe and environmentally-friendly alternative to toxic pesticides,” she says. “This project supports our University’s Strategic Plan, which identifies sustainability and community engagement as key priorities for the University.”

In addition to launching the second round of the Sustainability and Community Engagement Fund, a number of events will take place on campus in October in support of SAAM. Whether it’s coming up with ideas to engage in sustainable and socially responsible practices and actions on campus, trying fair trade coffee, learning about the car share program, taking the stairs or recycling, there are lots of activities throughout the month.