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Archive for ‘December, 2016’

Latornell-Logo-Refresh-20th-outlined-tree-transparentIn mid-November staff from St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre attended the annual Latornell Conservation Symposium. Latornell is the preeminent conservation conference, bringing together government ministries, conservation authorities, policy makers, nongovernmental organizations, academics and businesses to discuss the challenges and future of conversation. The conference provides a great opportunity to share ideas and learn what others have been doing to help protect Ontario’s environment.

This year’s theme focused on green infrastructure and how it is an important part of tackling a host of issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, water management, public health and fostering sustainable communities. Green infrastructure includes living systems such as natural areas, forests, parks, streams and riparian zones, wetlands and agricultural lands, as well as engineered facilities such as green roofs, rain gardens and stormwater ponds.  It can be implemented at multiple scales including regional networks of open spaces, agricultural lands, natural areas, and through site-specific practices.

Latornell_2016_Green_Infrastructure_Logo_v2-171x300Keynote speakers Dr. Faisal Moola and Dr. Dianne Saxe kicked off the conference. Dr. Faisal works with the David Susuki Foundation and has spent years working to protect wild areas such as the Great Bear Rainforest, and working with communities to establish local natural areas, such as the Homegrown National Park in Toronto. In his talk, Dr. Faisal reminded us that natural spaces have amazing beneficial impacts on the health of the communities who enjoy them. Next time you’re feeling stressed, go for a walk out in nature and reap the benefits!

Dr. Dianne Saxe is the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Previous to taking on this arms-length, government watch-dog role, Dr. Dianne was a highly respected environmental lawyer. In her current position she works hard to keep the public informed and the government in check, working to protect the environment and prepare for the future. Dr. Dianne talked about the Environmental Bill of Rights, which gives Ontarians the right to know about — and have a say in — government decisions that affect the environment. If you want to know more about an issue or a specific project, have a say in what the government is doing, or voice a concern, you’ll find the resources you need on the website of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

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Allan Arthur M. Sc., President, St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre President, Allan Arthur presented and participated in a panel discussion at the Landscape Ontario (LO) Growers Dinner.  Specifically, Allan spoke about the philosophy and history of seed zones and why St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre believes in the value of using seed zone sourced plants.  He also provided comments about the future and impact of seed zones to the nursery industry.


St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre President, Allan Arthur M. Sc., with Landscape Ontario Executive Director, Tony DiGiovanni.

The Landscape Ontario Growers’ Dinner was a great opportunity to engage with other LO members to better understand the important role of source-identified wild-type native plants for biodiversity conservation in Ontario.   “We were very pleased to be able to share our St Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre  vision and to discuss the opportunities as well as challenges that we face in the production and marketing of native plants in Ontario.   It is clear that there is strong and increasing market demand for source-identified Ontario native plants,” said Allan Arthur.  “We hope that LO and the Ontario industry as a whole embrace the opportunity to become leaders in helping to sustain Ontario’s natural biodiversity through the acceptance and promotion of source-identified native plants.”


Panel discussion (from Left to Right): Melissa Spearing, Barb MacDonald, Allan Arthur.

In addition to Allan’s presentation, there were excellent presentations by Barb MacDonald (on the MTO experience with native species on the Herb Gray Parkway) and Melissa Spearing  (on seed zone science, policies and the implications of climate change).  All three served to give members a good perspective of the issues as the industry evolves.


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