Presentation on theme: "University Stewardship & Sustainability Martin J. Lechowicz Professor of Biology and Director, Gault Nature Reserve Gault Nature Reserve: 1958-2008 Mont."— Presentation transcript:
University Stewardship & Sustainability Martin J. Lechowicz Professor of Biology and Director, Gault Nature Reserve Gault Nature Reserve: 1958-2008 Mont St-Hilaire Biosphere Reserve 1978-2008 RETHINK 2008
Benefactors & Legacies Redpath Museum - 1882 Mont St-Hilaire – Gault Estate 1913 – 1958 - 2008 McGill University 1822- 1913 -2008 James McGills Burnside Estate
The Gault Bequest: 1958 Andrew Hamilton Gault Brigadier Gault left his mountain property to the university stipulating "...that its beauties and amenities may be preserved for all time to come, not only to the immediate interests of the university itself, but through its corridors of learning, as a great heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the youth of Canada."
Exceptional natural diversity Over 500 native plant species, 38 designated rare and at risk. Over 340 minerals, 42 known from nowhere else in the world. Over 800 butterfly and moth species, 130 rare. 15 species of herps, and two others known to be lost to development on the perimeter of the reserve since the 1960s. More than 200 bird species, including the peregrine falcon Unharvested forests with trees 500+ years old, two forest types endangered in Qc.
On visiting Mont St-Hilaire in 1929, Frère Marie-Victorin wrote: "Quel éblouissement ! La montagne entière, la féerie des verts harmonisés des érables, des hêtres, des chênes et des bouleaux, et, au fond de la coupe, de l'écrin plutôt, l'opale mal taillée du lac Hertel. Iconic status in Quebec science
Mont St-Hilaire: a haven for artists 1864-1955 1905-1960 Paul Émile Borduas
Respecting the Gault Bequest: 1958-2008, and beyond Mission of the Gault Nature Reserve: Ensure that the ecological integrity of Mont St. Hilaire is maintained for future generations Ensure that both the University and the public appreciate and benefit from the academic and cultural value of the mountain. Encourage university outreach in the region Principals come and go, the university and its commitments go on.
A stewardship challenge: both the universitys Monteregian Hills Mont St. Hilaire Mont Royal
Since 1958 Mont St. Hilaire has grown from a rural village to a thriving suburb at the edge of greater Montreal – in this century the reserve will be enveloped by suburban development. Honoring our stewardship obligation: the challenge of a peri-urban environment 1958: Mont St. Hilaire population – 5,500 1999: Mont St. Hilaire population --13,500 18,000 TODAY! 1958 1999
McGill: a global university in a local reality …getting on with the neighbors isnt always easy!
Lessons for the university from Mont Royal …the necessity of community partnerships View from the Sulpician property on the southern flank of Mont Royal ~ 1839
University-Community partnerships at Mont St-Hilaire Alice Johannsen Director, Redpath Museum 1952-1970 Founding Director, Mont St-Hilaire Nature Conservation Centre 1972-1979 VILLE DE MONT ST-HILAIRE Creator of the Mont St-Hilaire Biosphere Reserve in 1978 – the first Canadian biosphere reserve designated by the United Nations. LOCAL REGIONAL NATIONAL INTERNATIONAL
The mission of the Nature Centre La mission du Centre de la Nature aujourdhui est de: 1.Assurer l'intégrité à court et à long terme du patrimoine naturel de la montagne 2. Offrir, à tous les groupes de la société, un contact privilégié avec la nature accompagné d'une gamme d'activités éducatives et culturelles 3. Promouvoir la conservation des milieux naturels de la région. Initially informal, guided by Alice and her vision That vision was lost with Alices death in 1992 In the late 1990s the Governing Board struggled to define an explicit mission
Mont St-Hilaire Nature Conservation Centre 8 permanent staff, 15-20 seasonals 4900 members Annual operating budget of ~$1,000,000 Strong media presence Fund raising: for land acquisitions renovation of the Johannsen Pavilion http://www.centrenature.qc.ca/index.html Our primary partner in the community … a robust relationship built on shared interests, complementary missions and mutual benefits.
McGills global mission: linking beyond the region Organization of Biological Field Stations
Sustainability around the reserve: global links, local action Mont St. Hilaire Biosphere Reserve http://www.unesco.org/mab/wnbr.htm
Forest corridors project Biodiversity and recreational corridors linking the Monteregian Hills Revitalizing the character of the Monteregian landscape Respecting our natural and patrimonial heritage on a living landscape
The Gault Estate becomes Gault Nature Reserve 6 March 2003 Signing of an entente with the Qc Minister of Environment to protect our property under the Natural Heritage Act as an official nature reserve. 20 September 2004 Official declaration of the Gault Nature Reserve
Contributions to Quebecs Sustainable Development Initiative Gault Nature Reserve as a model for good stewardship through university-community cooperation "Sustainable Development - Because Quality of Life Counts!" 2004-2007 Thomas Mulcair, then the Québec Minister of Environment, "…saluer lengagement exceptionnel de lUniversité McGill et de lensemble de ses partenaires dans la préservation de cette merveilleuse colline montérégienne et de cette beauté de la nature quest le mont Saint-Hilaire".