Western was founded in 1878 and spans over 450 hectares of land. We take pride in our landscape and strive to sustainably maintain our green spaces. This includes the protection of natural and wetland areas throughout the campus as well as restoration to the land. For example, plants such as milkweed are left to flower, even in areas where they are not intentionally planted, as they are an important source of food for pollinators.
Our campus is located within the Carolinian Life Zone; the most biodiverse ecological region in Canada!
Landscape Services at Western uses a variety of practices to support ecologically-beneficial plantings across campus. Native plants are considered first in planting plans, and the right plant is selected for the right location.
In Western's new rain garden by the Physics and Astronomy Building low maintenance native plants like coneflower, Joe-pye weed, and Christmas fern will be planted. Non-native plants are selected to complement native species, where conditions are not suitable to native plants, and to contribute to our role as an Arboretum. Jane's Garden in the Biological & Geological Sciences Building (BGSB) courtyard is a great example of this planting practice with many native and non-native plants.
Gardens to Visit
There are many unique and beautiful green spaces across Western's campus to explore! Listed below are a few of the unique locations enjoyed by the campus community:
- EnviroWestern Community Garden
- Located next to the Greenhouses, this student-led initiative is building community, local food security and food literacy! Wander around the garden to enjoy the beautiful space, and contact EnviroWestern to get involved.
- Tropical Greenhouse
- The tropical greenhouse is the largest in the greenhouse complex, and contains a small path leading visitors past many specimens and a pond!
- Jane's Garden
- Located in the B&G Building courtyard, this garden showcases a lovely complement of native and non-native plants.
- Beryl Ivey Garden
- A serene green space located behind University College. Perfect for studying and reading, or enjoying a relaxing meal in nature.
- Indigenous Food & Medicine Garden
- Soon to be located at the new Indigenous Learning Space, this garden will contain a variety of berries, traditional tobacco, cedar, and medicinal sage; with a purpose to provide opportunities for community gatherings and knowledge sharing.
- Rain Infiltration Garden
- Located by the Physics and Astronomy Building, this is Western's first naturalized rain garden; featuring low-maintenance native plants that help rainwater infiltrate into the ground, rather than flow as stormwater runoff into the sewer system
Invasive Species Management
Invasive species have been targeted aggressively across campus. Buckthorn and non-native honeysuckle have been targeted in the woods behind IGAB, parts of the river bank, and other areas around campus. An invasive Arailia species was identified by faculty in the Department of Biology, and has also been targeted. In collaboration with Brescia University College, Phragmites is being controlled in the area behind Ivey Business School.
Invasive species are not planted on campus, and those that are in place will stay until they reach their end of life and are cut down (e.g. Norway Maple); along with succession plantings of appropriate species. Pre-COVID, an Environmental Sciences class participated annually in a buckthorn bust! We look forward to re-introducing campus community initiatives such as these once we are back on campus. If you're interested in getting involved, please contact us at email@example.com.