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Sustainable development history

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Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)

Long before “sustainable development” became fashionable, Montréal Space for Life institutions were already working towards this end in many ways.  Here are a few significant examples.

1938

Youth Gardens: the “Jardinets d’écoliers” (now the Youth Gardens), created by the Botanical Garden's founder, gives city kids an inexpensive way to get in touch with nature.

1980

During the 1980s, the Botanical Garden initiated and supported popular movements for the greening of the city, such as the Villes et villages fleuris beautification campaign, the Place au soleil program (aimed at turning alleyways into green spaces) and the creation of community gardens

1994

Monarchs Without Borders: For the past two decades, in support of the Monarch Watch program run by the University of Kansas, the Insectarium has managed its own Monarchs Without Borders project. This initiative consists of distributing over a thousand monarch-raising kits to teachers, educators, families and individuals interested in butterfly migration. A few weeks later, they take part in tagging the beautiful monarchs and setting them free!

1994 - 2011

Play it Again: An international competition featuring toys made from reused materials developed in cooperation with Club 2/3. This is an educational plastic arts project tackling themes such as economics, overconsumption, the inequalities of the north-south divide and cultural differences and similarities.

1995

SEM’AIL: An awareness, education and restoration program for wild leek in Quebec. A total of 1,117 landowners interested in protecting the species planted wild leek in their maple stands, located in five priority regions: Montérégie, Lanaudière, Outaouais, the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships. This operation was a resounding success. The species was successfully established in over 80% of cases. The program remains active to this day.

2005

Waterless urinals: 11 (including 9 for members of the public) were installed at the Biodôme. Each urinal saves about 151,000 litres of drinking water annually. 

2009

Manifesto: In early 2009, the Nature Museums carried out a major introspective exercise to identify what they were and what they wanted to be, which led to the development of a manifesto. Humans in the heart of nature emerged as the central theme of the manifesto, and the exercise led to the creation of the Montréal Space for Life.

2010

A Sustainable Development Advisor position was created, a sustainable development policy was adopted and the first sustainable development committee was created at Montréal Space for Life.  

2010

A Kéroul path at the Botanical Garden: In September 2010, Space for Life officially opened the Kéroul path, a 2.55 km route specially designed and adapted for visitors with limited mobility.

2010

Towards a grassroots movement: In May 2010, the Montréal Space for Life team and 4,200 children from the RÉPAQ alternative public schools network marked the International Day for Biological Diversity by tossing seed balls onto the path linking the Insectarium and the Biodôme, to fill it with colourful flowers.

2013

Citizen engagement. The charter of public participation, produced through a process of co-creation and consultation with the public, institutional partners, employees and community groups, confirms the citizen engagement approach of Space for Life.

And we aren't done yet!

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