grounds

Grounds and Biodiversity

University of Windsor is strongly committed to expanding green spaces on campus. 

An inventory of trees on campus was completed in 2011 and you can read the report "Campus Tree Management Plan and Campus Environmental Asset Review".

The Stewart Moore Carolinian Garden and Campus Community Garden Project promote local plant species, biodiversity, and sustainability. 

One of the university’s most unique memorials is the Stewart Moore Carolinian Garden near Leddy Library. It’s no exaggeration to say Helen Moore BA ’73 created the garden for her husband. She dug and planted most of it herself, and continues to tend the native plants that attract song birds to the hub of campus with progressive blooms from spring to fall. The garden was dedicated in 2002.

Stewart Moore is best remembered as a professor and mentor, but many alumni also remember that he called them annually during the phonathon. As a volunteer caller, he was a perennial leader in total gifts raised.

Stewart and Helen also donated to create a bursary for social work students. Helen increased her donation following Stewart’s passing, and with matching funds from the Ontario government, the endowment has been able to provide bursaries of $1,000 a year to five deserving students in Social Work.

View a video of the garden.

As a  butterfly garden, the Stewart Moore Carolinian Garden and is a registered Monarch Watch waystation with MonarchWatch.org.

Feel free to visit the garden and observe the natural flora and fauna. The photos below depict (clockwise from top left): ironweed (July), wild bergamont (July), milkweed (June), serviceberry (June), butterfly weed (June), trillium (May), witch hazel (April), black-eyed susan (June-July), redbud (May), and in the centre: bottlebrush grass (June-July).

Carolinian Garden collage

Created in 2010,  Campus Community Garden is dedicated to building healthy, interactive urban communities through the collective  production of locally grown, organic food. Drawing on the varied  expertise at the University and within the local community, this garden  emphasizes education and sustainability.

 In addition to producing organic food, the garden increases biodiversity  and sustainability by retaining valuable rain water, for instance.  Vegetables and native plants grown at the garden provide habitat and  food for beneficial organisms such as butterflies and birds. CCG  contributes to the community by supplying food for people in need as  well as engaging, educating, and empowering people to grow their own food.

New plots are available.

Become a member or a volunteer!

Learn more and join us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uwindsorCCG/

Why create a bird-friendly campus?

  • Around 25 million birds die as a result of collisions with windows, which is now the second leading anthropogenic cause of death for birds.

  • Each year, migratory birds will fly long distances to go from their wintering grounds to their breeding grounds, and back, crossing hundreds of miles of land and various bodies of water. Through their migration, birds fly through cities, due to the light pollution in the skies, that draws them near, while the glass buildings are too reflective, causing collisions. Bird casualties impact the populations of both native and migratory birds. 

  • The concern was brought forward by Alysha Riquier, a graduate student of integrative biology. The Bird Friendly Campus Initiative started in March 2023 and will work in collaboration with UWindsor Grounds and Operations staff, faculty, staff and students. 

What is the university doing? 

  • The University of Windsor is incorporating bird-friendly designs in new buildings and on some windows that are being replaced. A great example is the new Toldo Lancer Center and Law Building which has incorporated a pleasing design which makes glass visible to birds and, therefore, reduces bird window collisions.

  • However not all buildings on the University of Windsor’s campus are bird-friendly. In Spring 2023, the university initiated the monitoring of bird casualties with campus windows; the amazing Grounds staff have already started documenting.

  • Biology professor Dan Mennill heads research into urban avian populations. Professor Mennill's lab uses acoustic recordings to track bird migration, to study social interactions between birds, and to understand bird mating behaviour. They record birds that pass over us during migration, and we have found that artificial light serves as a great distraction to migratory birds. We also record birds in different areas of cities, to understand which aspects of urban green spaces are important for birds.

How can you help?

  • We can use your help to identify windows that cause bird casualties, through a citizen science initiative to help both migratory and native birds on campus

  • Alysha worked with the Office of Sustainability in developing a simple form that will enable members of the university community to report bird casualties, to help track and identify where efforts should be considered to make the campus bird-friendly.
  • Fill out the form and submit a photo of the bird and the surrounding area if you encounter a bird casualty. 
  • Other ways to help include reducing light pollution (#DimLightsforBirds) and reduce pollution to waterways by using reusable water bottles and reusable bags
  • Learn more about birds from the UWindsor Ornithology Club

This initiative connects to UNSDG Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 15: Life on Land, Goal 14: Life below Water.

What is next?

  • Monitor bird casualties reported along with specific locations to determine windows that require standardized bird decals
  • Create standards for bird decals (making sure they are placed in the right location and have the correct spacing to be effective)

The bird-friendly campus initiative is in collaboration with The Pelee Island Bird Observatory.

Pelee Island Bird Observatory Logo

Other Resources:

City of Windsor designated a Bird Friendly City on June 16, 2022 (in partnership with Nature Canada and Pelee Island Bird Observatory)

World Bird Migratory Day (May 13, 2023) - Theme: Water- Sustaining bird life

  • This year, we invite you to learn more about how migratory birds depend on water, from its use as a habitat and a source of food, to the ways it supports plant growth and the many insects some birds depend on. We encourage you to explore water, how you can help to conserve and protect it.
  • #DimtheLight
  • Windsor received certification from Nature Canada as a bird-friendly city in June 2022, recognizing work to make it a safe haven for wild birds.

  • The city will hold its first “Urban Birding Challenge” this week to introduce new birders to discovering nature in urban environments. Spot the most birds in a 24-hour period to compete for prizes. See details here

Article by Dan Mennill: Want to save millions of migratory birds? Turn off your outdoor lights in spring and fall (April 7, 2019)

FLAP Canada

FLAP Bird Friendly Campus

The Jull Environmental Club, in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering have planted local species on the CEI rooftop highlighting plants within the four Windsor- Essex ecosystems:

Prairie – Canada Wild Rye, Pale Coneflower, Ohio Spiderwort, Wild Bergamot, Switchgrass, Butterfly Milkweed, and Missouri Ironweed

Oak savanna – Wild Lupine, Dwarf Blazingstar, New Jersey Tea, Balsam Ragwort, Pennsylvania Sedge, Wild Columbine, and Black-Eyed Susan

Carolinian – Canada Mayflower, Wild Ginger, Spinulose Woodfern, Wild Geranium, Bloodroot, Hairy Solomon’s Seal, and Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Wetland – Sensitive Fern, Marsh Fern, Blue Flag Iris, Cardinal Flower, Turtle Head, Ostrich Fern, Michigan Lily, and Royal Fern

For more information visit: Garden | Faculty of Science (uwindsor.ca)