Niagara College greens its way to a Canadian first with Audubon certification

Al Unwin, associate dean of the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies (right) with faculty members Mylee Nordin and Margaret Pickles (pictured left) tour Audubon’s director of Sustainable Community Programs Jessica Latus (middle) around the NOTL Campus grounds for Audubon’s on-site audit in late September.  Niagara College photo

Niagara College has become the first post-secondary educational institution in Canada to be designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

The College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus has achieved the designation through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP), an Audubon International program. It is the eighth property in Canada and the 37th in the world to be certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

The College was commended for projects it has undertaken to enhance its wildlife habitat, achieve sensitive maintenance practices and inform people about its commitment to environmental quality.

“Niagara College Canada is an exemplary Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary,” said Jessica Latus, director of Sustainable Community Programs at Audubon International. “The work of both students and faculty in creating an environment that is both conducive to learning while simultaneously offering habitat to wildlife is phenomenal. We can all learn from the progressive nature of Niagara College’s efforts in being a leader in sustainability.”

To reach certification, a property must demonstrate a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas including: environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water quality and conservation, resource management, and outreach and education. Properties go through a recertification process every three years.

“Being certified by Audubon International is a fantastic recognition of the environmental and sustainable practices that Niagara College has developed over the years to ensure a living lab campus that continues to apply best practices through curriculum and experiential learning,” said Judy Johnson, landscape operations supervisor at NC. Johnson also received an Environmental Stewardship Award from Audubon International for her work to obtain the campus’ sanctuary designation.

The College’s certification involved a variety of programs and departments across the College, primarily the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, and the NC Sustainability department. It also included the NC Greenhouse, Facilities Management Services, the resource committee, grounds committee and grounds staff.

Alan Unwin, associate dean of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, said the certification is a strong illustration of the College’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

“All that we have achieved has been while ensuring that students are maximizing the use of our campus as a truly beautiful living laboratory,” said Unwin. “We are proud of this recognition but it will only inspire us to do more to protect and enhance the diversity of life that exists at this campus well into the future while involving students in every possible way.”

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program provides information and guidance to help businesses and organizations preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, and protect natural resources. Businesses, schools, parks, and other properties from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, and Southeast Asia have achieved certification in the program. Visit

Source – Niagara College press release



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