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SDG 15: Life on Land

Green icon with graphic of tree and birds to represent UNSDG Goal 15: Life on Land.

Dalhousie sits on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people

We recognize the interconnectedness of all of our relationships — to the environment and to each other — for generations to come.

At 32-hectares in area, the three Halifax campuses are home to a mixture of native plant species and boasts over 1000 trees and 1000 shrubs, green roofs, rain gardens, and one of the oldest trees in Halifax. The Truro Campus is in an area with a rich history of agricultural production and has many hectares of open space punctuated by gardens, naturalized areas, recreation areas, and over 100 species of plants.

High-impact research

Fowl language: AI is learning to analyze chicken communications to help us understand what all the clucking’s about
Dal researchers are appliing artificial intelligence (AI) to decode the language of chickens. It’s a project that’s set to revolutionize our understanding of these feathered creatures and their communication methods, offering a window into their world that was previously closed to us. Read the story about translating chicken in The Conversation.

Have we reached the end of nature? Our relationship with the environment is in crisis
Derek Lynch a Professor of Agronomy and Agroecology reflects on the fact that there are no unaltered ecosystems on earth and that they are being pushed past tipping points of collapse at a faster rate. Read the Dal News story about ecosystem collapse.

5-year study to look at how move to ecological methods affects N.S. forests, economy
A group of researchers led by Dalhousie University is studying how shifting to an ecological forestry model will affect Nova Scotians and the environment. The research team will look at the effects on biodiversity, the economy, carbon sequestration and recreation over the next five years. Read the CBC article about ecological forestry.

Humans exact 'supersized' toll on world's ecosystems, international study finds
Dr. Boris Worm, a marine ecologist and Killam Research Professor at Dalhousie, co-authored the global study, which is the largest of its kind. One of the most significant findings was how many different species are exploited by humans. As a result, the ecological roles these species perform in ecosystems are under threat from human use. Read the Dal News story about how humans exploit ecosystems.

Dal postdoc predicts health of soil — one of nature's 'storage lockers' for carbon
By determining how long a compound will persist in the soil, researchers, like Dr. Shu, can develop soil management practices that promote sustainable agricultural production and minimize negative impacts on the environment. Dr. Shu is working to help Atlantic Canadian farmers better assess land use management to increase crop production. Read the Dal News story about soil management practices.

Building a better world with the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples
The project, titled Ărramăt will empower Indigenous Peoples to address issues such as food security, human-wildlife management, and the decolonization of science. Led by Dr. Pictou, Dalhousie’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Governance,  Ărramăt will involve more than 150 Indigenous organizations, universities, and other partners. Read the Dal News story about Ărramăt.

Knowledge transfer aimed at changing behaviour and thought
The Green Infrastructure Performance Lab examines the impact of urban growth and change upon natural features & human wellbeing and uses the findings in order to integrate knowledge, influence policy, and sustain ecosystem services.

Dalhousie opens Centre for Sustainable Soil Management on Agricultural Campus
The sustainable management of soil is critical to maintaining productivity and ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition. Read the Dal News story about sustainable soil management.

Education empowers sustainability
The Education for Sustainability Research Group (ESRG) at Dalhousie University tackles many issues related to education and sustainability through their research activities including environmental education initiatives that reach from pre-school to high school.

How Does Your Garden Grow? A new Dal study tracks Nova Scotian gardening habits one pot and plot at a time
The study, “Home Food Gardening in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Food Security Considerations,” uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology and crowdsourcing to collect data on home gardening in Nova Scotia. The research team wants to find out the scope and extent to which Nova Scotians have turned to home food production since the onset of the pandemic, and to examine the impact these activities have on food security in the province. Read the DAL Magazine story about this exploration into home gardening.  

Exceptional student experience

Student “building bee” creates new space for pollinators on campus
The project involved coordinating and working with various groups on campus to create two pollinator walls and a standalone planter that will be installed during Biodiversity Week. The walls, designed by architechture students, include a bench for observation. The vine on the wall will be red to attract different pollinators but many of the native perennials in the planters will have colours to attract bees. Read the Dal News story about making space for pollinators.

How a group of Dal educators has transformed the outdoors into a classroom
A group of educators from across Dal has created a unique approach to helping students appreciate the richness of nature close at hand through an annual event known as Dal Biodiversity Day. Read the Dal News story about Dal Biodiversity Day.

Start from the ground up
Why and how do volcanoes erupt? Where do we look for oil and reliable water supplies? Why is our climate is changing? The disciplines of Earth Sciences play a crucial role in answering questions such as these and developing insight into the Earth's evolution, composition, processes and future.

Help build a greener economy
Integrated Environmental Management offers training in green science and technology. Founded on the four pillars of bio-resources — technology, energy, water, and waste — students gain the skills to create sustainable solutions to our national and global resource management and food production needs.

Grad profile: A steward of the land
"The Landscape Architecture program at Dalhousie includes fascinating courses such as Urban Tree Management, Environmental Studies, Environmental Processes and Ecohydrology,” explained Victoria. “These courses have emphasized the importance of our natural environment and the necessity to work and learn from this beautiful life sustaining ecosystem." Read the Dal News story about the Landscape Architecture student experience.

Civic university with global impact

Truro Campus Rock Garden receives international accolades
The Truro Rock Garden is one of the two largest rock gardens in Atlantic Canada and is one of the most significant horticultural features in Eastern Canada. Horticulture and wood construction students play a large role in contributing to the garden, which recently received the Frank Cabot Public Garden Award during the North American Rock Garden Society annual conference held on the Truro campus this year. Read about the Rock Garden in Faculty of Agriculture news.

Bridge Into Agriculture: A Program for African Nova Scotians
Hosted by the Extended Learning Department of the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture, Bridge Into Agriculture will help bridge the gap between African Nova Scotian communities and agriculture through a 22-week online course that includes growing a small vegetable garden. Read about the Bridge into Agriculture program in Faculty of Agriculture news.

Lessons from the land: Dal's SuperNOVA teams up with Indigenous educational group for first land‑based STEM camp
The program is free of charge and offers students unique learning opportunities across a rich landscape. From studying fish life cycles along traditional Mi’kmaw waterways to applying engineering concepts while building a sweat lodge, activities will use nature as a guide, recognizing the inherent connection that Indigenous peoples have always had with the land. Read the Dal News story about the land-based STEM camp.

Where Ideas Meet Impact: In business to build a better apple
Leveraging unique genome mapping research from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture, startup Foodimprover is set to transform the global fruit sector’s ability to rapidly improve the taste, shelf life and resilience of our favourite fruits and berries. Read the Dal News story about turning apple research into enterprise.

Helping nourish garden and community
The Garden Box was created by the Faculty of Agriculture to provide freely accessible, scientifically credible, gardening information. The compilation of factsheets and workshop guides are made available to the public on our website, free of charge.

Exhibition at Dalhousie Art Gallery: Plant Kingdom
Plant Kingdom emerged as a means to reflect on the ways that life on our planet is dependent upon, enriched by, and indebted to plants. The elements of this exhibition, both in the Gallery and offsite, present and engage with the ways in which plants are integral to the cultivation and creation of material culture, and how this represents the larger value of plants to our planet. Read about the Exhibition in Today@Dal.

Foundation for inclusion and distinction

Setting the standard for Dalhousie's natural environment
To guide the management of campus landscapes, Dalhousie has a Natural Environment Guideline Document and a Natural Environment Plan that outline standards for the management of the campus natural environment, including a diameter tree replacement policy, approved plant lists, and standards for stormwater management.

Building buzz: Dal designated Canada’s 20th Bee Campus for pollinator protection efforts
In a buzzing development, Dalhousie has officially been designated the 20th Bee Campus in Canada by Bee City Canada, a Canadian non-profit dedicated to inspiring cities, towns, First Nations, schools, businesses and other organizations to take action to protect pollinators. Read the Dal News story about the Bee Campus designation.

Campus Biodiversity Week 2023
The Office of Sustainability is thrilled to once again invite Dal staff, students, and faculty to join our tours and workshops to learn more about the importance of biodiversity including an Indigenous Plant Medicine Walk, Pollinator Wall Planting, and the Solar Butterfly Exhibit.

Rooted in collaboration
The annual Boots 'n' Blooms event on the Agricultural Campus invites staff, faculty and friends to sign up and contribute some sweat equity into the campus gardens.

Supporting species at risk
Dal's Species at Risk assessment, is based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. This monitoruing nad planning list helps to guide plantings and protections on campus.

College Royal
Over 100 students participate in the annual College Royal event which demonstrates a dedication to maintaining the culture of animal-husbandry and health, while improving public awareness of agricultural issues. The event has been a part of the campus culture since 1935. Read about the College Royal in Faculty of Agriculture news.

Planting project aims to restore biodiversity in a charming corner of campus
A wooded area tucked behind Shirreff Hall residence on Studley Campus is the site of an exciting new project that promises to bring greater biodiversity back to this charming corner of campus. Samantha Ceci, a Master of Resource and Environmental Management student, initiated a 'hugelkultur bed.’ It’s the second new biodiversity initiative introduced on Studley Campus in 2021. An Indigenous pollinator garden opened nearby on the north side of the Henry Hicks Building, a partnership between the Dalhousie Art Gallery and members of Dal's Indigenous Advisory Council. Read the Dal News story about the planting projects.