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Dawson College staff in Montreal step up for animals to take on Earth Day Challenge

Click to play video 'Staff at Dawson College in Montreal take on Earth Day Challenge' Staff at Dawson College in Montreal take on Earth Day Challenge
WATCH: April 22 is Earth Day and with most people staying inside to fight a pandemic, the earth is actually faring better than usual. In some institutions that have been locked up by COVID-19, there’s a need to keep plants and animals alive. As Phil Carpenter reports, staff at Dawson have stepped up to the challenge.

Staff at Dawson College are taking steps to make sure plants and animals at the school survive the COVID-19 lockdown.

Teams of two to three people visit the campus a few times a week to feed fish and worms and water some 500 plants in offices and classrooms scattered all over the school.

The CEGEP closed March 13th because of the pandemic, which meant no one was going to be around to do so.

“We all got a little worried and stuff but as the time went on, everybody just banded together,” explained Megan Jutras, a project coordinator at Dawson’s Sustainability Office.

READ MORE: Earth Month: 6 ways to reduce your household waste

Now that it’s spring, their workload is about to get even heavier since there are also rooftop gardens and other biodiversity zones to look after.

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“For example [Thursday] we’re opening up our bees on our rooftops, and definitely opening up our gardens and start planting,” said Jutras.

All of this is being organized by the school’s Sustainability Office, established three years ago to help coordinate projects around the college — gardens, natural habitats and biodiversity zones — in order for the institution realize its sustainability goals.

“For example, how much waste do we produce and how much we want to reduce it?” said Adam.  “Are we bringing down our greenhouse gases?”

READ MORE: 22 eco-friendly products to shop for in honour of Earth Day

The office also promotes wellness through the implementation of the various initiatives, so they’e making sure those living projects are around for when staff and students return.

“We think of it as an extension of our core value of well being for all,” Adam pointed out.

He added that looking after plants and other creatures isn’t just good for stress relief, but it also cultivates a habit of caring.

“[Like] making sure that the birds we hear at our country place north of Montreal have a place to go in the summer,” he explained.  “So we’re creating a forest in Nicaragua.”
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The plan for the forest, he said, is to plant 30,000 trees in that country to offset two years of the college’s carbon footprint.

That practice of caring, he believes, extends into attentiveness for the planet, and it’s something he thinks students are learning.