WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?: New bushes at U of Guelph to offset building

University of Guelph students Nick Barkhouse, left, and Bernardo Santos work together to plant one of hundreds of new trees meant to offset the carbon emissions associated with construction of the new Lang Plaza in front of the Gordon S. Lang School of Bu

University of Guelph students (U of G) said goodbye to a beloved tobogganing hill on Wednesday, Sept. 29, helping to plant hundreds of trees that will turn the grassy slope near Lambton Hall into a naturalized area meant to make the campus a little greener.

“We plant trees to fight climate change,” Trees for Life founder and well-known gardening expert Mark Cullen told volunteers gathered for the tree planting event.

“We do this not for ourselves; we do it for our children; we do it for our grandchildren.”

JUST THE FACTS

A national charity focused on tree- and shrub-planting initiatives, Trees for Life collaborated with U of G’s Sustainability Office and the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics for the tree-planting event. With sponsorship from the Lang school, the event aimed to plant roughly 700 trees to offset the carbon emissions associated with the construction of the new Lang Plaza.

“We’re proud to say that this new plaza … is going to be carbon-neutral,” Greg Bauer, associate dean of strategic partnerships at Lang, said in his opening remarks at the event.

The plaza, which officially opened in September, is located outside Macdonald Hall, along College Avenue. It features seating areas, a fire pit, a bio-infiltration garden and a water fountain named for former dean Julia Christensen Hughes.

Funding for the year-long construction of the space was part of a $21-million donation to the business school in 2019 from longtime U of G supporters Stu and Kim Lang through their Angel Gabriel Foundation, a U of G news release said.

University students and staff and community members volunteered for the tree-planting event, filling pre-drilled holes with saplings of a variety of native species.

The area being planted, located between the Lambton Hall student residence and Cutten Fields, has been used for decades by students as a sledding hill, and some volunteers participating in the event said it is still sometimes used that way.

The university said naturalizing the area will help reduce mowing maintenance and will enhance biodiversity.

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