Let me just open this blog post in a very honest way – I am a huge baby when it comes to insects. They are really small but absolutely horrifying, they have skeletons on the outside of their bodies, and some have more legs than I have fingers which is the most horrifying thing in the world. Whenever I see a bug or have an unfortunate interaction with one, I’m paranoid for the next five minutes about what may be crawling on me that I’m unaware of. When I volunteered for this blog post, I figured I could give myself a reason to enjoy what otherwise would be a very neutral experience for me, but what I found is that I didn’t really need an excuse, the experience was quite interesting.
After our SCI 155 class departed from the metro station and arrived at the Insectarium, which was a much smaller building than I expected. I remember thinking that there wouldn’t be many bugs on display because of lack of space, but then I promptly remembered how small bugs are. Once we were inside, I saw the corny graphics on the wall of their stick bug mascot, there to inform us about the wonders of insectoid life. There was a large dome-like room with stairs descending down to the displays. The factoids on the wall were interesting with some good nuggets of information about what certain bugs eat, how they defend themselves, adaptations they may develop depending on their environment, but I’m a visual learner. The wall graphics weren’t nearly as interesting as the legions of mostly dead insects in glass cases, all staring at me with their wicked eyes and antennae.
Environmental change is a “big” issue, in the sense that it’s something too expansive for me as an individual to influence or change. It’s important, yes, but how is a single person supposed to influence this issue? Do the efforts of little each person really count?
With that in mind, I went with my Environmental Science in Montreal (SCI 155) class to the Concordia Greenhouse, a collectively run and consensus-based nonprofit organization. Their main goal is to promote sustainable horticulture and education through workshops, open exhibits, and a welcoming atmosphere created by the horticulture. They allow other groups to use their space for the purpose of displaying or experimenting with new techniques of growing, adding to the educational diversity it has. The greenhouse itself holds dedicated growing rooms or communal spaces, where more plants can grow in a less controlled environment. The dedicated rooms either held projects by the greenhouse or those who rented it out and growing rooms for specific plants. They are a promoter of the idea of urban agriculture, which is the idea that the urban landscape can work with sustainable growing methods to maximize the usefulness and value of space in cities through rooftop gardens and other urban agricultural solutions, such as smaller-scale greenhouses.
When you are living within a city, such as Montreal, it can be overwhelming sometimes with all of the towering buildings and concrete. However, just a short walk from downtown is Mont Royal, the mountain that Montreal has built its base around. This park is filled with plenty of picnic spots, hiking trails, running trails, and other refreshing green spaces.
As the semester is coming to an end, the SCI 155 environmental science class here in Montreal decided to take a trip to Mont Royal for our final field trip. Throughout the semester, we have visited several museums and science exhibits, however, this is the first time that we were able to get hands on experience within the community. Our task for the day – clean up trash throughout the park.
As an Early Childhood/Elementary Education major with a minor in Computer Science, I wasn’t sure what kind of internship I would get while studying in Montreal. I was thinking of going into the educational game field, maybe QA testing games with an educational perspective. When I was given the opportunity to intern at Kids Code Jeunesse as a curriculum developer, my ideas for this semester went from trying something new with the risk of not enjoying myself to a perfect opportunity to put my two passions together and do what I hoped to do after college.
If you’re a film major, you’ll know how daunting the task of making anything is. There’s equipment you have to wrangle, actors you have to coordinate, a crew you can’t argue with, a spectacularly under-considered shooting schedule; the list goes on. Did the lens always have that crack in the side? What do you mean the batteries aren’t charged? Are we sure that outlet can withstand those lights? Can we get that again but this time do it entirely different? You want to put the dolly where? We can’t wrap, we haven’t rolled yet! What a pleasure!
Now try it with four people in a country that only mostly speaks the same language. Welcome to semester abroad Montreal Film 2! “If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all!” [Nightmare On Elm Street reference -ed.]
Montreal is a huge gaming hub. What I mean by this is that Montreal is full of not only great game companies like Ubisoft or Compulsion, but Montreal is also home to some of the greatest gaming opportunities for either developers or those that just love playing video games. To name a few would be an understatement, so I’m here to name all of the different aspects of gaming culture here in Montreal!
In the classroom
If you’re majoring in a division of the Game Studio, chances are your professors are developers themselves at different companies. For example, artists here learn VFX from a developer at Behaviour, and two sections of Production ll learn from a producer and a gameplay programmer at Ubisoft! Since our professors are in the industry themselves, they have the firsthand experience of working in the industry to apply knowledge into the classroom. And if you’re lucky, they’ll invite recruiters to come and play your Production games! (Some are coming next week to see mine…help).
As our fifth week in wintry Montreal came to an end, we escaped the cold during our Friday morning Environmental Earth science class and visited the Concordia Greenhouse. Just a short metro ride away, and located at Montreal’s second-largest English-language university, it is one of the only rooftop greenhouses in Montreal. The greenhouse creates a very warm and relaxing environment making it the perfect place for students to study and work on homework.
As part of our weekly labs in the Earth Science class here in Montreal, there are a number of ‘excursions’ to various sites throughout the city that help students better understand some of the concepts taught in class. This past Friday, we spent our morning exploring the Redpath Museum and all of its little intricacies. The Redpath Museum is a natural history museum located the center of the McGill University campus, and has been around for a number of years, cementing itself as a Montreal institution.
It wasn’t instantly evident how a SCI 155 outing to the Canadian Centre for Architecture would be related to global environmental earth science. When mentioning an architecture museum, I imagine most people think about the style of buildings, their historical background and the endeavors of the architect. However, we quickly found out that this wasn’t an ordinary architecture museum . . . if anything, this museum highlights how humans seem to be the architects of their own demise.
A lynx stuffs itself into its “home” at the Montreal Biodome (Donny LaPlume)
I am writing on behalf of the Global Environment Earth Science Lab (what a name). We went to the Montreal Biodome and I cannot stress how adorable a lynx with a box is!
Like seriously look at that. It is a wild animal, climbing into a box. Everything you think you know about cats is flippin’ right!
But in all seriousness the Biodome is a fantastic place. There were 4 different exhibits we got see in our time there. An Amazon environment, one themed on the forests of North America, The Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and the Arctic.