Summer Program Participants (l-r) Kenya Cummins & Julia Lenoard in Old Montreal
I had always wanted to study abroad, so when I got the opportunity to attend Champlain College’s Montreal Summer Culture Program I immediately took the chance. I had traveled many times to cities both in and outside the United States before; I had even traveled to Montreal in the past for weekend trips. I always thought that Montreal was similar to other major North American cities. But after living in the city for over a month, my opinion of the city has changed; Montreal does not fall into the typical mold of the US or Canadian city. Its bilingualism and mix of cultures offers residents and visitors a one-of-a-kind living situation. Anyone who tells you that Montreal is more similar to the United States than different is wrong, but you can only learn that from spending a good amount of time here. Montreal is a valid and excellent study abroad option; you get to experience a different language being spoken around you while being in a truly foreign place. The culture of Montreal, and Canada in general, is also unique because there is not an emphasis on assimilation of “different” groups; each ethnicity found here is fully represented, whether that be through food or art. Continue reading →
Last Thursday SCI-155 Global Environmental Earth Science visited tropical rainforests, a forest full of butterflies, a hacienda, and many other ecosystems. How did we do this while in Montreal? Well, we went to the Montreal Botanical Garden!
Our first stop when we got there was the Insectarium where we saw many cool (and terrifying) insects. Not only did they have many preserved specimens, but they had some live ones as well. Most notably, they have an open vine on the top floor where ants are freely roaming around. This is something that people normally aren’t able to see so seeing ants interact with each other and move about an open space was really cool. Next we moved into the greenhouses. This was a truly beautiful space. We entered in the middle and to either side the building had rooms filled with different kinds of plants from different environments. We walked through environments ranging from a tropical rain forest, a temperate forest, an Asian garden with bonsai trees, a hacienda in the desert, a room full of cacti and plants from arid regions, and even more impressively a room full of butterflies.
Earlier in the week my Emerging Media in Montreal (CCM 301) class was lucky to visit the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montreal’s Olympic Park just a short walk from the Viau metro station. We watched two shows: Space Nextdocumented the past and predicted the future of space exploration, and EXOtracked humanity’s search for other forms of life in the galaxy.
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.
Montreal is a city of art, something you don’t really see unless you wander out of the port area. While the Old City is stunning in its own historical sense ─ with spiraling architecture and the sheer magnificence that is Notre Dame ─ the bustling pop-culture overtake in the rest of the city is pretty amazing too.
The first time I wandered randomly from the dorms and the Older City was also the first time I wandered into a forest of art. Boulevard de Maisonneuve displays so many beautiful walls of art that can’t fall into the category of “graffiti” and its negative connotations. Continue reading →
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.
By William Gouin; International Business & Accounting ’18 The Santropol Roulant has a charming little storefront at 111 rue Roy est Montreal, complete with a rooftop garden. As a student in Shona Watt’s Urban Agriculture class (ENP 300), I was lucky enough to have a tour of Santropol Roulant, which is a non-profit organization. Before […]
By Raven Yankee (COMM ’17) Friday trips out of the classroom have become an expected part of the Global Environmental Earth Science (SCI 155) course. On April 8th, my class hopped on the metro and took the green line to the Insectarium and Botanical Garden here in Montreal. We started off in the Insectarium which […]
By Sara DeLoach (PWRT ’17) Of all the reasons Shona Watt lists as explanation for her initial interest in environmental science, none seem to hinge on her gender. Spending time outdoors, interest in nature, plants, animals–none of these are exclusive to either girls or boys. It is confounding, then, to consider the rest of Shona’s […]