Research Studio

On April 8th, 2022, we held our very first Arboretum Research Studio, in support of the Arboretum’s mission to conserve biodiversity and connect people to nature through research, teaching and community outreach. Over the afternoon presentations covered a variety of topics from disciplines and colleges across the University of Guelph.

We were fortunate to be joined by elder and species-at-risk biologist, Theodore Flamand, from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island who spoke about their ongoing efforts to preserve native species biodiversity.

Director Justine Richardson welcomed a sampling of the many faculty, undergraduate and graduate student researchers, staff, and community professionals who use the Arboretum for their research efforts. This year's participants presented brief three-minute-thesis style talks on their research. Topics ranged from tree conservation to pollinator species recovery, from artistic interventions highlighting ecological restoration to connecting with trees for mental health benefits, from Anishinaabek knowledge sharing to braiding scientific monitoring for species recovery.  (Videos from the presentations will be posted as they become available over the summer.)

Keynote Speaker Theodore Flamand, Species-at-Risk Coordinator at the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island

Dr. Jesse Popp, Chair in Indigenous Environmental Science at the University of Guelph, an emerging scholar and member of Wiikwemkoong, introduced Elder and Species-at-Risk Coordinator Theodore Flamand who spoke about his work in monitoring and managing species-at-risk and medicinal plants in the territory, as well as establishing an outdoor educational site at Meshkoodayaang Shkoo sii Prairie Point Marsh aimed at education and engaging youth and visitors.

Research Presentations

Arboretum Naturalist Intern Kitty Lin emceed the rest of the afternoon, introducing the following researchers:

  • Morus rubra - Red Mulberry Conservation Efforts, Aron Fazekas, PhD, Research Coordinator, The Arboretum, Ontario Agricultural College 
  • Nokom’s House, Brittany Luby PhD, Department of History, College of Arts
  • Lifeplan – Mapping Biodiversity on a global scale, Mikko Pentinsaari PhD, Center for Biodiversity and Genomics, College of Biological Sciences
  • Flower Fly Diversity in the Arboretum, Andrew Young PhD, Systematic Entomology, School of Environmental Sciences, Ontario Agricultural College
  • SoundBound! Artistic engagement to highlight ecological restoration projects in Arb, Ben Finley, PhD candidate of Critical Studies in Improvisation, College of Arts
  • Pinus sylvestris removal strategy within the Nature Reserve, Caroline Pottruff, 3rd year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Ontario Agricultural College. Student working with Professor Robert Corry in the LARC*3500 independent study course examined quadrats containing Pinus sylvestris in order to develop a removal strategy based on surrounding plant species.
  • Evaluation of the Long-Term Success of a Gravel Pit Reclamation, Ceilidh Tomljenovic, 4th year BSc Biodiversity Major, College of Biological Sciences, student working with Professor Robert Hanner and The Arboretum undertook an assessment of the herbaceous and woody plant diversity in The Arboretum’s gravel pit reclamation site as a part of the BIOL*3660 internship course. Ceilidh describes how both soil samples taken from the site and the results of the vegetation analysis highlight some key differences between the gravel pit, and other sites around The Arboretum.
  • How to Draw a Tree: Trees, Creativity and Mental Health, Dawn Matheson, independent multi-media artist, is guided by a focus on reciprocal relationship building through collaboration and creativity to explore the relationship between trees and mental health.
  • Environmental Factors Influencing Hoard Rot in the Canada Jay, Karen Ong, PhD Candidate, Integrative Biology, College of Biological Sciences
  • Frogs, Food and Feces: Analyzing Anuran Diets Across a Habitat Disturbance Gradient in Southern Ontario, Natalie Houde, Master of Science, Integrative Biology, College of Biological Sciences
  • Yellow-banded Bumble Bee Recovery Program, Tiffani Harrison, Wildlife Preservation Canada, NGO
  • Arboretum Entrance Analysis and Outdoor Classroom Proposal, Craig Klomp, Margot Kopache, Mitchell Miron and Tyler Brown, Master of Landscape Architecture, Ontario Agricultural College, working in professor Michelle Purchase in her site analysis class.
  • Mtigwaaki 'Among the Trees': A Journey in Anishnaabe Learning in the Arboretum, Brad Howie, Arboretum Anishinaabek Environmental Educator, 2021 Master of Environmental Science, School of Environmental Sciences, Ontario Agricultural College. Discussed his Master’s research project and how to approach the forest from an Anishinaabek perspective.

During the presentations, graphic artist Lynne Dalgleish of ThinkLink, Inc. created a “live graphic recording”, synthesizing the diversity of topics and ideas presented into a beautiful and thought-provoking mural.

At the end of the afternoon, presenters and attendees held engaging conversations over shared refreshments, solidifying the positive experience for all. We hope to see you there next year!

Guelph Institute for Environmental Research LogoSpecial thanks to Guelph Institute for Environmental Research for sponsoring the event documentation and dissemination, and Arboretum Naturalist Interns Michelle Beltran and Brad Howie for supporting the media presentations, and to Research Coordinator Aron Fazekas and Research Assistant Ian Murphy for coordinating the event.