Niagara College to host Youth Parallel event for Ontario Biodiversity Summit

Youth from across the province who are participating as Young Leaders for Biodiversity at Ontario’s first biodiversity summit have Niagara College marked on their agendas for a full-day learning experience.

As part of the Ontario Biodiversity Summit 2015 held in Niagara Falls May 19-22 Niagara College will host a Youth Parallel event on Friday May 22 – the International Day of Biological Diversity. The event will draw 50 young delegates to the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rain or shine) where they will experience a variety of biodiversity concepts with hands-on activities in the field engage in discussions and explore the NOTL wetlands and escarpment. They will also interact with representatives from the College – including students graduates and faculty from the College’s environmental programs and Office of Sustainability – as well as community organizations including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and the Niagara Restoration Council.

College students staff faculty and grads will lead delegates on a hike through the NOTL Campus lagoons and wetland system and run two workshops: Discovering Bethnics in the Lagoons and Discovering the Diversity of Pollinators (one-hour sessions will be held at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.).

“This is such an important moment in history and Niagara College is able to be part of the larger international picture when it comes to addressing biodiversity challenges and opportunities” said Alan Unwin associate dean of the College’s School of Environment and Horticultural Studies.

Unwin will also speak at the summit on May 21 on the topic of environmental careers and strategies in obtaining them highlighting the role colleges have played in applied learning and the vocational focus of the curriculum. He noted how the Youth Parallel event will also highlight the ways many Niagara College students apply academic approaches to the conservation of the NOTL Campus.

“Our NOTL Campus has grown exponentially in terms of biological richness through conservation habitat enhancement and restoration and education” said Unwin. “We use our campuses as a way for students to explore learn and innovate in all aspects of sustainability – taking what they’ve learned in the classroom to gain hands on skills and experiences.”

The Youth Parallel event was supported by $500 in funds from the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network. “Youth such as those participating in the Young Leaders for Biodiversity portion of the Ontario Biodiversity Summit are the next generation of conservationists” said Jessica Ferguson coordinator Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network. “It is so important that they experience the great outdoors because through those experiences they develop lasting personal connections – connections that allow them to understand appreciate and conserve the natural world.”

The Ontario Biodiversity Summit 2015 aims to connect people from across Ontario and around the world to talk about celebrate and take action to protect biodiversity. For info visit

Emerging as a leader in environmental sustainability in Niagara Niagara College continues to make progress in pursuit of its sustainability targets. It has achieved Carbonzero status for the Wine Visitor + Education Centre and the Rankin Technology Centre and has incorporated several renewable-energy technologies into its operations. In 2013 the College earned a bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education through its Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). To learn more about sustainability at Niagara College visit

Niagara College offers a diploma program in Environmental Technician (Field and Laboratory) and graduate programs in Ecosystem Restoration and Environmental Management and Assessment.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



Media inquiries and RSVP please contact:


Michael Wales

Senior Communications Officer

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773

Cell: 905.328.4101


Julie Greco

Communications Specialist

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368

Cell: 905.328.2532