Creation of ecological spaces at the Cemetery and the Université de Montréal with the support of Les Amis de la montagne
We have already mentioned our project to develop, in collaboration with the Université de Montréal, new ecological spaces on our respective properties. This collaboration, which aims to optimize the planning and implementation of our respective development projects, took off this summer.
With the Université de Montréal, we agreed to kick off the first year of our plan to create renaturalization areas to improve habitats and biodiversity. The first step was to identify five study areas of different sizes on our respective lands, where the lawn was removed and replaced by the seeding of a dozen native plants. These plant species were selected on the basis of information provided by the Service des grands parcs, du Mont-Royal et des sports and the Bureau de la transition écologique et de la résilience from the City of Montréal.
The species being used are the shiny sedge, kinky sedge, zigzag goldenrod, wood goldenrod, uneven-glume sporobola, fistula monarda, evening primrose, Canada anemone, Canada astragalus, umbelliferous aster, golden zizia, and red fescue.
Photo © Antonia Leney-Granger
Each of the four spaces, both at the Cemetery and UdM, has been seeded with a different combination of the 12 species mentioned above so that it will be possible to monitor the growth of the vegetation over the next few months and review the results in the fall. Alexandre Beaudoin, biodiversity advisor at UdM, is overseeing the scientific angle of this joint project and the Cemetery has also called on Frédérique Bujold, an Environment and Sustainable Development master's degree student at the Université de Montréal, to monitor the work on the two sites, analyze the growth of the vegetation and ensure new seeds are harvested at the end of the season. She will also collaborate in the study and planning of other projects that are part of the implementation of the Cemetery's green plan.
This project reflects our commitment to greening, the environment and sustainability. The support of our clients is a driving force behind these changes and our new initiatives, including our “Leave no trace” policy and the development of Remembrance Grove for those who prefer a greener interment, with a tree as commemorative monument. The expertise offered by the Université de Montréal will allow us to do better and go further.
The results of the next few months will allow us to plan the first phase of the transformation, starting in the spring of 2022, of about one million square feet (93,000 square metres) of previously grassy area, into a flowering meadow covered with native perennial species. Most of these lands are not intended for future burials.
In anticipation of this work, the lawns on the land to be converted weren’t mowed this year and will not be mowed in the future. The presence of long grass mowed once a year will help enrich the biodiversity of these areas and prepare them for seeding with native species in the coming years.
Support from Les Amis de la montagne
“We are very pleased with this extraordinary project between our partners at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery and Université de Montréal. Such a transformation will increase biodiversity on Mount Royal for decades to come, to the benefit of the flora, fauna and all the people who live in or visit the surrounding neighbourhoods,” said Hélène Panaïoti, Executive Director, les Amis de la montagne. We are tracking the evolution of this inspiring project closely and with great interest, as it is likely to become a benchmark. Indeed, it will be the flagship pilot project presented at the next meeting of our Community of Practice for Large Institutional Landowners on Mount Royal in October, which will focus on the ecological management of the mountain's grassy areas.