Teaching biodiversity at Macdonald Campus

Published: 29 November 2023

Dr. Murray Humphries (PhD’01), a passionate wildlife biology professor at the Macdonald Campus, spends his days immersed in the fascinating world of biodiversity—the colorful, complex tapestry of life on Earth. At the Macdonald Campus, we don't just study this diversity, we celebrate it.

Just over a year ago, Montréal was buzzing with the energy of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Global leaders congregated at the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) to shape the future of biodiversity protection, debating strategies to balance human needs with those of nature. This pivotal conversation isn't confined to global stages; it resonates in our own backyard—our campus.

Imagine stepping into rubber boots, binoculars around your neck, ready to explore the thriving wildlife around you. That's a typical day for students in Dr. Humphries' WILD 307 Natural History of the Vertebrates course. Their classroom extends beyond four walls to campus green spaces teeming with life. The students are not just observers but contributors to iNaturalist, a global online biodiversity platform. In a mere six weeks, they catalogued 132 vertebrate species, from wild turkeys strutting about to belted kingfishers darting through the sky.

At Macdonald Campus, we're not just talking about biodiversity; we're living it. We're cultivating a deep appreciation for nature in our students, arming them with knowledge and experience to champion environmental conservation. This isn't just a global conversation—it's about our backyard, our campus, and our world.

[Image caption: Amidst the cold and rain on the Saturday of Homecoming 2023, Fish Ecology and Fish and Wildlife Management students Lilah Eldar, Billy Plaitis, and Brian Audla—under the supervision of instructor Prof. Denis Roy—braved the icy waters of Lac St. Louis. Their mission? To showcase the vibrant, living lab that thrives beneath the surface.]

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