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McGill Reporter
May 27, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 17
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On campus

Much ado about dinner

Caption follows
Turning the tables, at the McCord Museum, May 28, 2004 to April 3, 2005

With its beautiful place settings, elegant manners and tightly scripted social rituals, the dining table represents a world of passion, politics and savoir faire. The exhibition Turning the Tables explores this culturally charged universe of intrigue and emotion through thematic displays of tableware and decorative arts. Organized by the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City, Turning the Tables will be presented in Montreal at the McCord Museum of Canadian History.

Traditional presentations of artifacts complement the thematic displays and relate the storied history of the art of the table. Visitors will also learn table trivia -- for example, that Catherine de' Medici introduced the fork to France at the table of Henry III, who tucked a napkin in around his collar to protect his starched, fluted ruff.

Among the notable pieces on display are a porcelain dinnerware set from 1955, with a Latona pattern in 22-carat gold leaf, that belonged to Maurice Duplessis, and a six-setting, hand-painted, fine porcelain dinnerware set from 1880, given to Quebec lieutenant-governor Sir Joseph Adolphe Chapleau by American president Rutherford B. Hayes.

Turning the Tables is at the McCord Museum from May 28, 2004, to April 3, 2005. Admission (including taxes) is $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $5.50 for students, $20 for families and $3 for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. Museum admission is free to McCord members, children aged 5 years and under and to all on the first Saturday of each month from 10 am to 12 pm.

Urban wildlife

Illustration of raccoon and compost bin
Jack Ruttan

Urban wildlife getting you down? Raccoons in your compost? The white grub wiping out your lawn? Wondering where the goldfinches are? McGill University's Urban Nature Information Service (UNIS) is back with the answers. Since the phone lines opened at the beginning of the month, wildlife expert Sophia Foley and horticultural expert Dana Chevalier haven't had an idle moment. "It's crazy. It's been so busy," says Chevalier.

"A lot of the calls have been about the white grub," says the second-year law student, who has spent many summers working in agriculture or horticulture. "In the West Island, everybody has Kentucky bluegrass, and the grub eats the roots. Chevalier advises putting up bird feeders or puncturing the grub with spike-bottomed shoes that also aerate the grass. She discourages the use of chemical treatments.

Just as Chevalier encourages people to consider "soft" solutions to plant problems, so does Foley when it comes to unwanted wildlife, such as raccoons. "I try to calm [the callers] down. Raccoons live here, too, and they're just trying to survive. I help the caller figure out what it is in their garden that's attracting them."

Foley also gets calls for information on how to attract animals, especially birds and butterflies. She'll give advice on planting certain plants, like safflower, that will attract finches, chickadees and cardinals. Finding shelters for hurt or orphaned animals also occupies much of her time.

While many of the calls come from Montreal's West Island, where UNIS is based on McGill's Macdonald Campus, the bilingual service is open to anyone. Of the 10,000 calls fielded last summer, some came from as far away as Alberta.

Supported by the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as several municipalities, the Toronto Dominion Friends of the Environment Foundation and MP Bird Control Systems, UNIS, now in its 10th year, is an invaluable employment experience for the students involved and an appreciated service for the community. The faculty's dean, Deborah Buszard, says, "If we didn't have UNIS, we'd have had to invent it."

For your wildlife queries, call 398-7882, or check out the UNIS website, www.agrenv.mcgill.ca/urban-nature.

Grill of my dreams

Summer means barbeque season, and what better opportunity to meet and network with people than when you've got a bit of mustard on your lip -- no, other side… there, got it.

The McGill Women's Networking Group's (MWNG) annual meet and greet -- or should that be meat and greet -- barbeque will be on June 11 at 12 pm.

"It's to socialize, and encourage interaction of women in different departments," said chair Diana Lee.

They will be serving burgers, hot dogs and soft drinks. If you're feeling lucky there will also be a 50/50 raffle.

Held at the Victoria College Residence Courtyard on University Street, the event is open to MWNG members, and any other McGill-affiliated women, be they students or staff, profs or principals.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Victoria College Residence reception desk from June 2 to June 9, $0 for MWNG members, $15 for non-members. For more information see www.mcgill.ca/mwng or email diana.lee@mcgill.ca

Summer at McGill

Caption follows
Hangin' around McGill this summer

Classes are mostly over, students are largely at their summer jobs or the beach, but that doesn't mean campus is shut down. There are still things to see and do.

Thomson House will be open all summer, for instance -- grad students don't know the meaning of summer break, and neither do their stomachs. You can check out their daily menu at www.pgss.mcgill.ca/RESTA/index.html.

The Redpath Museum, and all of McGill's other museums and collections, will be open all summer (except Rare Books -- they're closed for renovations until October 1).

The barbeque on the Redpath Terrace is up and running, though it will be moving to the Burnside—Otto Maass terrace for convocation week.

Events such as lectures, seminars, concerts and not-to-be-missed Senate subcommittee meetings are all to be found on the McGill Community Calendar (www.mcgill.ca/calendar). The pretty campus pictures on the homepage will be updated throughout the summer, so even if you're stuck, say, on the main floor of the Burnside Building with nothing to look at but a cement wall, at least there'll be something nice on your computer screen.

One thing you won't have to look at is the Reporter -- we're heading to Margaritaville for the summer. See you in September!

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