McGill aims to monitor, protect, and enhance biodiversity through our research, teaching and operations, while raising awareness and engaging community members both on and beyond our campuses.
In its Climate & Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025, McGill committed to increasing biodiversity by 2025 and creating a plan for campus biodiversity that emphasizes native, adaptive, and edible species. Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference in December 2022, McGill joined hundreds of higher education institutions around the world to sign the Nature Positive Pledge. McGill committed to assessing its biodiversity baseline, adopting targets for biodiversity, setting actions to achieve those targets, and reporting annually on progress. To help guide these efforts, the Office of Sustainability led the creation of a Biodiversity Plan for McGill in collaboration with faculty, staff, and students from 15 academic and administrative units. Together, the stakeholders elaborated the vision that McGill will monitor, protect, and enhance biodiversity via its research, teaching, and operations, while raising awareness and engaging community members both on and beyond our campuses.
Biodiversity plays many functions, including the provision of numerous contributions to people—or ecosystem services—such as food, recreation, flood control, air purification, climate regulation, and scientific and artistic inspiration. Yet, global biodiversity is declining, with more than 2,000 species at risk of extinction in Canada. The Biodiversity Plan is the first concerted effort to align biodiversity actions among students, staff, and faculty across the University to protect biodiversity and its contributions to people at McGill.
One of the key objectives outlined in the Biodiversity Plan is to create and maintain inventories of biodiversity across McGill's properties. Students, staff, and faculty members can support this effort by using iNaturalist, a crowdsourced species identification system. By documenting the plants, insects, birds, mammals, and other wildlife seen on campus, McGillians contribute valuable observational data that can inform various biodiversity efforts — and learn more about the natural world that surrounds them.