Hosted by the University of Toronto’s School of the Environment, the Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium on the Environment offers annually a multidisciplinary series of public-facing events on science, policy, social justice, and system change, blending together keynote talks, panel discussions, and interactive workshops. The 2023 Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium on the Environment is a collaboration with Critical Zones, an initiative dedicated to promoting the environmental humanities at U of T and across the bioregion. The event will explore anthropogenic impacts on the earth, using a broad range of approaches from the environmental humanities, decolonial studies, Indigenous studies, and more.
The 2023 Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium on the Environment will take place in-person and stream virtually across two days of events: a first day of panels and talks, headed by the keynote lecture, and a second day of guided “field trips” into Toronto’s urban ecologies and its intertwined environmental, cultural and colonial histories.
Registration for the symposium is now closed, but day of registration will be available – please see the event schedule below for more information on the day's events.
Scope and Theme
Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC’s, repeated warnings of verging systemic collapse as we pass crucial tipping points, and although policy makers and technology experts have detailed the necessary steps to protect the biosphere, we still lack the critical mass to mobilize for a planetary transformation. This year’s Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium explores the possible contributions of humanistic, artistic, cultural and social ways of knowing to help catalyze a shift in consciousness to imagine this transformation.
We are particularly interested in city ecologies, and how we can draw from humanistic and decolonial approaches to help us know the city in ways that entrenched disciplinary formations cannot. We invite contributions that explore the nexus of culture, the arts, and sustainability in urban contexts, and that consider questions such as: What does the ecologically just city look like? What historical examples of urban environmental justice might we draw from? What actions or relations must emerge to make the urban zone a model of eco-justice? What cultures of thought, behavior, and imagination make city ecologies thrive or falter?
Notes on registration:
- The registration fee for the symposium is $10.00 (CAD) and includes a lunch and light refreshments on both days of the event.
- Fee waivers are available for students at the University of Toronto. Please see the registation page for more details.
- Space is limited for the field trips and Land Acknowledgement Workshop with utrihǫt (FaithKeeper) Wyandot Elder and Artist Catherine Taǫmęˀšreˀ Tàmmaro. Register now to secure your spot.
- If you are unable to attend the symposium in-person, the morning sessions of each event day will be streamed virtual. Please see the registration page for more details.
Notes on field trips:
- All field trips will depart in groups from the event venue - the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (1 Devonshire Place).
- All field trips will be running rain or shine unless there are exceptional weather conditions.
- All field trips will require moderate levels of walking on various terrains with accomodations available for certain field trips. If you have accessibility concerns and would like to attend a specific field trip, please contact email@example.com for specific field trip details.
- Participants of the symposium will be able to select one (1) field trip to attend each day.
- Field trips located on or near St. George campus will be accessed by walking. Field trip excursions located outside of St. George campus will be accessed through public transit.
- Participants will receive detailed field trip information via email upon registration.
If you have any questions about the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 1 - Friday, May 5th
Registration Check-in | 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Attendees are requested to begin arriving at the event venue (the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place) in order to check-in to the event.
Opening Remarks | 9:00 am - 9:30 am
Delivered by Dr. Steve Easterbrook, Director of the School of the Environment, and Professor Stefan Soldovieri, Dr. Sherry Lee and Professor Alexandra Rahr of Critical Zones.
Panel - The Greenbelt and Urban Densification | 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Residents of Toronto and older “built-out” suburban towns and cities might be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much they can do to stop destructive highways, car-dependent subdivisions, and Greenbelt removals in Pickering, Caledon, East Gwillimbury or Milton.
But the battle to save what remains of carolinian wildlife habitat, and Canada’s high-quality farmland, as well as to tackle the GTHA’s carbon emissions, hinges on what happens in the region’s established low density neighborhoods and often literally, as well as figuratively, in our own backyards.
The central false premise of this Ontario government’s catastrophic attempts to strip protection from Ontario’s remaining wetlands, forests, natural areas and farmland has been that a shortage of developable land is responsible for the current shortage of homes. In addition to ignoring the 350 square kilometers of designated greenfield land already a designated for development but sitting unused, the government’s push for more sprawl is premised on an insistence that only a few narrow slivers of existing neighborhoods, such as “avenues” and “major transit station areas” have significant capacity for to add more homes - and that a large share of new “family” homes must consequently be built as expensive sprawl in car-dependent “greenfield” areas. The vast majority of existing residential land is kept off limits for low-cost housing.
Environmentalists in Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, Hamilton Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill - and low-rise parts of Toronto - now increasingly recognize that advocating for large numbers of family-sized “missing middle” apartments, as well as multiplexes and conventional parking-free townhomes, semi-detached homes and lot-splits within what are now single detached “neighborhoods” is the most impactful thing we can do to slam the brakes on sprawl.
Break | 10:30 am - 10:45 am
Short Talks | 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
About the Talk
Housing is a major contemporary issue, especially in light of the provincial government passing sweeping legislation to change environmental and natural heritage policies in the name of "building more homes faster".
What does the disparity between academia and public/political discourse look like? What do our imagined futures of residence look like?
While academics and scholars are publishing books and papers on a post-suburban world (see Keil, 2020), the Ontario premier declares that the public is still looking to live in detached homes with white picket fences. I propose to speak on the differences between the academic and public discourses and delve into the urban imaginaries under the climate crisis. I ask the question, is the culture of residence changing under the pressures of climate change? Should it? And, who is included in these projections of future urban imaginaries?
About the Speaker
Jennifer Donnelly is a graduate from the Masters in Environmental Studies and Planning program at York University, focussing their research on the changing relationship of the urban natural landscape under the context of climate change. Jennifer's research interests are in the evolving urban ideologies of nature and the ways climate change is catalyzing changes within the urban/nature dynamics. Jennifer has a background working in urban ecology and native habitat restoration as well as an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Toronto.
About the Talk
The Friends of Small's Creek (FoSC) started as a group of neighbours, expanded to the wider community, and emerged as a savvy advocacy group with a team of technical advisors and a supportive city councillor. This is a story of a community that mobilized in 2020 to advocate for a less ecologically destructive solution and now continues its work in 2023 to ensure that the restoration plan protects the creek and wetland, and fully restores the ravine.
About the Speakers
Matt lives a 6-minute walk from Smalls Creek – a place that served as an urban oasis for him since he moved to the area in 2016. When he learned that Metrolinx was planning to cut down half of the trees in the ravine, he was propelled to action and joined the Friends of Smalls Creek. In addition to being a Friend of Smalls Creek, Matt works with the Friends of Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto. Matt graduated from the Master of of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Guelph in 2022.
Alisa is a member of the Friends of Small's Creek and has played an important role during the consultations for the ravine restoration planning. The creek and ravine is a natural environment where Alisa has raised her daughter and lived next to for nearly 30 years.
About the Talk
In 2011, The University of Toronto paved the quad (affectionately known as Back Campus) between University College, Hart House, and Trinity College, constructing artificial turf lacrosse fields, fencing them in, and lighting them above. The project was protested by a roar of student, alumni, and community resistance; U of T administrative personnel nevertheless insisted on pushing it through in time for the 2015 Pan Am games, thereby garnering an investment grant award of $9.5 million. The project resulted in isolating back campus from its immediate surroundings, cutting it off from human and non-human users, and (literally) undermining the root structures that supported its ecosystem. Artificial turf usually lasts about ten years before it needs to be resurfaced; questions about how to use this space in the future are therefore practical as well as theoretical.
In the context provided by this space and its narrative, we can discuss Back Campus as a Critical Zone, a model of interconnected urban ecology that exemplifies the importance of shared public spaces – and particularly living green worlds – in the urban landscape. I consider how different vocabularies might enable us to conceptualize urban spaces as ecological, including the idea of the commons, articulated by thinkers from (Torontonian) Jane Jacobs to Lauren Berlant. We can talk about how such concepts and their overlapping discourses relate to contemporary ecocritical theories of relation and reciprocity, as found in Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass and Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree. Revisiting the movement to keep Back Campus a green quad, I discuss its relevance for a variety of disciplines – from architecture, political theory, and economics to geography, engineering, art, music, philosophy, and literature. I end by considering the civic and ethical implications of rethinking this human and non-human space as a community being, defined and constituted by the series of networks and relationships it locates at the heart of the University of Toronto campus.
About the Speaker
Bill Kroeger is a PhD student at the University of Toronto in American literature, ecocriticism, critical theory, and environmental humanities (in collaboration with U of T’s School of the Environment). Born and raised in the diverse ecosystem of New York City, he has been a philosophy student, a community organizer and planning board member, a farm to market and restaurant vegetable grower, a public high school teacher, and a reader of ecocritical Shakespeares. His doctoral thesis will consider how different genres of environmental literature make alternative calls to ecological conscience. He will compare the cross-genre work of thinkers such as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Suzanne Simard, and Great Thunberg, on the one hand, with a variety of ecologically relevant novels, poems, and films. His work asks how different genres seek to encounter their readers, and what kinds of ecological agency they expect or demand from their audiences.
About the Talk
This short talk will focus on urban environmental justice considerations at Toronto's Leslie Street Spit, a renown urban wilderness site and world-class bird habitat. Interdisciplinary research combines archival document analysis, archeological methods, analysis of policy and planning documents, media materials and other records, and site analysis to understand how the Spit functions as an archival record of dispossession. Contrary to the popular interpretation of the Spit as a "happy accident" composed of "clean fill", this research interprets the Spit as part of a cycle of creative destruction that serves advanced capitalism. Hidden beneath this verdant ecological wonder are the remains of homes and communities demolished through slum clearance. The demolition of particular communities and their disposal at the edge of the city casts the Spit as more than just an ecological gem; it is a socio-political archive and a testament to the power of ecology to distract from unjust and inequitable urban ideals in the name of neoliberal progress. The Spit is a remarkable urban ecological asset, and critical interpretation of its legacy as a repository for slum clearance sharpens our understanding of the political poignancy of urban ecological systems.
About the Talk
The Toronto Climate Observatory (TCO) is an emerging interdisciplinary research center hosted at the University of Toronto (UofT). The TCO’s mission is to reimagine how communities around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) understand climate change, work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and plan for impacts in place-based, equitable, and action-driven ways. We draw on methods from climate modeling, human centered design, citizen science, and art/science collaboration and envision our work transforming how regional climate data are localized and how local climate impact data is understood, collected and applied in other contexts in Canada and around the world. We are currently developing partnerships with UofT and non-UofT scholars, the government and civil society, and the private sector to create and launch the next generation of climate data services. This talk will introduce the TCO as a new model of public climate observatory and describe some of our initial projects including: research into climate data practices of publics across the GTA ranging from emergency managers to climate justice activists; better defining public needs for climate impact information; communicating severe weather risk information to vulnerable populations; and place-based education and research into climate services.
About the Talk
This talk explores the recent developments happening at The Maplewood Flats Conservation Area in North Vancouver. Located on the unceded lands and waters of the Tsleil-Waututh and Coast Salish Peoples, the Maplewood Flats is a wild bird sanctuary that has been managed by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia (WBT) since 1993. Once the site of an ancestral fishing village belonging to the Tsleil-Waututh people, the area has gone through significant changes throughout the twentieth century as a result of settler colonialism. After being left environmentally devastated by the activities of industry, the area became home to a countercultural community of squatters who lived in the intertidal regions from the 1940’s to the early 1970’s. The squatters were eventually evicted by the municipality and by the early1980’s, the site was designated as a conservation area. A massive restoration of the area began in the mid 1990’s initiated by WBT. This would culminate in the area being transformed into unique bio zones as part of a re-naturalization process — a process that ultimately catered to the picturesque aesthetic. Today, the area is once again being transformed as a result of the activities of the WBT and their latest commitment to decolonization, a commitment that is being significantly defined by their public art program. The shift from an ecological philosophy grounded in Romantic aesthetics to a political ecology committed to decolonization has been swift and not without contradiction. To that end, this talk draws upon recent encounters with the conservation area in order to consider the ways that the practice and understanding of the aesthetic in both art and nature is being retooled in order to serve the interests and needs of decolonization.
About the Speaker
Derek Dunlop is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Toronto. His research explores the legacy of Romanticism as it relates to the production of nature within three different parks in Canada. By analyzing different engagements with both land and landscape, his research demonstrates that certain practices of the aesthetic—in both nature and art—tend to reinforce colonial thought practices, which impede, as opposed to encourage the emergence of the ecological subject. Prior to starting his PhD, Derek worked for many years as a practicing artist and curator. Primarily informed by the traditions of drawing, painting, and sculpture, his artistic work uses the theoretical potential of abstraction to explore queer ecologies.
Lunch | 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
Panel - Toward an Edible Campus | 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Our contributions take as a point of departure the many moments of socio-ecological transformation enabled, at least in part, on and through the urban post secondary campus. From the anti-apartheid and civil rights movements, through to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, campuses are central to change-making. In this series of 3-4 lightning talks, students and faculty will discuss how campus-based initiatives are reshaping foodways, on campus and beyond, in ways that prefigure more socially just and ecologically rational food relations. This series of talks will provide context for the associated on the afternoon of Day 1 of the symposium.
Nadia Gericke and Mrinmayee Sengupta will explore the opportunities, challenges, and impact of student-led urban agriculture on a university campus in downtown Toronto.
Eva-Lynn Jagoe will discuss waste in campus foodscapes.
Michael Classens will discuss the contradictions of prefiguration in campus foodscapes, offering an ultimately hopeful appraisal of the role of student activism in realising more just and sustainable food futures.
Afternoon Field Trips | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Attendees will depart in groups from the event venue (the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place) to various field-trip locations across Toronto.
In 2011, The University of Toronto paved the quad between University College and Hart House (affectionately known as Back Campus), constructing artificial turf lacrosse fields, fencing them in, and lighting them from above. The project was protested by a roar of student, alumni, and community resistance; U of T administrative personnel nevertheless insisted on pushing it through in time for the 2015 Pan Am games, thereby garnering an investment grant award of $9.5 million. The project resulted in isolating back campus from its immediate surroundings, cutting it off from human and non-human users, and (literally) undermining the root structures that supported its ecosystem. Artificial turf usually lasts about ten years before it needs to be resurfaced; questions about how to use this space in the future are therefore practical as well as theoretical.
This walk will situate Back Campus by showing visitors its central location and its proximity to indigenous waterway Taddle Creek, only steps away. Recounting the history of the lacrosse field project and local resistance to it, we will enter the turf field, which currently involves walking around high fences: what was once an open, accessible space is now designed to separate athletes from the public. We will talk about the groundswell of community concern, passing around a portfolio of letters and opinions collected during the movement to save the quad. Participants can reach down to touch the unforgiving artificial turf material, and we will discuss the complex process groundskeepers use to clean it, which involves hosing it down frequently. Perusing the perimeter, we will discuss the trees that once grew here and the building process that required banishing the root structures and their understory community, as well as the creatures who called these trees home. Looking up at the spotlights, we can imagine how they must affect animals, plants, and local passersby. We will consider the impacts of this artificial environment on public space and on the university community; many alums remember Back Campus fondly as a place for spontaneous connection with humans and other living species.
In the context provided by this narrative, we can discuss Back Campus as a Critical Zone, a model of interconnected urban ecology that exemplifies the importance of shared public spaces – and particularly living green worlds – in the urban landscape. We can consider how different vocabularies might enable us to conceptualize urban spaces as ecological, including the idea of the commons, articulated by thinkers from (Torontonian) Jane Jacobs to Lauren Berlant. We can talk about how such concepts and their overlapping discourses relate to contemporary ecocritical theories of relation and reciprocity, including Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass and Suzanne Simard’s conception of mycocelial communication in Finding the Mother Tree.1 Revisiting the movement to keep Back Campus a green quad as both environmental humanities research topic and potential grassroots project, we can discuss its relevance for a variety of disciplines – from architecture, political theory, and economics to geography, engineering, art, music, philosophy,
and literature. We can end by considering the civic and ethical implications of rethinking this human and non-human space as a community being, defined and constituted by the series of networks and relationships it locates at the heart of the University of Toronto campus.
Building on the themes introduced during the panel discussion on day one of the Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium, we will take participants on a curated tour of current and future food growing sites across St. George campus. We anticipate that event will open with Indigenous Plant and Agricultural Knowledge Keeper Isaac Crosby (aka Brother Nature), who will elaborate on the role of urban agriculture in decolonization.
The tour will include five locations. It will begin at Trinity College’s gardens and proceed to the Sky Garden (a rooftop garden on the Galbraith Building). Next, DigIn! (a student-run campus garden organization) will take participants to three of their growing spaces on campus. The tour will end at Innis College – the future site of ground-level and roof-top growing spaces.
A variety of themes will be highlighted throughout the tour, including: the role of urban agriculture in realizing more just and sustainable futures; opportunities and challenges of student activism; decolonizing the (urban) campus foodscape; (urban) campus design and conceptualizing the campus as an edible-scape, and; the role of prefigurative pedagogy in the pursuit of more just and sustainable futures.
Places of worship are deeply embedded in our urban fabric. Their presence is almost ubiquitous, often unnoticed, and rarely part of the discourse on sustainability. As the infrastructural manifestations of religions, they represent different things to different people. For some, they are symbols of the sacred, community, tradition, and continuity. For others, they represent violence, oppression, regressive thinking, and colonialism. This field excursion to the Narayever synagogue will take us through some of the historical journey of the synagogue, with a highlight on the complex transition to a religiously and socially progressive community focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and environment.
Meet the U of T Trash Team and local project partners to learn more about the Fighting Floatables project, tackling floating plastic pollution in Lake Ontario using research and technological solutions. This research works to clean and divert litter downstream to help inform solutions upstream. During summer 2022, nearly 100,000 small plastic pieces of anthropogenic litter were removed using trash traps and skimming by hand, then quantified and characterized the litter to inform source.
The Fighting Floatables project contributes to the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy, in collaboration with PortsToronto, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, several City of Toronto divisions, with support from Swim Drink Fish, the Harbourfront Centre and Waterfront Business Improvement Area.
During the field trip, you will meet collaborators from the Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy to learn about this important research and how we can all help reduce plastic pollution in our community. The field trip will travel on public transit to the Harbourfront Centre then venture on foot for a waterfront walking tour, concluding at Bathurst. On this tour you will learn about different trash traps and hear from organizations about their experiences keeping the harbour free of floatable pollution.
Day 2 - Saturday, May 6th
Registration Check-in | 8:30 am - 9:00 am
Attendees are requested to begin arriving at the event venue (the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place) in order to check-in to Day 2 of the event.
Field Trip Reflections | 9:00 am - 9:45 am
Guided period of reflection on Friday field trip's.
Break | 9:45 am - 10:00 am
Panel - Energy/Culture/Space/Place | 10:00 am - 11:30 am
This panel offers different perspectives on the ways in which we conceptualize our changing environment. The panelists will discuss the role of environmental AI, the affective use of art for climate communication, the relationship between energy and equity, and how spaces can be understood as layered regions. Energy, culture, space, and place are the central themes of this panel, and their dynamic relationships offer insight into the different approaches of framing the environment. This conversation will expand on the lessons and reflections from Day 1 of the symposium.
Imre Szeman (University of Toronto Scarborough) will moderate the panel and give a short talk titled, “On Region”. He poses the question: might ‘region’ allow us to understand anew the connections of space, belonging, and environment, in a way which could better enable us to take on the political challenges of our era?
Eva-Lynn Jagoe (University of Toronto) will discuss waste, reflecting on how to shift practices and beliefs on detritus and death towards a reflection on compost, transformation, and regeneration.
Anne Pasek (Trent University) will reflect on experimental approaches to research-exchange and research-creation, engaging print and visual art to explore affective approaches to environmental communication.
Caleb Wellum (University of Toronto Mississauga) will explore how the radical thought of Ivan Illich can help us to think differently about the politics of energy, speed, and space in 21st century cities.
Break | 11:30 am - 11:45 am
Afternoon Sessions and Lunch | 11:45 am - 2:00 pm
Wyandot Elder Catherine Tammaro will guide participants into creative explorations
of ways in which we honour the land; composing their own written, oral, or visual narrative. This workshop includes a lunch for participants. Capacity is limited for this workshop.
These talks build on themes introduced in Day 1 of the symposium. Please note that the session will run from 11:45 am - 12:45 pm with a lunch to follow from 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm.
Dance to Justice with Leena Manimekalai
About the talk:
Marajó is like Titanic, but it's not about Jack and Rose. It's about the Quilombola community artists, the descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from slave plantations that existed in Brazil until abolition in 1888, who continue to perform their Capoeira even when the Marajó islands they inhabit in Amazon rainforest are swiftly drowning under the river. Sometimes referred to as a martial art, sometimes a dance and sometimes even a game, Capoeira was used by enslaved people to escape their oppressors by forming rebellion groups known as quilombos, creating communities outside Portuguese control during the colonial era. Today it is a cultural identity of Brazil, an artform immortalized in stories, music and movement. Marajó, the largest fluvial-maritime archipelago on Earth, once home to the Pre-Columbian Marajoara culture, located in the states of Amapá and Pará in Brazil, is expected to disappear in the next fifty years because of climate change. Will the art and humanity that survived through the darkest times of colonialism and slavery be able to mitigate climate change? I wish to investigate it by a transmedia project - a Climate Film + Immersive VR Theatre + Call for Action Game.
About the speaker:
Leena Manimekalai is a leading Tamil poet and a multiple award winning intersectional queer feminist filmmaker with a strong repertoire of films across all genres and lengths. She has been recently selected as BAFTA India Breakthrough Talent for the year 2022. Her award winning films have been widely screened across the world in about hundred prestigious international film festivals. Her work of cinema verite, ‘Sengadal/the Deadsea’ on SriLankan Tamil Refugees and Indian Fishermen won her NAWFF Award at Tokyo for the Best Asian Woman Cinema and was recognized with prestigious Indian Panorama selections after legally winning the initial ban by the Indian Censor Board. One of her documentaries on gender justice, ‘Goddesses’ has won her Golden Conch at Mumbai IFF and Nominations for Horizon Award in Munich and Asia Pacific Screen Award in Melbourne. ‘White Van Stories’ her docu-feature on enforced disappearances in SriLanka, shot entirely underground was broadcast in Channel4 and won accolades in Aljazeera IFF. Her mockumentary "Is it too much to ask '' on transgender rights co-produced with NHK Japan has already won Best Documentary Award at Singapore International Documentary Festival and Jury Mention at the Film South Asia, Nepal. Additionally, Leena has received the Charles Wallace Art Award, the EU Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fellowship for her work in Cinema and Gender. She has published six poetry collections and is currently editing her non-fiction feature ‘Rape Nation’ that traces the lives and struggles of rape survivors across the Indian Subcontinent. ‘Maadathy- an unfairy tale’, her second feature fiction on the invisiblised dalit lives started its journey with a grand opening at 24th Busan International Film Festival with a follow up of good row of festival selections and awards including FIPRESCI JURY AWARD. She recently graduated with a MFA in Film at York University, Toronto as a GFAD Fellow.
Coyote is speaking, are you listening? with Lesley Sampson
About the talk:
Terminology describing encounters with, or behaviour of, coyotes (Canis latrans) is outdated, static, mostly colonial and burdened by negative connotations: e.g. bold, aggressive. Consequently, coyote behaviours are incorrectly interpreted. This inherent bias persists among citizens, managers, and scientists alike, leading often to inappropriate responses that exacerbate human-coyote conflict. I present some common misconceptions that simplify and taint coyote behaviour examination, harming co-existence efforts, e.g., when attack, aggression is protective or defensive; expressed through gesturing, posturing, vocalizing, and proximity tolerance. The absence of these "expressions", "tensions", or coyote’s intention is not clearly presented in current management and scientific literature. I contend the latter results from lagging inquiry in “language limitations”; lack of direct interfacing with coyotes, limited cross-training of scientists, practitioners, and managers in ethology, and a failure to identify relevant contextual framing of canid of ‘expression’ and ‘gesturing’, or a belief that the language implies subjective experience and is ‘anti-science’. Regardless, left uninterrogated, this insufficient language impacts correct and timely responses, often to animal welfare. Through combined immersive field experiences with coyotes and review of in-situ reports, I expose where "static" language is a barrier to being able to "listen" when coyote “is speaking to you”.
About the speaker:
Lesley Sampson has been working on behalf of canids for over two decades and is the co-founding executive director of Coyote Watch Canada. She holds a BPhEd (Honours) from Brock University (1998) and a post-baccalaureate diploma in Education from D'Youville College (2000). Her research and practice center on canid behavior and nonlethal coexistence methodologies. She is consulted across North America and abroad, facilitating human-wildlife conflict resolution and outreach. Her extensive fieldwork experience has included collaborations with scientific and government agencies, working with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, local governments, community scientists, and researchers from Queen’s, Manitoba, Toronto, Calgary, and Guelph Universities.
Afternoon Field Trips | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Attendees will depart in groups from the event venue (the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place) to various field-trip locations across Toronto.
In this urban field trip, we will walk together along Philosopher’s Walk to explore the history, present, and future of the waterway that flows below it—Taddle Creek. Working to make visible the stories that have long been obscured and similarly paved over, we will reflect on the connections between colonization and environmental degradation to consider how climate justice implies decolonization on Indigenous Land. Throughout the walk, Ange Loft (Kanien’kehá:ka), the lead interdisciplinary artist with the Talking Treaties Collective, will guide artistic activations and movement activities to build participants’ familiarity with the symbols, embodied gestures and land-based knowledge held in the Dish With One Spoon agreement. Gayatri Thakor and Lois Boody, graduate students at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, will further reflect with the site of the creek to consider how we can each connect with Land in urban spaces through our own identities to better imagine the environmentally just city.
We will tour the City of Toronto restoration site of Cottonwood Flats in the Lower Don River Valley, talking about the past uses of the area and the current plans. We will also discuss the volunteer stewardship and monitoring program (since 2017) that TFN has partnered with the city to implement.
This walk of Small's Creek from Woodbine Station to Williamson Park Ravine will explore the south side of Small’s Creek ravine in the Upper Beaches that was clearcut to expand the Lakeshore East rail corridor and build an additional track for two-way GO service.
This trip will involve walking through key areas of Smythe Park to Scarlett Rd. Maggie Dunlop, co-leader of Black Creek for Families, will guide the walk. She show how it is sandwiched between one of the poorest rental neighbourhoods in the west end and an elite golf club, surrounded by working class war-era homes that are gentrifying. How it is site of the worst flooding in the TRCA’s jurisdiction, a family community hub in the summer, underutilized in other seasons, neglected by the City, and a rare site of biodiversity and green space in a lower class neighbourhood.