Mireille Gauthier: A leader in saving the bees
Building Bee & Bees with Friends of the Earth in Strategic Ottawa Communities
Certain qualities make up a leader: knowing how to motivate people, to plan, to organize, to listen, to offer support, to delegate, to persevere … all skills Mireille Gauthier definitely has. As part of the TD Environmental Leaders Program, from February to June, Gauthier was involved in a program called Building Bee & Bees, organized by Friends of the Earth Canada, along with Ottawa Community Housing and Fletcher Wildlife Garden.
Gauthier has just completed the third year of her bachelor’s in environmental studies, in the Faculty of Arts. She has amassed hundreds of volunteer hours, on campus with the Office of Campus Sustainability, off campus with MarketMobile and on a community engagement project in Guatemala. Still, she felt drawn to the cause of Canada’s wild bees and didn’t hesitate to become project team leader.
For her, many of the world’s pressing causes are by nature political, controversial or heated, while the cause of the wild bees affects everyone and allows the general public to think about the environment in a simple, straightforward manner and see that each one of us truly has the potential power to act. “Wild bees are key pollinators for most of our food,” says Gauthier. “Maintaining the diversity of these species is crucial for all of us.” Creating habitats is an effective means to further the survival of the bees and to raise people’s awareness of them. For Gauthier, it’s also an opportunity to take part in an initiative she’s passionate about and to develop her leadership qualities. “I’d never had the chance to lead a project of this size, and thanks to it, I improved my leadership skills considerably.” Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada, also recognizes Gauthier’s leadership skills: “Mireille has been involved with us in both paid and volunteer roles, and in all cases, has been a productive member of teams, while also showing leadership in reaching out to venues to present our campaign and involve volunteers in assisting us.”
You too could have the chance to get involved like Mireille Gauthier and support a cause you feel strongly about, while developing your leadership skills. The Centre is recruiting for TD projects. Come see us or check the Navigator through your uoZone account!
Urban Greenhouses to Serve the Community
On October 1, a group of students came together to launch the first TD Environmental Leaders project of the 2016–2017 year. The Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre contacted our centre about working with a group of students to revitalize an urban greenhouse as a social enterprise. Graduate and undergraduate students from five faculties (Arts, Science, Telfer, Social Sciences and Engineering) have since come together to explore the technical feasibility of the revitalization and the demand for any resulting products, as well as to raise youth awareness of sustainability, through environmental education in local schools.
A Faculty of Science student, Eunice, said that “it has been really interesting to see how science and business connect, since I have not taken business courses.” Victoria was also able connect the project to her academic work: “It has been cool looking into greenhouses and the impacts of growing locally. I was able to draw upon this for an assignment in one of my courses.”
All team members are taking on this project in addition to their courses, work and other commitments. Kaitrin Doll of the Rideau-Rockliffe centre, who has been working closely with the three student teams, has been “really impressed with the diversity of students who are part of the project. Having so many perspectives and lenses means that we are all learning. It’s real teamwork.”
There are three TD Environmental Leaders projects each year. They aim to be beneficial for both students and the community partner. When asked what advice they would give to students who were thinking about getting involved, Rajan said “Go for it! It’s a new experience,” and Haoran chimed in, “You will never know what you might experience unless you try!”