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Letter: Laurentian greenspace is ‘irreplaceable and needs our protection’

Sudbury Naturalists Club members highlight the importance of university’s extensive natural landscapes
Laurentian University campus aerial
A sea of green surrounds Laurentian University. (File)

The Sudbury Naturalists Club is made up of members that represent a cross-section of the Sudbury community who’s shared interest is in the natural world around Sudbury and beyond.  The club has been around for over 40 years and had its beginnings at Laurentian University. 

LU’s greenspace is a rare gem in an urban environment. It is accessible for most of Sudbury’s core population by public transit, a short drive or by cycling. The greenspace has many kilometres of hiking and ski trails that connect and extend further to other trails in the neighbouring Lake Laurentian Conservation Area.

The greenspace represents a ‘nearby place’ where people can access much needed solace, inspiration, peace of mind and observe wildlife (some endangered) that they may never have seen before. 

As well, the greenspace provides valuable ‘ecosystem services’ such as sequestering carbon dioxide (combating climate change), purifying air and helping to protect water quality in nearby Lakes Nepahwin, Bennet, Laurentian and Ramsey (where a portion of the city’s drinking water originates).

The LU greenspace is one of Sudbury’s successful ‘regreening sites’ as part of the city’s ongoing Regreening Program. In addition, many trees have been planted by community groups, citizens and students to help recreate a ‘natural’ landscape through which the trails pass. 

The area is a valuable extension of the classroom for many students including science, School of Architecture, outdoor education and as well as a living (research) laboratory of how an urban, severely industrialized impacted landscape can recover through environmental restoration. The United Nations is now using Sudbury as an example to the rest of the world through its first year of the The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.

Today’s Sudbury is a healthier environment than the one most us grew up in and Laurentian University and its greenspace has been an integral part of that positive transformation.

The LU greenspace is irreplaceable and needs our protection for the ‘natural values’ it offers everyone, today and into future generations.

Dr. Peter Beckett
Franco Mariotti

(on behalf of Sudbury Naturalists Club)