South Campus Terrace
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Re-vitalizing Bow Valley College's South Campus Terrace

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of outdoor spaces for our physical and mental health.

Bow Valley College is excited to announce we have re-invigorated our South Campus fourth-floor terrace with the generous support from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. This national charity funds environmental projects across Canada, focusing on environmental education and green space programs. 

South Campus opened in 2013. At that time, the college installed a green roof and terrace to provide the campus community with some rare outdoor green space in the heart of downtown Calgary. Our recent efforts aimed to increase engagement with this outdoor space. 

"As the impacts of the pandemic continue to be experienced, we have seen an increased demand for green spaces as more people head outdoors, which is why the revitalization of the Bow Valley College South Campus Terrace is so important," said Mandip Kharod, Regional Manager of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.  "We believe that finding creative ways to engage students and community members, from planning through implementation, can make a real difference in the success of green space initiatives. We're honoured to be a part of these efforts on campus."

Indigenization and reconciliation were an integral component of the project and will help guide future initiatives. Input was garnered from an advisory committee of Elders and Knowledge Keepers from Treaty 7 and the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3, and the college’s internal Indigenization team. These individuals provided their wisdom to ensure the outdoor space is both a decolonized and ethical learning space. Instructors can bring their classes outside and learn about Indigenous cultures, history, and ceremonies.

Focus groups with learners highlighted that many wanted to see more colour in the space. So we decided to install a six-plot pollinator garden filled with 200 native Alberta flowers, to add more colour and help native pollinators. There are over 300 species of native bees in Alberta, many of which are endangered. With the support of the Alberta Native Bee Council, we installed eight bumblebee nesting boxes. These boxes are set outside in spring and summer to support native bee species naturally found in the environment. For these efforts, we were awarded Bee Campus certification by Bee City Canada in August 2021.

Students also participated in the design aspect of the program. Forty-four students from the Decorating program used the terrace as inspiration for their capstone project in spring 2021. Considering their recommendations, we rearranged the benches on the terrace to create a centralized gathering space to encourage collaboration and connection.

This project is inspiring us to think about other ways we can make use of our outdoor spaces. This fall, the South Campus terrace is home to a bat detector: a small box that records the migration of hoary bats through the downtown core. This project is in partnership with the Alberta Community Bat Program, a Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada project. Despite being an urban downtown campus, we recognize we have a role in supporting and enhancing local biodiversity.  

The next time you are on campus, we encourage you to visit the terrace. Enjoy your lunch, connect with colleagues or classmates, or just appreciate some fresh air. This is a space for all campus visitors and we are excited to welcome you. Please note the terrace is closed in winter and during poor weather.

Questions or comments? Please contact Amy Spark at aspark@bowvalleycollege.ca


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