New Indigenous People & Plants Trail at Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton

The new Indigenous People and Plants Trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, opens to the public on Monday 18th September 2017. The trail, located in Cootes Paradise, teaches us about how plants were used by the Anishinaabe people. I found a great journal article about Anishnaabe ethnobotany in NW Ontario, by Davidson-Hunt, Jack, Mandamin & […]

Continue reading


Envirothon is a team-based environmental science high school contest

The Toronto Envirothon Workshop at #YorkUniversity on April 13, 2017. Envirothons are team-based #HighSchool science competitions that have been around for decades in Canada & the USA. Students form clubs supervised by dedicated teachers, and learn about #Forestry, #Wildlife, #AquaticBiology & #soilscience. A one day, intensive workshop runs ahead of the local, regional competition. The […]

Continue reading


From university professor to University Professor

At last week's York University convocation for the Faculty of Science and Lassonde Engineering School, I was made University Professor. That's me with the Dean of Science, Dr. Ray Jawawardhana. But, I'm already a university professor, so what does this mean? University Professor is an honorific title that exists at many North American universities, including University of Toronto […]

Continue reading


My RCI Science talk: gardening for biodiversity & local food

Two excellent Canadian documentaries, The End of Suburbia (2004) and Escape from Suburbia (2007), address our unsustainable North American car culture, and how it has spawned sprawling suburbs. The films include conversations about how, in the future, people will convert(sub)urban lawns into vegetable patches to grow local food. That's me, at left, with an okra flower. When we grew okra in […]

Continue reading


More public science: appearing on the ZDF series, Infestation!

  I doubted that much could top how my 2013 Skype chat about plant defences ended up getting me a movie credit in a science fiction feature film! But, you never can tell where science outreach and engagement will take you. Just a few weeks after hearing about my Botanical Consultant film credit, some of my other Public Science led to […]

Continue reading


How doing public science led to a credit in the movie, Flora

These days, science communication, outreach, and engagement are all the rage. But when I joined York University's Biology Department as an assistant professor in 1990, the notion, that part of our responsibility, as taxpayer-funded professors, might include spending valuable time away from research, engaging with non-academics, other than our students, was rather a minority opinion amongst many YorkU faculty. […]

Continue reading


Reading your expensive text book is key to success in 2nd year

My second year Plant Biology course is filled with stressed out students. But, while they may not realize it, the students who regularly come to lecture are, likely, the least stressed people in the course. My advice to all undergraduates is simple: aim to attend every lecture and lab, to write notes, to review them within 24 hours, and to keep […]

Continue reading